Abu Dhabi suspends tourism and municipality fees

UAE: The city of Abu Dhabi has suspended its tourism and municipality fees for the rest of the calendar year.

Abu Dhabi has also announced a variety of initiatives in order to stem the distress created by the growth of the coronavirus.

The fast-tracked initiatives, known as the Ghadayan 21, will be implemented immediately, helping add to the adaptability of the city’s economy. These include the aforementioned fee suspension, as well as suspending additional real estate registration fees and certain vehicle tariffs.

These are all a part of the UAE Central Bank’s attempt to mitigate against the impact of the virus. It rolled out a AED100 billion support package to various banks throughout the country.

Additional measures include a 20 per cent rebate on rentals for the restaurant, tourism and entertainment sectors.

In Dubai, elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates [UAE], the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing demanded the closure of all bars, pubs and lounges in the country. The department intends this to last until the end of March at least, with the possibility of extending further.

It follows the news that the number of COVID-19 cases in the UAE is approaching 100.

Ahmad Khalifa Alfalasi, Dubai Tourism CEO for support services and investment, said: “We appreciate your efforts as major partners aimed at serving the public interest and protecting the health and safety of society.”

With Dubai’s Expo 2020 on the horizon, uncertainty reigns as to the extent to which the hospitality sector will be impacted. One Emirati developer and real estate asset manager, Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Real Estate Group, this week announced the opening of its own short-term rental division.

The country’s business sector is responding though, with UAE-entrepreneur Khurram Shroff committing $5 million to fund a vaccine for the COVID-19 strain. With rescue packages in place across the Middle East region, the UAE hopes to help its industry weather the storm.