An Insight into Abu Dhabi’s perseverance and fight against the pandemic

When COVID-19 hit the world in 2020, governments, businesses and consumers did not anticipate the transformational shift in operations, behaviours and larger systems that the pandemic would create.

In Abu Dhabi, the collaborative approach between the public and private sectors has been highly favourable. The emirate has successfully rolled out a number of health and safety initiatives that have helped safeguard residents and visitors, uplift sectors and consumer confidence, and position the capital of the UAE as a leader in this fight against COVID-19.

The Go Safe certification programme was one of the very first initiatives developed in Abu Dhabi. Keen to revitalise the tourism industry across the capital, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), in collaboration with partners and key stakeholders, developed the initiative to standardise the levels of hygiene and safety across all retail and tourism establishments in the emirate. There are a total of 313 checkpoints that make up the certification’s criteria – all of which were developed based on results from extensive research, set by the local government, and recommended by WHO and the CDC. Since its launch in June 2020, DCT Abu Dhabi has certified 95 percent of hotels, with a goal to achieve a 100 percent Go Safe-certified destination, creating a safe environment with a sense of normalcy for activities and events.

It was equally important to launch safety measures and regulations that can be implemented ahead of a visitor’s arrival to Abu Dhabi, all the way to departure, including setting up event guidelines to protect attendees during their participation.

Consequently, Abu Dhabi’s key entities geared up to achieve their collective mission of safeguarding the wider emirate. Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the UAE, announced earlier this year that it is the first airline in the world to vaccinate all of its operating pilots and cabin crew. Currently, over 80 percent of the tourism sector’s professionals have received their vaccination, and more than 60 percent of the total population in the UAE have also completed their vaccine requirements, making the country a leader in the global race for immunisation against COVID-19.

As a result of these successes, Abu Dhabi was able to launch a couple of significant events earlier this year with live participation, including the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 2021), organised by ADNEC Group. The event was immaculately delivered with innovative safety measures in line with international and governmental guidelines and the creation of a detailed safety and travel protocol video and guide ahead of the event to familiarise attendees with the on-ground setup, testing facilities and safety protocols. A network of 19 recommended hotels provided on-site testing facilities and the requirement for all visitors to have a PCR test every 48 hours was also facilitated through the installation of four testing centres at the ADNEC venue to facilitate faster testing for exhibitors and visitors. All staff were PCR tested every 48 hours and as an extra safety measure, catering staff tested every 24 hours. As a result, the event survey showed that 99% of visitors felt ‘safe’ at the show.

These are just a few examples of some of the initiatives and measures implemented across the board in Abu Dhabi. However, one thing is for certain, the destination’s success is largely due to organisations from the public and private sector, as well as the community, working together to overcome the hurdles set by the pandemic.

This post was sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau