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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Tourists from around the world stepped foot in the UAE for the first time in nearly four months on Tuesday.
The first batch of commercial flights carrying overseas holidaymakers landed on the tarmac at Dubai International Airport shortly after midnight.
Passengers arrived from a number of destinations including London, Cairo and Amsterdam.
They were among the first tourists to enter the country since airports were closed in March to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Wearing face masks and gloves, visitors were discreetly screened by thermal scanners on arrival and were greeted with a smile by the Dubai airport staff.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai posted videos of the occasion on its social media channels.
The various clips also showed officers at the immigration desks placing special stickers on visitors' passports wishing them a warm welcome to their “second home”.
Speaking to The National from JFK Airport in New York early on Tuesday morning, Dubai-bound passenger Jeremiah Tshimanga said he was looking forward to his first visit to the UAE.
“I’m so excited to finally be able to experience and explore Dubai,” he said.
“I’ve been waiting patiently during this quarantine phase for the borders to finally open.
“I booked my ticket around June 10 because I was following news from the UAE government about the country possibly opening up in July.”
After taking a flight from Los Angeles to New York on Monday, Mr Tshimanga boarded Emirates flight EK202 to Dubai at about 6am UAE time on Tuesday, and is due to land at Terminal 3 in Dubai at 7.45pm.
He said the long journey was “well worth it” after months of waiting to visit friends in the Emirates.
“I think Dubai is one of the most fascinating growing cities in the world,” he said.
“I see myself doing business and owning several properties in Dubai in the near future so I hope to network and meet a lot of great people on my visit.”
Mr Tshimanga said he booked a 10-day stay at a five-star hotel on The Palm Jumeirah.
Updated: July 7, 2020 11:32 AM
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