Tag Archives: Covid19

The Lure of the Middle East

Over the years the Middle East has transformed into one of the most loved tourist’s destinations in the world. It has a global impression of having some of the world’s best holiday resorts, airlines and airports for travel. It is a major travel hub for passengers to connect to another flight and has a reputation for luxurious spots for vacations and relaxation.  Among Countries in the Middle East, Nations like the UAE and Qatar  are among top world class in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries. Dubai is also a choice destination for a lot of Nigerians with 3 hours time difference .

   

The United Arab Emirates where Dubai is found stands out as one of the most visited countries in the Middle East and the world, with over 20 million visitors each  year. Of all the oil rich nations in the Middle East, UAE has been able to establish one of the world’s most successful tourism industry.

The world famous Dubai is like a bright shinning magnet that attracts travelers and visitors from all over the planet. It is almost shocking to hear one has not visited this astonishing city, with all that has been told and heard about it. However why do you think travelers desire to visit Dubai over and over again? 

Before setting foot into Dubai, visitors already have this idea of experiencing heaven on earth and getting to explore one of the globes most futuristic cities and to relax in luxury resorts. Dubai may have already set awesome tourists standards for the world to follow. To the extent, people who haven’t visited already have an imagination of what to expect and when they do visit their expectations are often met.

 

Majority of Nigerians love to take a holiday off from work in this amazing city. It’s no surprise that 56% of the total visitation of Africans to Dubai are Nigerians and they were thrilled with the news that the United Arab Emirates had lifted it’s travel ban off Nigerian inbound flights, granting access of flight routes from Nigeria to UAE and vice versa. This officially became effective on 29th January, 2022. The travel restrictions were put in place late last year, by the UAE government to help control and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant. Passengers travelling to Dubai must still present a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate and also receive a PCR test upon arrival. 

World Food Festival 

Dubai  hosts multiple world class events like the recently held Gulfood Festival, that was from 13th to 17th February 2022, which is the world’s largest annual food event that brings together international chefs and leading food flavors  from different continents. Nothing less than 120 countries exhibit their national food and dishes, professional chefs, well-known restaurants and Food and Beverage startups secure their spots and showcase their culinary art to the global hospitality and food industries.

Gold Souk

The famous Gold market in Dubai, also called the Gold Souk keeps tourists flocking in and out. This market is known for a wide range of classy jewelry made from gold, diamonds, silver or other precious stones.  The Gold Souk is one of the largest gold markets in the world, with over 300 retailers and lots of visitors dropping by to either purchase gold or  just sight-see the beauty of this glittering market place.  The gold pieces found in this market are sold 60% cheaper than any where else in the world, hence Dubai got it’s nickname “the City of Gold”.

Cultural Diversity – Something for everyone

What’s most interesting about Dubai that makes it so unique from any other country in the world, is that Dubai has a bit of every destination in the world added to it. It highlights cultural diversity from around the globe in a fascinating way. Dubai has an indoor Ski Slope, even though it doesn’t snow in this desert region country, you can find artificial snow in the indoor Ski Slope. The popular Dubai Safari Park has over 2500 animals from different species including elephants, rhinos, lions and so much more, paying homage to the African wildlife safari.  There is also Lego land and Bollywood park in the Dubai parks & Resorts. This shows how welcoming Dubai is to visitors from other nations and who wouldn’t love the feeling of being welcomed in a home away from home.

Man Made Events and Festivals

Dubai has a lot of events e.g. shopping festival, Jazz festival and a host of others  always happening within its walls and a constant attraction to the whole wide world. One of such is Dubai Expo slated from October 2021 to 31 March 2022 with an estimated visitor arrival of 8,067,012. The visitors in their millions will surely impact the nations economy. The Dubai expo offers daily shows, restaurants with world-class cuisine with different countries exhibiting and giving you a taste of their homeland.

Now tell me why you will not want to go to Dubai .

COVID Travel Lessons for the 2020s

COVID shook the reality of travel and tourism, but above it all, we saw uplifts in the sector. 

It proved true that necessity is the mother of invention because we saw tech take over with virtual reality tours, robots to safeguard guests and control costs. We saw creative ideas like workcations, solo travel, and contactless deliveries blossom. We saw how travel and tourism preserved our mental health by actively trying to revive bits and pieces of the sector.

Overall, some activities have become more than a way to enjoy ourselves while keeping sane. They have become a preference. 

Here are some of these activities:

 

Exploring Local Cuisines

You might not have paid much attention to that Amala seller by your junction until you figured you couldn’t get into your favourite restaurant without a reservation. 

Surfing for more reserve or hidden spots or areas for food specialty was a downside COVID brought that turned into something good. There is more attention paid to vendors closer to us, and a revival in taste for local delicacies that reminds us of growing up, or a life with more freedom.

Call it nostalgia or reduced options, trying out local cuisines is an activity that would fade out any time soon.

 

Workations 

Already, it sounds odd going to work all through the week. Remote working was a gift from COVID. 

It eventually made us want to eat the walls from boredom and lack of social interactions, and this resulted in workations. 

Working from exotic spots or hubs outside your home where a group of friends or colleagues can link up made the thought not only appealing but relaxing. Some hotels subscribed to this idea by creating special offers for work, and other travel bodies like TBAH created the Beach Bum where you get to work from the beach on Mondays.

Being that working remotely sometimes in the week or completely is something that would definitely make workations a trend to stay.

 

Solo Travel and Tourism

Sometimes, the lure of the outdoors is hard to ignore. For people who love traveling frequently, COVID put a cold blanket over plans and destinations. But as travel restrictions reduced, solo travel became trendier.

You really do not want to spend a lot of travel time in the same space with people you aren’t sure of their vaccination status. Solo road trips, exploring rugged paths, and traveling with a small group of friends are all easy ways to still put on your outdoor boots and brave the world outside.

Along the way, you find you are more in tune with your inner thoughts, and travel begins to look more like an adventure within than an escape.

What trend did COVID bring as a habit to you?

An Indoor Christmas to remember

Saying it has been a crazy year is an understatement for the year 2020. Although we do not like to be reminded of all we can’t do, one of the realities to face is Christmas this year would be unlike any other. 

My sister grumbled when we couldn’t make it for Christmas Carol. With new restrictions taking effect in Nigeria (and in countries all over the world) to curb the second wave of the Coronavirus, Christmas Carol would definitely not be the only thing that would be missed this December.

The phrase ‘Detty December’ this year simply serves to remind us of all the ways Christmas and all other days in December would not be spent in an effervescent manner. Minimal nightlife, next to none concerts to attend, zero Christmas vibes, smaller budgets, and everything else we are slammed with in December this year has made it a very ‘Clean December’.

But, Christmas is Christmas. It is the merry season where budding hopes and dreams burst in full bloom, and we are excited over everything. It might be different this year but here are some tips to keeping the Christmas Spirit up.

  1. Christmas Lights 

When you walk down a street or drive past countless buildings drizzled with sparkling lights hanging from walls, trees, and fences; it ticks off something warm and fuzzy in the back of your mind. 

One of the great markers of Christmas is Christmas lights twinkling everywhere you look. Boost up the holiday spirit with lights wrapped around your Christmas tree, hedges outdoors, and make it a moment to remember by involving your neighbours and turning it into a fun collaborative activity.

If you don’t have a tree to decorate for Christmas, making a wall Christmas tree is equally as fun. Nothing spells Christmas like laughter over sparkles.

 

  1. Christmas Movies 

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is watching Christmas movies. Spending the Christmas indoors will be more fun when you usher it in good vibes. 

Make Christmas Eve the day the entire family gathers in their Christmas sweater or pyjamas and binge watch Christmas themed movies all evening long. Stock up on the classics like ‘Home Alone 2’, ‘Elf’ or any shared movies to revive Christmas memories for the family. 

Amp it up a notch by having ice cream and cookies or games. A simple game is to hang a Christmas hat on the television and any time a character wears the hat, you take turns doing a pre set dare.

 

  1. Christmas Carol

If you missed attending carol in church this December, don’t be sad. Although in Nigeria Christmas caroles doesn’t involve door to door singing, it is still a big part of the Christmas activities.

Recreate the Christmas carol experience in your home, holding lit candles and involving the entire family. Practice sessions before it is particularly exciting if you have young ones in the family.

‘Family Guy’ Christmas Carol

It’s okay for it to be off pitch, what is important is echoing the Christmas spirit as a family by singing as one.

 

  1. Christmas Dinner

I am and always will be for the food. There is something about Christmas rice and chicken that puts all other kinds of food to shame on Christmas day.

It is the atmosphere where you are seated on the same table with family members you haven’t seen in years that makes rekindling bonds feel magical. Make it intimate and cozy, with everyone gathered to enjoy Christmas delights with food, drinks, dessert, and a jolly good time.

Commemorate the day with pictures. We can’t have the Kardashians Christmas style cards, but it is nice to look at pictures and remember we are among the people who are making it out of 2020 alive.

 

  1. Christmas Gifts 

The fact that most people might spend Christmas indoors is a motivating factor to make Boxing Day a reality. 

In Nigeria, it’s Christmas Eve, Christmas and the end. I didn’t know Boxing Day is the day for unveiling Christmas presents until I was in Secondary school. This year has taught us to be grateful about the little things, and gifting is a wonderful way to make others feel loved.

Go through the motions. Create a list for Secret Santa for the family. It doesn’t have to be a big buck spender, but something that can be wrapped and kept under the tree for Boxing Day. Open up the gifts together as a family and watch as the Christmas Spirit lights up the way to New Year.

Covid-19 friendly places

On my birthday, November 17th, I visited cakes and creams at Adeola Honeywell Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, to get a cake and the Covid 19 procedures left me in awe.

At the door, there were security officers that made sure everyone coming in made use of hand sanitizer. Inside the confectionery, there were social distancing stickers on the ground indicating where each customer should stand, which was almost 10 cm apart from each other. The process was orderly and I appreciated the safety measures.

It’s no lie that we were all taken by surprise with the impact of the dreaded Covid 19 pandemic. In a blink of an eye, life went from normal to fearfully unusual, with so many restrictions and protocols in a swift response to preserve life and prevent the spread of the virus.

In times like these, it is important to be positive and hopeful for better days. Also, it’s a time to explore new ways of living out our daily lives safely. Now with all the restrictions on where to go and what to do, we often wonder when will this be over? Where is safe? How can I keep safe? What can we actually do?

The main goal is to keep safe and healthy before anything else. The good news is that there is still a lot we can actually do, according to infectious disease expert, Ph.D., MD, MAS, and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UC San Francisco,  Kristen Bibbins-Domingo,  “This doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.”  Yes, we can still travel, visit places, see loved ones and socialize but with limits and caution.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) has publicly concluded that the Covid 19 pandemic may not go away anytime soon and advised countries safely to reopen their economies. We as humans also have to come to terms with the new normal in our lives and adjust to it for the time being

Lagos state having one of the highest cases in Nigeria, makes one wonder how careful do you really need to be and which places observe covid 19 preventive measures?  Schools, banks, restaurants, cinemas, and workplaces have slowly reopened and had lots of people roaming in and out in their numbers. While few of the places may have thrown away their covid 19 protective measures, most public places still adhere to these measures. Most banks, eateries, and public gatherings enforce the use of face masks, sanitizers, and temperature checks before allowing customers to have access to their facilities

For those planning to travel, go for events, weekend getaways, and much more for the festive season here is what to keep in mind.

(1)    Make sure the Airline or Bus you are using to travel, enforces the use of face masks and temperature checks for all passengers.

(2)    If you are having dinners or drinks at restaurants or public bars, go for the option of sitting outdoors or by the poolside as this is safer than staying in an enclosed setting.

(3)    Visit hotels, resorts, restaurants, and bars that have outdoor sitting spaces and observe Covid 19 preventive measures.

(4)    Choose places that have the right Covid 19 gathering sizes, like remote beaches resorts and keep away from crowded events and places.

(5)    Stay clear of buffet services at restaurants, where many people may have touched one utensil. It’s best to order from the menu list or use sanitized towel papers to hold onto those serving spoons and pickers.

(6)    If you must lodge at a hotel or resort, be observant to identify if the hotel you are about to use has social distancing signs in the lobby and common areas.

(7) Make use of your face masks always.