Vaccine to give Dubai growth a major fillip

Originally published on Jan 12, 2021 | Khaleej Times

The vaccination campaign represents an important step towards the return to normal life and economic recovery.

Dubai Economy expects a 4.0 per cent growth in consumption and demand levels in the emirate in 2021 following the rollout of the free and extensive Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

The bullish forecast is based on recent data on aviation and tourism and Google’s daily data on the mobility of individuals across malls, restaurants and other entertainment facilities in the emirate.

Recent data on the tourism and aviation sector revealed that Dubai’s airport remained the busiest globally in passenger movement in December.

The growth projection given by Dubai Economy for 2021 far exceeds the overall 1.3 per cent growth forecast of made by the International Monetary Fund for the UAE. The World Bank, on the other hand, revised slightly downward its economic growth forecast for the UAE to 2.4 per cent in 2022, hinting the recovery would be subdued after a contraction of 6.3 per cent in 2020 and a 1.0 per cent surge projected for this year.

According to the IMF, the Arab world’s second largest economy could shrink by 6.6 per cent in 2020.

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai had announced the launch of the vaccination campaign earlier, and Dubai Health Authority stated that the vaccination process would take place across several stages, beginning with the most vulnerable groups (until the end of March 2021), including the elderly, frontline workers in public and private sectors, and those working in other vital occupations. The second phase will begin in April and will target all community members, including Dubai citizens and residents, with the goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of the emirate’s population (community immunity level) by the end of 2021.

The vaccination campaign represents an important step towards the return to normal life and economic recovery across various sectors economic activities affected by the precautionary measures, particularly labour-intensive activities, Dubai economy said in a statement.

The key sectors where Covid-19 had a major impact comprise residency services, restaurants, and conferences and exhibitions. Dubai had organised over 140 exhibitions and events that witnessed the participation of more than two million people in 2019, it said.

The arts and entertainment sector is also expected to witness a remarkable recovery in the months ahead, especially in terms of activities and facilities that had been affected by physical distancing, such as parties, museum, theatres, cinemas, and various sports activities. Retailing is also expected to gain momentum as a result of the confidence brought in by the vaccine and increase of footfall across shopping centres. The return to normal life is also expected to lead to a reduction in remote working and learning, which will give additional impetus to economic recovery, said Dubai economy