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Oman border closure over Covid: UAE residents' travel plans affected

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on January 18, 2021

(Alamy)

Land borders to be shut for a week starting Monday at 6pm.

Travel agents and businessmen in Abu Dhabi said Oman’s move to close land borders following a surge in novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases would affect tourism and businesses in the UAE and the neigbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member state.

On Sunday, state-run Oman News Agency (ONA) announced that the country would close its land borders for a week, starting Monday (January 18), in a bid to curb the spread of the contagion.

“The measure will come into effect from 6pm (14:00 GMT) on Monday and can be extended for longer than the initial one-week closure,” ONA said, citing a decision by the Arabian Gulf state's Covid-19 emergency committee.

Amru Hassan, a senior travel consultant at Nirvana Travel and Tourism in Abu Dhabi said, the border closure would affect their business amid the high tourist season.

“Many Emirati and expatriate families travel to Oman for short holidays and to spend weekends there. They will have to cancel their travel plans because of the temporary closure of land borders and until normalcy is restored. Oman’s move will impact the tourism sector in a big way,” said Amru.

“Also, Omanis visiting the UAE through the land borders will have to suspend their travel plans due to the lockdown, which will further impact the beleaguered hospitality industry,” he added.

He said that Omani expatriates driving via land borders to visit their families back home would also be affected by the border closure.

Alberto Gafayo, managing director, Speed Express Tours and Travel in Abu Dhabi, said usually bookings are received from clients coming from Oman for short visits to the UAE especially during weekends.

“Many families will have to cancel their travel plans to the UAE. This will affect our businesses hard,” said Gafayo.

Suleiman Mohammed, an Omani businessman, said the border closure would hugely impact businesses in the UAE and Oman.

“People in the transport sector and those dealing in food and other merchandise from Oman will be affected by the land border closure,” he said.

Suleiman said cross-border suspension of bilateral trade would also affect Oman.

Besides, even after the land border closure ban is lifted people in both the countries would be inconvenienced, as they will need to take multiple Covid-19 tests to make an entry, which imply both time and cost overrun.

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.





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