Dubai: A day after Dubai announced an easing of travel protocols for the return of stranded UAE residents from select countries, travel agents said they have been flooded with calls by potential passengers seeking greater clarity on their eligibility and PCR test rules.
Afi Ahmed of Smart Travels told Gulf News, “There is a lot of excitement among UAE residents who are stuck overseas after the announcement on the revised travel rules. However, there is also a lot of confusion. They want clarifications on a number of questions.”
He said several answers are still awaited. “UAE residents in India for example want to know more about the four-hour rapid PCR test requirement before undertaking travel. This is the biggest question that callers are asking us.”
He said enquiries he was receiving were many. “People want to know if GDRFA approval is needed for entry? What about quarantine requirements? Can residents from other emirates proceed home on arrival? What about those whose visas had recently expired? What is the criteria for children who were not earlier eligible to take vaccines? Which are the approved vaccines? What if someone had taken only one vaccine? And so on.”
Ahmed said, “As travel agents, we are also awaiting clarity on some of these questions. Ticket issuance has not picked up in a big way yet as people want a confirmation on many of these issues.”
He said India-Dubai flights had opened up on a number of sectors with tickets starting at around Dh850.
“A Kochi to Dubai flight on June 24 for example costs Dh855, while a flight from Calicut to Dubai on June 25 costs Dh879,” he said, but added that many residents are still looking for answers to their questions.
Rashida Zahid, Senior Operations Manager at Musaffir.com, said, “We are awaiting clarity from the airlines. Among the many questions that passengers are asking is whether families travelling together need to go in for institutional or home quarantine? If someone has had COVID-19 and has recovered but is not still eligible for a vaccine, will they be accepted? What about those who had a valid resident visa when they left but could not get it renewed in time because they were stuck? What about kids who are not vaccinated?”
Albert Fernando of Travel Wings said, “There are a lot of UAE residents who are abroad and are anxious to return. They look forward to some clarity on the complete rules.”
According to him, one of the most common questions before them is what vaccines are approved by the UAE.