UAE - Residents across the UAE have expressed their concerns about sharing public spaces, such as malls and restaurants, with tourists arriving into the country for the summer, despite many agreeing that the move will positively impact the economy.
According to the latest survey by YouGov, over 56 per cent of respondents claimed to be 'very' or 'somewhat concerned' about sharing shopping spaces with international tourists. Despite these concerns, 83 per cent of respondents said that they believe that opening up the country to tourists will provide a boost the economy.
The results of the survey also showed that, when it came to sharing public spaces with tourist arrivals, 56 per cent of residents said that they are concerned about sharing spaces in shopping malls. This is followed by 53 per cent of respondents who said that they are worried about dining in the same restaurant as the visitors; and 52 per cent, who said that they are worried about being in the same tourist attractions, such as the Burj Khalifa.
The data identified that among the different age groups, the concern is highest among young adults between 18-24 years, while it is the least among respondents aged above 45 years. In addition, these concerns are likely to be influenced by the country of travel origin, with seven in ten UAE residents agreeing that their concerns with international tourists depend on the country they are travelling from.
Safety first during the Eid break
Several residents told Khaleej Times that they are going to be extra cautious about planning an outing during the upcoming Eid break, especially if it will mean putting their families in close proximity to international tourists.
Drishya Shanker, a Sharjah resident, said that she is planning to go out with her family during "odd hours, when there are hopefully not too many people."
"I'm worried because my dad is above 60 and my mom is also nearly 60," she said.
Asked where her family will be going, she listed locations such as the beach, the corniche, or the Majaz Waterfront.
"Parks are a no no right now," she said. "Malls also aren't all that safe since they have recirculated air. We will, of course, be wearing gloves and masks and taking all the necessary precautions, but there are so many permutations and combinations to how things could go wrong."
Like Shanker, she also pointed to the fact that she has several older family members that she has to take into account when planning a visit outside.
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