By Noel Swain
After a long wait, the UAE opened its borders and lifted the ban on travelers from India. With flight services now operational, now is the perfect time for travelers to resume their international travel with a trip to the highly anticipated “Dubai Expo 2020”. Dubbed the world’s largest trade fair, Expo Dubai is scheduled to run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
While frequent travelers should be well versed in the conventional exercise of international travel, a rather different experience awaits as many prepare to set off on their first international travel from the post-pandemic world.
Here’s a smart checklist of things to remember for international travelers.
1. The first port of entry
Although many aspects of travel have changed, all international travel begins with obtaining a visa. Accurate visa and passport documents are the most important thing to fill out from your travel checklist. Although the process of obtaining a visa may seem long and laborious, VFS Global has got you covered. Associated with the UAE government through Emirates Airlines since 2002, VFS Global facilitates visa services for the flagship carrier’s travelers in 16 countries around the world through visa application centers in Afghanistan, Algeria, Ghana, India, in Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey and UAE. Travelers on Emirates or travel agents applying on behalf of clients can enter and apply for the UAE visa. VFS Global also offers online visa application services at emirates.com allowing residents of over 180 countries to apply for their UAE visa easily.
2. Book now or later
The next crucial step in experiencing the mega cultural gathering is to book your tickets in advance. This way you can seamlessly explore your chosen Expo route. Expo 2020 Dubai offers a variety of passes to suit everyone’s needs; from standard tickets, including day passes, the premium experience to bundled tickets, including family packages and the Jubilee experience. You can reserve your seats through VFS Global, an authorized ticket reseller for Dubai Expo 2020 in the GCC, India, China, Russia, UK and Germany.
3. Beyond passports and visas
Even though cases of covid-19 have declined, updates on Covid-19 credentials as well as vaccination status have become a mandatory requirement for all forms of travel. Currently, traveling to Dubai, travelers must present a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate issued within 48 hours of sample collection and from an approved health service provider, which uses the code system. QR, as well as a rapid PCR test report. carried out at the departure airport 6 hours before departure, equipped with a QR code system. No GDRFA or ICA approval is required for tourists traveling to the UAE. Travelers will be asked to show proof of any duration of testing, quarantine or isolation required in their countries of departure and destination. You may be unable to enter or leave the country, as well as board an airline, if you do not present these documents. As these regulations are subject to change, travelers are advised to visit the respective airline and government websites prior to departure.
4. The crucial route of the Expo
Dubai Expo 2020 is an event packed with action, whether you are looking for business prospects, expressing your creativity, exploring a world of flavor, or letting your inner technician go, there is always something to be excited about. To avoid the stress of missing out on an experience, it’s best to schedule your favorite things to do at Expo Dubai in advance. The Expo offers a plethora of interesting experiences such as indoor Dutch pavilion precipitation, kitchens of around 200 restaurants, major opera houses, theater performances, concerts, branded retail therapy exclusive and many more.
5. Make friends with technology and help save the planet
After the pandemic, the travel and hospitality industry has taken huge steps to boost the confidence of travelers by providing contactless and contactless as well as achievable services. Contactless services are becoming the norm rather than the exception; from digital payments to remote application submission, from digital gateways to facial recognition for faster access, travel today is truly end-to-end digital. Thus, travelers must get used to the idea of â€‹â€‹using contactless services and find comfort and ease while using new generation technology that guarantees travel safety. On the other hand, the digital switchover is also unknowingly promoting green travel, a habit that was in our minds but had not been implemented until now. The travel industry is using technology to find opportunities and create solutions that will help travelers recognize the long-term environmental benefits of safe travel. Endless paper tracks are now concise and collated just a click away from the submission, making it easy to embark on the green journey.
Even with an array of travel changes given the pandemic, our willingness to travel is still vital. That said, Expo 2020 Dubai is also a once in a lifetime experience and not having to get the most out of the trip due to poor planning can be a disappointment. Therefore, keep this checklist handy and make the most of your long-awaited international vacation.
(The author is Business Head – Schengen, eVisa and Passport Services, VFS Global. Opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)