Dubai airport boss’s fury at social media stars for bending travel rules

Dubai airport boss’s fury at social media stars for bending travel rules

The boss of Dubai Airports has blasted social media influencers for bending travel rules in the pandemic as he called for ‘draconian’ restrictions on visits to the United Arab Emirates to be lifted.

Paul Griffiths said it was ‘unfortunate’ that reality TV stars had jetted to Dubai for so-called business trips – only to post photos of themselves sunbathing by the pool on Instagram. Influencers included Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague.

In January, Dubai was put on England’s red list – meaning Britons must spend ten days in a quarantine hotel on their return.

Feeling the heath: Molly-Mae Hague on a ‘work trip’ to Dubai this winter 

Griffiths said he felt the UAE had been ‘punished’ despite having strict health measures and a higher proportion of its population vaccinated than the UK. He said the UAE should be taken off the red list at the next review. 

‘I feel we were singled out for draconian treatment,’ he said. ‘We were caught in the crossfire of the media storm created by the behaviour of some of the influencers. It’s the actions of the few that spoil it for the many.’

Dubai Airport is set to open a lab to process free PCR tests in three to four hours, against up to 12 hours at present. The tests will be paid for by Dubai’s government.

Griffiths said vaccination passports could also help ‘mitigate the risk’ of new variants, adding: ‘Our data suggests we do not belong on the red list. If we could get on to amber or green and mobilise travel the result would be a flood of passengers, and immediate economic and social benefits.’