UAE residents eager to return to shopping malls & beaches, not in a hurry to attend music concerts
July 14th, 2020, Imran Ahmed

UAE residents eager to return to shopping malls & beaches, not in a hurry to attend music concerts

A new YouGov survey, combined with BrandIndex daily data shows intent to visit leisure and entertainment venues is gradually recovering as businesses start reopening

As the UAE eases restrictions associated with Covid19 and businesses start reopening, data from YouGov’s daily brand tracker, BrandIndex shows intent to visit a leisure & entertainment venue in the UAE has dropped amidst the pandemic. Compared to 2019, the number of UAE residents who are very or somewhat likely to visit a leisure and entertainment venue in the next twelve months has declined ever since the country reported the first death from the virus in March 2020.


A week later, the UAE government issued guidelines and appealed to citizens to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. As people stayed at home and practiced social distancing, intent to visit continued declining throughout April. Compared to 2019, the intent to visit was down by 18 percentage points, from 75% to 57% in the 18th week of the year (end of April).

In May, some of the lockdown restrictions were eased and non-essential businesses, including malls and eateries began reopening to a restricted number of customers in certain parts of the country. This was followed by more broadly relaxed restrictions. In line with this increased sense of optimism, we saw a recovery in the intention to visit leisure and entertainment venues through June.

YouGov’s latest Omnibus adds further insights to the story and reveals residents’ intention to visit leisure and entertainment venues in the near future. The data shows shopping malls are the venue the largest proportion of UAE residents (64%) are very or somewhat likely to visit. Following this, many are eager to return to beaches (56%), parks & gardens (53%) and restaurants (52%).


Enthusiasm to visit concerts, shows or music events and art galleries is less, with the largest proportions (56% and 48%, respectively) saying they are unlikely (somewhat unlikely and not at all likely) to visit these places.

Of those who are likely to visit shopping malls, around half (49%) have already done so in the last month, while an additional quarter (25%) are likely to visit in July. One in three (30%) have frequented restaurants in the last month and almost as many (27%) are likely to do so this month. For beaches, one in five (22%) have started revisiting them and another third (34%) are likely to visit in July.

Museums & exhibitions, and zoos & aquariums can expect to see their visitor numbers pick up slightly later in the year; with a third (33% for both) saying they are likely to start visiting these places again by August/ September 2020.

Interest for visiting theme parks is also highest in August/ September, with 29% of respondents expecting to revisit indoor theme parks and 25% saying they will revisit outdoor theme parks during these months.

When asked about what measures could boost their confidence to visit leisure and entertainment venues, mandatory masks and gloves for everyone at all times emerged as the top requirement (57%), closely followed by increased disinfection of venues, equipment and shared spaces (55%) and increased social distancing through enforced spacing, small groups and limited mixing between groups (55%).


YouGov BrandIndex will continue to track intention to visit, to understand when this recovers and is back in line with previous years’ trends.

YouGov Omnibus data collected online among 1090 respondents in the UAE between 29th June and 5th July 2020 using YouGov’s panel of over 6 million people worldwide. Data is representative of the adult national population in UAE.