Indians who frequently travel via Dubai were met with good news this week, after it was reported that all airports in the Emirate were now accepting the Indian rupee (INR) for transactions at duty-free stores. A major transit destination for flights running between India and the Americas, Europe, and Africa, Dubai saw over 12.2 million passengers from India passing through its airports last year.
This move, which kick started on July 1, will result in significant savings for Indian passengers as they would no longer remain pressed to give up Indian currency for US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), and Dirhams (AED) at exchange rates. The inclusion of the Indian Rupee as one of the modes of transaction at Dubai airports was reported by the UAE-based news outlet Gulf News on July 3, and was confirmed by a tweet from Dubai Duty Free the next day.
Starting July, duty free stores at all three terminals of Dubai International Airport and at Al Maktoum Airport would now be accepting Indian Rupees, making it the 16th such currency in which transactions are permitted. However, passengers will receive change in Dirhams, as only the US Dollar, Euro and the Pound Sterling are currently exchanged in the same currency.
According to the Khaleej Times, Indian passengers accounted for 18 per cent of the total annual sales of US$2.015 billion at Dubai Duty Free in 2018.
The move is in sync with the ambitious plans Dubai has for its growth, which includes becoming a preferred transit destination. Dubai Duty Free, which manages duty free operations here, has a retail area of 38,000 sq.m. at Dubai International Airport and 4,000 sq. m. at Al Maktoum International. Started in 1983, it is considered to be one of the biggest travel retail operators in the world, employing over 6000 people.