The Government of Dubai accompanied by members of the country’s tourism sector is rolling out strategic programmes tailored to cement Dubai’s status as a must-experience destination that offers constantly enriching and exceptional pleasures to its visitors.
The country’s tourism sector had seen substantial growth in the last 10 to 15 years, with the number of hotel guests annually exceeding the 10 million mark in 2012. And, the target of its ‘Tourism Vision for 2020’ is to double that number. Hence, this week, representatives of its Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Emirates airline and partners from hotels and destination management companies are visiting Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to highlight Dubai’s credentials as a destination for their holiday markers and explore partnerships with local travel industry professionals.
Dubai has been named a top city to visit in 2014 by the New York Times and the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, and also climbed to the world’s fifth most visited city in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index. The award wins are attributable to a series of tourism-friendly legislative changes and the opening and announcement of new hotels, attractions and events speaking to the efficacy of the emirate’s target for 2020 and related efforts.
The Dubai delegation will be promoting the city as the best destination for shopping and its superb hotels, as hailed in TripAdvisor’s second annual Cities Survey, and also a range of other attractions, events and experiences that the emirate provides.
Speaking ahead of the roadshow, DTCM Director of Overseas Offices Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry said: “The Government’s long-term vision for the country’s tourism has the full support of the private sector. We have a tourism industry all zest up seeking to provide new experiences to visitors and growing existing visitor sources as well as securing new ones.
“We have traditionally welcomed visitors from the region en route to Mecca, the US and Europe flying with the Emirates and national airlines of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, but we see a significant potential for Dubai to become THE FINAL destination instead of merely a ‘stopover’.”
Announced in May 2013, the Tourism Vision for 2020 of Dubai provides a strategic framework for guiding government departments and the private sector to achieve the 20 million visitors per year target by decade end, and having welcomed more than 11 million hotel guests in 2013, the emirate is on course to achieving that target.
Al Geziry said: “Building on the full embrace of government departments and the private sector, the Vision which has been announced just a year has made good progress. A major focus of ours is on positioning Dubai as a world-leading family travel destination and collaboration between the Government and private sector in coming up continuously with more innovative and attractive activities and events has helped shape Dubai into an ideal destination for family vacations.
“In January 2015, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival and two festivals launched last year namely the Dubai Food Festival and Dubai Motor Festival will welcome visitors in February and October, the former especially will highlight the exquisite but often unknown gastronomic delights the emirate has to offer. Those are in addition to our packed calendar of events in music, culture and sports and also the wide range of family attractions.
The imminent projects that promise to excite visitors include the Dubai Tram and the Dubai Safari Project to be unveiled and the 14km Jumeirah Corniche to be completed this year, Wire World – the largest man-made adventure park in the world – in November, a host of theme parks such as Legoland scheduled to open in 2016, a Six Flags theme park – the first to open by the theme park giant outside North America – ready to entertain in 2017. And, there are also Dubai’s first Opera House located close to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower and the Bluewaters Island to open in 2018 is home to the Dubai Eye billed to become the world’s tallest ferris wheel.
As the host of Expo 2020, Dubai is also hard at work on the first phase of the emirate’s second international airport, which will markedly boost access to the most connected city on the planet.
And the hotel industry, as an essential constituent of the tourism sector, has continued to expand its portfolio. By the end of 2016, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 hotel rooms will be added to the existing 85,000. New hotels to join the industry include the designer resort Palazzo Versace those of hotel groups Langham and Viceroy the first time in the emirate.
The five-star hotels opened in the past year include Palm Jumeirah resorts Anantara, Sofitel and Waldorf Astoria, and there are city properties Oberoi and Conrad and a number of three- and four-star properties. Being a growth focus of the Dubai Government, the last group or mid-market hotels have benefited from related legislative changes made by the Government recently.
Al Geziry said: “Dubai is well known for its luxurious hotels and spas which impress higher-end visitors and families. We will continue to grow this offer; however, we know we have much to offer to all types of visitors on business or for leisure in Dubai, hence the focus on developing also the mid-market hotel segment. We want to let visitors know that Dubai, with a population comprising more than 200 nationalities, is THE FINAL destination ready to meet their diverse preferences.”
Emirates Airline operates 4 daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai and 5 daily flights from Singapore and Jakarta to Dubai.
Photo courtesy Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.