Dubai’s goal of doubling the 10 million visitors welcomed in 2012 to 20 million by 2020 is the collective responsibility of all industry stakeholders, was the message shared at the launch session of the ATM 2014 seminar series, which opened today at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.
The opportunities, challenges and early successes of the government initiative, one year on from its official launch, were addressed by four top tourism industry leaders at a session entitled ‘Delivering the Tourism Vision for 2020 and how Dubai is marketed to the world’.
Leading the panel discussion was HE Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO & Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), who was joined by Ghaith al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai; Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates; and Neil Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Office MEA, Marriott International.
Opening the session, HE Almarri said: “Dubai’s position in the world, with what we have to offer, is very promising. The Expo 2020 win offers a clear message that Dubai is seen as a tourism and business hub for the region. We’re very proud to have won the right to host the event, but Dubai won’t stop; it will continue evolving up to, and beyond, 2020.”
DTCM has spent the last 12 months working closely with its partners in the tourism industry to implement the first phases of the detailed strategy, with Al Marri reporting that government departments and private sector companies have fully embraced the vision as the emirate fast tracks regulatory changes to facilitate further sector development in the remaining half of the decade.
Since ATM 2013, the Dubai government has already announced plans to create a fully integrated e-Permit and e-Ticketing system and shared details of an exciting incentivisation initiative that will enable hotel owners to bring forward construction timelines for three and four-star properties, with eligible developments granted a concession on the standard 10% Municipality Fee levied on the room rate for each night of occupancy.
At the start of 2014, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister issued a series of directives designed to enhance and streamline hotel investment and development in the emirate, supported by ongoing infrastructure expansion. At the same time, the newly established DTCM affiliate, the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) will focus on the international marketing and promotion of Dubai’s tourism and commerce credentials to a growing global audience.
Following the recent news that Dubai International Airport pipped London’s Heathrow as the busiest airport globally for international passengers in Q1 2014, and with the successful phase one launch of the emirate’s second international hub, Al Maktoum International, the role of Emirates and flydubai in bringing the world to Dubai was a key discussion point.
Commenting on the role of the emirate’s airline in driving inbound passenger numbers, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, said: “Dubai’s vision is why we’ve been so successful. We set out to maintain the standard expected of Dubai, which sets us apart from typical low cost airlines because we’re innovative in introducing distinctive value added services.
“We now fly to 75 destinations, 48 not already served from Dubai and these are aligned to meet Dubai Expo 2020’s growth plans.”
“The challenge for 2020 is to meet the demand in services while developing the brand and have the best airlift in the world, and continue to accelerate in terms of quality,” added Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates.
The city has been named as a top destination to visit during 2014 by both the New York Times and the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, and the need to attract a broad visitor base, and position Dubai as a destination for budget as well as luxury travellers, was also addressed by the panelists.
“Dubai is a fantastic attractive city for tourists and business travellers and we believe Marriott can have 10,000 rooms in the city in 2020, up from 3,000 now.
This is a unique destination with architecture and a rich cultural history, but we need help with partners such as airlines and cruise lines to build demand; but we’re bullish for the future,” said Neil Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Office MEA, Marriott International.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.
The 21st edition of Arabian Travel Market 2014 takes place at Dubai International Exhibition and runs through to Thursday 8 May.
The Breaking Travel News crew are in town, attending each day bringing you video interviews of all the key industry players. Keep an eye out throughout the week for all the coverage in the BTN Video section