The director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Mr Khalid A bin Sulayem, hosted the British consul general to Dubai and the northern emirates, Mr John Hawkins, at the DTCM head office in Dubai and reviewed bilateral ties.
PHOTO CAPTION: DTCM director general, Mr Khalid A bin Sulayem (right), holding talks with the British consul-general, Mr John Hawkins (left), at the DTCM head office recently.
In his meeting, Mr bin Sulayem briefed Mr Hawkins about developments taking place in the emirate and the department’s role and vision within the fast-expanding tourism industry. Mr bin Sulayem also reviewed the strong and growing relations between the UK and Dubai.
The UK is the largest source market of visitors to Dubai. Over 605,000 hotel guests were from the UK in 2004, a 32 per cent increase from 458,451 in 2003. Between January and June 2005, Dubai hotels hosted 333,930 guests from the UK - a 32 per cent increase compared with the corresponding period last year.
A total of 190 tour operators in the UK and Ireland now feature Dubai in their brochures.
According to its latest report, Kuoni, the UK’s largest long-haul tour operator, revealed that in the 12 months to the end of June 2005 Dubai became the number one luxury long-haul destination. Ranking at the top of this influential report’s list strongly reflects the powerful status that Dubai has been enjoying in Europe over the years.
Mr Hawkins said trade between Dubai and the UK jumped 90 per cent in the first half of fiscal 2004-05. The value of trade increased from £1.1 billion (AED 7.3 billion) to £2.1 billion (AED 13.9 billion) during the period. He said: “Dubai is the UK’s largest market in the Middle East and the 17th largest export market in the world. This has been the busiest year we have had.”
The UK’s exports to Dubai from January to December 2004 totalled £2.03 billion (AED 13.5 billion) and imports amounted to £0.61 billion (AED 4.03 billion).
The value of UK exports for the same period to the northern emirates was £0.42 billion (AED 2.8 billion) and the value of imports was £0.25 billion (AED 1.7 billion).
Mr Hawkins revealed that the embassy has had to increase the number of personnel in its commercial section. Apart from Dubai, the only other place where this has been done is China.
Interest in Dubai is set to get a big boost from the UK market following the successful hosting of road shows by the DTCM in the UK which attracted a high level of attendance from reputed companies including major tour operators, travel agencies and MICE organisations. The road shows were held in three UK cities from 28 June to 1 July 2005 - Manchester, Glasgow and London.
In her public remarks during her ‘first real visit’ to Dubai including visits to some of the city’s historical buildings, Cherie Booth, wife of British prime minister Tony Blair, said: “This is truly an astonishing and breathtaking place. Like most first time visitors, I suspect, I already have a crick in my neck from looking upwards the whole time.” Over 100,000 UK nationals live and work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE.).
“It’s hard to credit that this extraordinary, dynamic city has grown up in little more than a generation. Dubai is continuing to develop, diversify and adapt. It shows what can be achieved by vision, boldness and determination. The city must be an architect’s paradise,” remarked the leading barrister and Queen’s Counsel.