Dubai in marketing drive to boost tourist arrivals

Dubai: Dubai is bolstering efforts to attract foreign visitors amid competition from countries affected by the Arab Spring.

Senior officials from the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (Depe), an agency of the Department of Economic Development, are in London for the World Travel Market to promote the emirate as a tourist destination as other Arab nations also strive to boost visitor numbers.

Egypt and Tunisia have launched tourist drives at this year’s travel trade exhibition, according to a global trends report conducted by market analysis company Euromonitor International. Dubai’s tourism industry has benefited from the political turmoil elsewhere in the region with holidaymakers viewing the UAE as a safe haven amid the unrest.

“The speed at which the marketing campaigns have been launched demonstrates the importance the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia have put on inbound tourism for their long-term economic future,” WTM chairman Fiona Jeffery told the UK’s Press Association.

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Potential

“Tourism can help build up these countries’ new democracies and has the potential to do so across all the Arab Spring countries,” she added.

DEPE will be promoting Dubai’s various festivals — including the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises — to a global audience at the WTM with the agency particularly interested into the UK tourism sector as 719,889 British tourists stayed in Dubai’s hotels last year.

“We are aiming to promote DEPE’s festivals such as the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, ‘Eid in Dubai’, Ramadan in Dubai, and the brand Modhesh,” said Ebrahim Saleh, Festivals Coordinator General and Deputy CEO of DEPE.

“Dubai Calendar, which is the official listing of events in Dubai, will also be actively promoted by DEPE at WTM,” he added.

However, concerns over the state of the global economy are taking their toll on savings sentiment, especially in developed countries.

The Euromonitor report said two in five people in the UK did not take a holiday this year. In addition, the report showed almost half of holidaymakers continue to use mobile phones abroad, despite racking up huge bills.

A third of those surveyed said they planned to travel less often, due to increased taxes.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) said rises in air passenger duty were a major issue but that they would continue to travel on a lower budget.