Archive for May, 2013

Dubai plans “privilege cards” for tourists

Dubai plans to introduce a “privilege” program for tourists visiting the emirate, in the form of reward points on all purchases. These points can be redeemed for various benefits, a person involved in the initiative told Zawya.

Every visitor landing at Dubai airport will be automatically enrolled in the privilege program and will receive a “smart card” that, when produced at points of sale, will accumulate reward points on the basis of the size of transactions made by the visitor, a source at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing ( DTCM ) said.

Dubai has a number of privilege programs in operation, launched by banks, retail chains and institutions, all targeting residents of the city. The ambitious DTCM plan will ensure that tourists and other visitors also benefit from reward programs.

Hotels, shopping malls and other tourism-centric public areas will have kiosks linked to a centralized system that will administer the rewards program, the person said. “It is a win-win for tourists and for us,” the DTCM source said. “Apart from offering benefits to visitors, the program will also help the tourism authorities to better understand the buying behavior of visitors and plan accordingly.”

The Dubai Vision for Tourism 2020, developed by DTCM under the guidance of the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, envisages the number of annual visitors doubling 10 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2020. Dubai has already doubled the number of tourists from five million to 10 million a year over the past eight years, with tourism’s current contribution to GDP estimated at about USD 27.2 billion.

As a part of Vision 2020, DTCM has outlined three areas on which Dubai can focus investment in order to boost visitor numbers: promotion of the UAE as a world-leading family destination; increasing focus on business visitors by promoting Dubai as the events capital of the region; and moving from a regional events hub to a global events and entertainment destination.
As part of this, both the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE) – organizer of festivals such as Dubai Summer Surprises and Dubai Shopping Festival – and Dubai Calendar were recently integrated into DTCM . The tourism promotion authority will also work closely with the Expo 2020 team to support and promote the Dubai bid to bring the World Expo to the region for the first time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

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Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi wins prestigious prize at World Travel Awards

DUBAI – Just five months after opening its doors to the public, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi swept away its formidable competition to claim the gong for the Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2013 at the World Travel Awards (WTA). The mega family entertainment attraction was lauded at the WTA Middle East ceremony recently held at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai.

The award was received by Mike Oswald, Park General Manager, who said: “When we launched the waterpark, our goal was to deliver an out-of-this-world experience to our guests and to receive this award just a few short months since starting our operations is a sign that we have been successful. This award is doubly satisfying as it is a vote of confidence from both consumers and our peers in the industry so it’s great to see that we have got the formula right straight off the bat.”

The mega waterpark beat some of the region’s most iconic tourist attractions including the Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai and other waterparks such as Aquaventure, Atlantis The Palm and Wild Wadi, among others, to take home the prestigious prize.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the WTA serve to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. Each year WTA travels the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective successes within each key geographical region. The regional winners compete head to head in a final round of voting to decide who will triumph in WTA’s world awards – the ultimate accolade in the travel and tourism industry. The WTA Grand Final 2013 will take place in Las Vegas later this year.

The WTA award comes in the wake of a recent global ranking of the world’s top 20 waterparks by the Los Angeles Times, which named Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi as the second best waterpark in the world – a hugely promising showing for a waterpark that has yet to hit six months of operations.

Visit Exotic Abu Dhabi tour which offers a regular tour to Ya Water World

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

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Annual income from tourism to 300 billion dirhams ($82 billion) by 2020

Tourism is crucial to Dubai’s economy, which had a gross domestic product of around $90 billion last year; it supports the emirate’s large retail industry as well as its hospitality sector.

Occupancy at Dubai’s 599 hotels, which have 80,500 rooms combined, was 78 percent in 2012 as the number of visitors rose 9.3 percent from a year ago to 10.16 million, according to data from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Helal Almarri, director-general of the DTCM, told Reuters that the emirate was likely to have more than 160,000 hotel rooms by the end of the decade and aimed to attract 20 million tourists annually by then.

Most decisions to build hotels would not be made by the Dubai government but by private companies. However, the Dubai government is active in supporting growth of the industry by providing infrastructure, marketing the emirate overseas, adjusting visa policies for visitors and expanding the network of the state-owned Emirates airline.

Saudi Arabia, India and Russia will be the main contributors to expected growth in tourist numbers, Almarri told Reuters.

“With Emirates airline and other carriers we focus very much on extending the routes to those markets,” he said.

Dubai’s main airport handled 5.85 million passengers in March, up 20.6 percent from a year earlier, according to airport authorities.

“Airport capacity is not on our critical list of issues to worry about,” said Almarri. “We can easily put on more flights at any time.” Dubai is pressing ahead with a $7.8 billion plan to expand Dubai International Airport, and plans eventually to migrate traffic to an even bigger facility.


Traditionally, Dubai has been known for five-star hotels, but more budget hotels have been built in the last few years, appealing to a wider tourist base. Almarri acknowledged this was an important trend.

“The importance in our growth is to have a mix of hotels,” he said. “Over the last five years the hotel offering in Dubai has become more diversified.”

At present, hotel guests stay for an average of 3.76 nights; hotel revenue was $5.13 billion in 2012.

Almarri said that to help increase the average length of stay, Dubai would build more entertainment facilities. Plans for several theme parks have been announced in the last few months by companies backed by the government or Dubai’s ruling family.

“I have every confidence that we will have over the next three to four years coming on line a significant number of tourist attractions which are purely entertainment-like theme parks,” said Almarri.

Having been forced to provision heavily for bad loans following the collapse of Dubai’s real estate market in 2008-2011, banks have become more prudent about financing large-scale projects. Almarri said the theme parks would be funded largely through public-private partnerships.

“Theme parks are procured rather than built in many cases, so come with their own financing packages – the rides are built elsewhere, so you will probably find that many governments around the world are encouraging exports,” he said. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 4, 2013 at 10:10 pm

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