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.