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Dubai to lead strongest-ever delegation to WTM
November 2005 159

Fierce competition in Dubai’s rapidly growing tourism sector, ensures a proportionate presence of Dubai’s strongest-ever delegation of 92 companies on the 506 sq m stand (ME2000) at this year’s WTM.

The Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) will be leading the delegation and will be supporting respective efforts to attract new business in the UK, which since 2002 has become the largest source market for visitors to Dubai, as well as efforts to expand in Ireland and other major European markets.
Emphasis will be on pacing demand in line with the anticipated additional room capacity. Over the next four years room stock will increase drastically with an estimated 12,500 rooms providing greater choice of luxury city and beach accommodation. Among the 46 accommodation providers exhibiting on the Dubai stand will be many global hotel chains but also the regional and international hotel groups: Habtoor Hospitality, Jebel Ali International Hotels, Jumeirah, the Ramee Group of Hotels and Rotana Hotels.
The demand for activity holidays and soft adventure is on the increase and, therefore, part of Dubai’s rapidly-expanding tourism product is the diversity and creativity provided by many of its inbound tour operators. Among a total of 26, newcomers to WTM are Al Abjar Tourism, Arabian Dream Tours, Bin Majid Tours, Destinations of the World, Incentive Productions, Reem Tours and Royal Arabian Tours. Exhibiting at WTM will also be the Mall of the Emirates / Ski Dubai, a new shopping and entertainment centre with the world’s largest indoor ski resort.
Visitors to the Dubai stand will also benefit from being updated about some of the new exciting developments. Present will be Nakheel and Emaar, developers of the grand-scale islands and waterfront, the Dubai Marina and the world’s largest hotel tower Burj Dubai.
Dubai’s tourism sector is growing from strength to strength, making a significant contribution to the emirate’s economy. Whilst the main focus is on developing an exclusive tourism and leisure infrastructure, there are similarly grand scale developments in other sectors of the emirate’s economy, which is fast expanding and rapidly diversifying. This will ensure a steadily growing demand for services for both the leisure and corporate visitor as well as for delegates meeting in, or groups travelling to, Dubai.
Khalid A Bin Sulayem, director general of the DTCM, who is leading Dubai’s delegation at WTM, said: “Dubai is very committed to meeting the changing expectations of the international traveller. A high standard of facilities and services and continuous product development will ensure that our emirate provides exclusive experiences now and in the future. In tandem with the expansion of Dubai’s tourism sector, the Dubai Government and private sector are committed to supporting our travel trade partners in European source markets.”
Baerbel Kirchner, director of the UK and Ireland representative office of the DTCM, stated: “Compared to other tourist destinations, Dubai is in the fortunate position of having a very diverse source market. Whilst diversification is an advantageous marketing strategy, the strength of the British market, supplying over 600,000 visitors to the emirate annually, is recognised and further encouraged. This is also in line with airlift capacity to Dubai – over 115 direct flights per week from the UK to Dubai.”
The DTCM carries out many marketing activities supporting the travel trade year round with WTM as the premier annual showcase for Dubai’s tourism sector in the UK. The DTCM reinforced its strong relationship with the trade earlier in 2005 by launching a travel agents’ on-line training programme, Dubai Expert. The DTCM will continue its programme of familiarisation visits for the travel trade as well as focussing on raising consumer awareness through advertising, an extensive range of PR initiatives and participation at consumer shows and sport events.
Kirchner added: “In anticipation of more products coming on line, it is essential for travel executives to keep up to date with Dubai’s rapidly diversifying product. We, therefore, strongly encourage new trainees to sign up for Dubai Expert.”
In 2004, Dubai experienced the sixteenth consecutive annual rise in worldwide visitor statistics, which demonstrates a nine per cent growth to almost 5.5 million from almost five million in 2004. Of these visitors, 605,240 originated from the UK and 15,529 from Ireland. Figures for the first six months of 2005 also indicate that these two markets have performed exceptionally well. From January to June, Dubai received 322,807 British and 8,985 Irish guests – a growth of over 14.5 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.




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