“THE summer season spells boom time for inbound traffic to Dubai, with the travel trade expecting a 10 to 15 per cent increase in arrival numbers, say industry experts.
'Last year we did very good business in summer and this year we already have had a lot of inquiries from all over the world, including Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, Iran, Pakistan and India. We are expecting a large number of tourists from the United Kingdom this summer and most of the inbound flights coming into the country from various sectors are full,” said Mansoubi Saeed, tour manager at Al Rais Travels. “As for the GCC visitors, we have already seen an increase of between 10 and 15 per cent in reservations against last year, which may increase as the holiday season progresses.”
From its first year figures of 600,000 visitors and Dh850 million ($231.4 million) spend, the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) has grown steadily in the past decade with visitor numbers soaring to 1875,000 million in 2006 and the expenditure figures skyrocketing to Dh2.57 billion, according to organisers. The estimated figures this DSS are a spend of Dh3.08 billion (20 per cent up) and arrivals of 2.16 million (15 per cent increase).
Emirates airline, which flies to 89 destinations in more than 59 countries, is promoting the DSS worldwide and looking forward to a thriving summer season ahead. Ghaith Al Ghaith, emirates’ executive vice-president, Commercial Operations World-wide, said: “Sales have been increasing significantly every year during summer. The majority of our customers for DSS are from the Gulf and the Middle East, but we are flying in more people from the Subcontinent, Africa and Europe.”
He said the airline’s DSS packages are an excellent way for people who have never been to Dubai before to enjoy the city at reasonable prices. Emirates’ deals begin at $50.
Paul Starrs, British Airways’ commercial manager, Middle East said, “Passenger numbers are increasing year upon year, largely because of Dubai’s growing tourism reputation. Traffic between the UK and the UAE continues to grow. This is of course supplemented by the vast array of luxurious hotels and unique shopping experiences the city offers. Dubai is now an established year-round leisure destination.”
Mohammad Khairalla, senior manager, UAE and Oman at Kuwait Airways said, “Every year we prepare ourselves for the DSS rush. Both Kuwaitis and expatriates based in the country make it a point to come to Dubai to spend some time here. Especially in July and August we expect the inbound traffic to go up by at least 10 per cent.”
Other airlines that indicated Dubai’s growth as a summer hot spot are Qatar Airways and Gulf Air.
by Clark Kelly