Tour operators promote Dubai as destination


Despite an international tourism downturn, the number of British and Irish tour operators featuring Dubai has increased by 15 per cent since WTM 2003, demonstrating a strong commitment to the emirate.

Commitment to selling Dubai as a safe destination resulted in a sharp rise of bookings as Kuoni’s Dubai product manager, Catherine England, reports: “As a result of the war with Iraq earlier this year business to Dubai was down year on year.  Since this time, consumer confidence has returned, fuelled by tactical pricing from our hotelier and airline partners coupled with the launch of the Dubai 2004 brochure.”

Elegant Resorts stated that once the war ended they experienced an increase in bookings for the latter part of 2003 and a 36 per cent increase of forward bookings for 2004.  
“The DTCM is grateful for the support received by the tour operators in placing Dubai as a safe holiday destination during this challenging year,” says Bärbel Kirchner, director of the UK and Ireland office of the DTCM. 

The growing diversity of Dubai’s tourism and leisure product has led to a number of tour operators selling specialist holiday’s including beach, golf, spa and wedding packages.  Over the last year, new general and specialist tour operators featuring Dubai include Anemone, Azure Luxury Hotel Collection, Essential Escapes,, (specialising in online bookings), Golden Sun, Greencard Golf Holidays, If Only... and Sunway Holidays.  While Tradewinds and Bakers Yard have produced dedicated Dubai brochures and Gold Medal Travel has expanded its Dubai brochure for 2004.

Travelpack noted a 46 per cent increase in passenger numbers in 2003, resulting in the expansion of its 2004 programme to include 14 properties.  Harlequin Worldwide Travel has seen a 43 per cent rise over the same period in the previous year, while Sunset Faraway Holidays has enjoyed a 70 per cent growth over the last five years.