The future is bright at the Fairmont

Dubai is ever-increasingly becoming the tourist hub of the Middle East. TTN talks to Stephen Banks, regional director of sales and marketing for the Fairmont Dubai about inbound business and what it means to the hotel

Q. What have been the main tourism developments in Dubai in recent years?

A. The growth of tourism in Dubai and development of the city itself has, in the last few years, been demonstrated most obviously along the beach strip, with the Jumeirah area truly taking on a life and character of its own, and which now offers an unparalleled selection of luxury beachfront properties. 
 And of course seasonal favourites such as the Dubai Shopping Festival now command international attention and valuable inbound business, again singling out Dubai as a great tourism destination. 
Q. What are your main markets? Have you seen any new markets emerging?
A. Business from the GCC is a key market for the hotel with travellers from these countries representing a wealth of international companies and nationalities.  At origin of booking, local representative offices are the main business bookers for Dubai, using regionally based staff as well as bringing in international colleagues.  Our main European feeder markets are the UK and Germany. 
Q. What are you doing to promote Dubai internationally? How important is this promotion?
A. We advertise prior to and attend all the major travel shows in our major source markets for both leisure and group/MICE business, taking the opportunity to not only sell our hotel but to sell in the destination.  Additionally our London and Frankfurt sales offices offer ongoing support in our key European markets and we have dedicated team members focusing only on the Dubai property. 
Q. How do you see tourism developing in Dubai in the future?
A. Dubai has incredible potential to become a major player in the league of key global destinations.  Already a hub for the region, physical growth seems set to continue at all levels leading to longevity across the major market segments, whether it be tourism, business or MICE. 
Q. How was 2003 for the hotel in terms of occupancy and revenue?  
A. We attained an average occupancy of 75 per cent and revenues exceeded our budgeted expectations.  
Q. Do you think there will be an increase in regional travel?
A. Yes, Dubai is being utilised extensively as a hub for companies involved in the rebuild of Iraq.  This alone has represented a significant increase in GCC travel.
Q. What segment do you think will do well this year (2004) – leisure, corporate, budget?
A. Group/Incentive will have most impact as Dubai opens back up for Europe following an increase in stability in the region.