The Congress brings Russians to Dubai

From left, Wilby, Rahman and Vorobieva: the Russians are big on Dubai

THE number of Russian tourists arriving in Dubai this year is estimated to be 40-60 per cent more than last year, according to reports.

Last year, the emirate welcomed 422,000 Russian tourists, who stayed with various Dubai hotel establishments, according to a statement from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). This was an increase of four per cent over 2004, according to the department.
The DTCM, which operates a representative office in Moscow for the Russian, CIS and Baltic regions, has been actively participating in different Russian tourism exhibitions, including the just concluded Leisure-2006 that has added to this growth. It also conducts regular sponsored familiarization trips for the Russian media representatives and tour operators.
Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM manager, Media Relations, said the emirate has been attracting greater attention in the Russian and CIS markets as a destination of choice for business and leisure. He was quoted by the Khaleej Times: “As the winter sets in Russia, Dubai is the place to be where one can experince sun and sand along with hotels that provide good quality services. As the city will be hosting the Dubai Shopping Festival later this year, we expect the Russian tourists to come in large numbers.”
According to the DTCM statement, as many as 830 tour operators are featuring Dubai in their programmes for the 2005/2006 season, 38 per cent more than the previous period. Statement recorded a 10 per cent increase in the number of Russians travelling through Dubai International Airport.
For the second consecutive year, the DTCM was host to the annual Natalie Tours Congress in cooperation with Alpha Tours. Being held at the Grosvenor House hotel, the six-day gathering attracted 220 top travel professionals from the network of Natalie Tours, the biggest tour operator in Moscow.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) and leading five-star hotels also supported the prestigious meeting.
Present at the event were the DTCM’s Rahman, Ghassan Al Aridi, CEO of Alpha Tours, Natalia Vorobieva, director-general of Natalie Tours, and Pam Wilby, general manager, Le Royal Meridien and Grosvenor House.
The support for the Natalie Tours Congress, Rahman said, was part of the promotional and marketing initiatives of the department with the aim of attracting more visitors to Dubai as its tourism product gets expanded.
Ghassan Al Aridi said the DTCM support to the conference for the second time speak volumes about Dubai’s commitment to the Russian market and its keenness to build long-lasting relations with the tourism and travel industry and its decision-makers.
He said the holding of conference by Natalie with the top travel `agents of its network also affirms their growing interest in Dubai as a year-round business and leisure destination. There will be a substantial increase in the Russian visitors to Dubai as an outcome of this congress.
Natalia Vorobieva said more than 220 top travel agents out of a network of 7,000 travel agents in Russia were hand-picked for the congress in addition to the tours reservations staff of her Moscow-based company.
She said Russians consider Dubai a safe destination and one of the best places to visit throughout the year. The conference will allow the delegates to explore Dubai’s strengths and attractions and experience first-hand all its world-class facilities, all of which are reachable via increased flight connections between Moscow and Dubai. The number of weekly flights between Dubai and Russia grew to 38 in 2005, up from just six in 2002.
This conference will also facilitate their networking with industry professionals in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular. The delegates will be taken on a tour of the attractions in the emirate, including hotels and new projects that are changing the Dubai skyline.
Russian tourists comprise around 11 per cent of all tourists in Dubai, and among the highest spenders in Dubai, as on the average a Russian spends a large sum for a seven-night stay alone, the Khaleej Times quoted Pam Wilby of the Le Royal Meredian Grosvenor House hotel.