Dubai on the move ...

Dubai has taken the challenge of a global travel slump head on with a major thrust to rebuild international confidence in its tourism industry, TTN reports.

Dubai is out to prove the world wrong. It is determined to show that it is 'business as usual' in the emirate.

At a time when the world's travel and tourism industry is struggling to keep afloat, Dubai, which relies on the sector as a key source of its non-oil income, has decided to face the challenge head on.

A record $15 billion order for new aircraft by Dubai's Emirates Airline, the launch of a major promotion campaign at the World Travel Market, opening of several new hotels, introduction of the e-government initiative - Dubai is on the move.

The emirate's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the lead agency in its drive to attract more visitors, has been exceptionally active since the world was shaken by the terror attacks in the US in September.

DTCM said it had launched a major new thrust at last month's World Travel Market in London to rebuild international confidence in the emirate's tourism industry.

The agency's director general, Khalid A bin Sulayem, said there were already encouraging signs that the downturn was past its low point.

"The DTCM plans to capitalise on this increase in market receptiveness by stepping up our international promotional campaigns. Up until now it has been 'business as usual'. But, looking ahead, we recognise that the current situation calls for more than that," he said.

"Extra resources must be deployed both to enhance our existing promotional campaigns and to allow for the introduction of entirely new initiatives."

He said that these would focus on promoting more widespread international awareness that Dubai is both unaffected by and remote from trouble spots in the region.

For the first time, the DTCM will be using TV advertising extensively to reach the travelling public in its international campaigns.

Another key initiative targets travel agents. Entitled "A Taste of Dubai", this programme involves inviting some 1,400 travel agents from major overseas markets to spend four days in the emirate between now and February, to experience its lifestyle and tourist attractions at first hand.

Emirates will provide complimentary tickets and the leading hotels free accommodation for this massive familiarisation programme.

The DTCM also plans to step up its cooperative marketing activities. Overseas tour operators will be encouraged to put forward proposals for jointly financed promotions in their respective markets.

"Tour operators' promotions are highly results oriented, so joining forces with key partner companies can be very cost effective," said Bin Sulayem.

He officially launched the 2002 edition of Destination Dubai, its flagship tourism publication outlining the emirate's attractions, facilities and services.

DTCM's efforts to promote tourism were formally recognised at the WTM when the organisation was awarded with the 2001 Global Award by the event's organisers for its contribution to the international travel and tourism industry.

The department, meanwhile, has launched campaigns to attract visitors from markets in Asia, the former Soviet Union and Africa as part of its expanded drive.

It said it has produced a multi-lingual brochure on Dubai's attractions and leisure facilities to target the travel trade and consumers in Russia and the Baltic States.

It reported a keen interest from the Russian travel trade at the recently concluded Seventh International Trade Fair for Tourism in Moscow - Leisure 2001 and a two-city tourism roadshow covering Moscow and St. Petersburg held afterwards.

The department said a group of leading Russian tour operators had confirmed their commitment to destination Dubai following a comprehensive presentation during a familiarisation tour of the emirate.

In other significant developments:

  • Dubai hosted the annual convention of the Syndicat National Des Agencies De Voyages (SNAV), France's national trade union of travel agents, in what DTCM said was a boost for the emirate's image.

  • The department launched a new concept to train travel agents from key tourism origin markets about the emirate and its attractions starting with 40 South African travel agents from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

  • It hosted a group of 13 leading Italian tour operators as part of its ongoing drive to attract more meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) business from Europe.

  • A new travel guide was launched as part of a niche marketing initiative targeting affluent Japanese women. The 36-page 'Dubai Travel Guide' features detailed information on points of specific interest for Japanese women including branded goods, shopping, spa and aesthetics, gourmet life in addition to general information.

    To attract regional interest, DTCM also announced a special festive shopping package for Eid and Christmas.

    The organisers of the Dubai Shopping Festival also announced better promotions and activities for next year's event in March.

    And Dubai International Airport which is to undergo major expansion, and Dubai Duty Free announced the launch of a new "Cultural Voyage" campaign on CNN International targeting millions of viewers worldwide.

    The two-year campaign will consist of 24 different vignettes, or mini-documentaries, focusing on the rich cultural heritage of Dubai and featuring falconry, henna, pearl diving, perfumery, architecture, dhow building and Arabian music and dance.

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