Dubai to attract 15m tourists by 2015


Dubai hopes to increase tourist arrivals into the emirate to 15 million by 2015, but to achieve this it needs to tap the mass market in addition to the luxury segment, according a local newspaper report.

In the first quarter of 2008, tourist arrivals touched nearly two million visitors, a seven per cent rise over the same period last year, said a Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) official in a Gulf News report.

Last year, Dubai received 6.9 million visitors which has raised DTCM’s estimates to jump to 15 million tourists by 2015.

However, a tourism expert believed that to achieve this figure, Dubai had to focus on the mass market in addition to the luxury one. Chief executive of Alpha Tours, Gassan Aridi was quoted as saying that although Dubai was proud to be a luxury destination it also needed to appeal to the masses if it wanted to achieve this growth.

“If we are going to target big numbers of tourists we need more hotels that can accommodate the medium class people who need quality but are not the big spenders,” he said.

The number of hotels and hotel apartments were projected to go up to 488 by 2010, from 452 in 2007 with a further climb to 554, with a room capacity of 127,000 by 2016, according to the DTCM.

“Over 100 leisure related projects worth some Dh240 billion are currently underway in the emirate and the tourism industry now accounts for almost a quarter 22.6 per cent of Dubai’s annual GDP.”

“Additionally this sector is expected to generate £40 billion in revenues and contribute 6.4 per cent directly to the UAE’s GDP in 2008, expanding to almost £70 billion by 2018.”

The DTCM, in order to fulfill its corporate social responsibilities, has undertaken to reduce by 20 per cent the carbon emissions within the hospitality sector by 2011.

Khalid A bin Sulayem, director general DTCM, called upon the hospitality sector to actively join this initiative by undertaking actions to reduce these CO2 emissions to meet the DTCM target. The initiative focuses on conservation of natural resources and sensible use of energy, water and gas.

It is the first initiative of its kind in the region where the government will develop a database from its monitoring of CO2 emissions and the same would be shared with government and non governmental organisations.

Bin Sulayem added that this initiative was in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, environment drive to turn Dubai into a green and environmentally responsible community.

The DTCM will be providing the hospitality industry with a monitoring system that will assist the sector in gauging the emission of CO2 and will assist them in making decisions to reduce emissions and compare their performance to international best practice.

The DTCM will be also introducing best practice awards to the organisations that will prove best practices are being maintained.