It's business as usual in Dubai


DTCM A total of 48 organisations will be part of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) stand at the World Travel Market this month, underlining the emirate's "business as usual" message to the British and European travel industry.

Dubai's soaring popularity has seen the number of UK visitors triple in just three years to top the 300,000 mark in 2000.

This level of growth is expected to be restored rapidly as global tourism recovers from the current downturn sparked by the attacks in the US in September.

"Our tourism industry is preparing for a strong recovery. There is a major hotel construction programme underway, as well as massive investment in developing and diversifying the tourism infrastructure," said DTCM director general Khalid bin Sulayem.

"All the factors which have made Dubai one of the great tourism success stories of recent years are in place and the government and private sector are united in their commitment to securing Dubai's position as one of the world's top destinations of the 21st century."

Bin Sulayem will lead the Dubai delegation at WTM which will be held at Earls Court in London from November 12-15.

He said that the past year had seen a major breakthrough in building interest in the destination among travel agents and consumers.

"We have had excellent support from UK tour operators for a number of years. This is now increasingly being extended to the travel agency sector, with the result that public awareness and interest has soared," Bin Sulayem said.

"Sustaining this momentum, while at the same time further developing niche markets such as MICE, golf and cruise business, will be a major focus of our promotional activity in the British market in the coming year."

The Dubai team at WTM comprises 26 hotels and accommodation providers, 12 ground handlers and destination management companies and 10 other tourism-related organisations such as Dubai Golf and the organisers of major events like Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai World Cup.

Collectively, the delegation will represent a cross-section of the best of the emirate's tourism sector, providing travel industry visitors with a complete "one-stop" service covering all their needs.

The DTCM stand (no. ME 100) will be an attraction in its own right, combining traditional Arabian themes and design elements with representations of forward looking new developments such as the Palm Islands project.

The overall effect will be to convey the message that Dubai offers holidaymakers a uniquely attractive combination of Arabian adventures and experiences together with 21st century luxury and facilities to match the best in the world.

While WTM ranks as the premier annual showcase for Dubai's tourism sector in the UK, Bin Sulayem said the event is part of a diversified mix of marketing activities carried out by the DTCM in the UK.

Other exhibition participation ranges from consumer fairs, such as Destinations and the Manchester Holiday Show, to niche market events like Confex.

Complementing these, the DTCM's full programme of promotional activities takes in cooperative marketing, familiarisation visits, media relations, mailings, and briefings and educationals, as well as ongoing information and advisory services.

Introducing the destination and its attractions to the retail travel trade is currently a key priority.

A highlight of this programme will be a major DTCM roadshow next June, which will take the Dubai message to travel agents at workshop seminars in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Dublin.