Dubai Tourism is eyeing double digit growth by 2020, looking to capitalise on Australians travelling to UK and Europe to secure this.
Dubai Tourism’s Julie King spoke with Travel Weekly about how they plan to secure a higher percentage of visitors to stop-over in Dubai – as well as experiencing it as a primary destination.
“The past five years have shown strong growth for Dubai from the Australian market, and while was a flat year in general with the decline of the Australian Dollar, we were able to sustain our year-on-year business levels through our aggressive Sales and PR Strategy with high consumer visibility through TV content and partnerships, in addition to strong trade campaigns,” King said.
This year has seen a launch of an abundance of attractions for Dubai. Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai will be opening on August 31st and will bring a wider variety of arts and culture to the city. The opening performance, Plácido Domingo, sold out within three hours, showing the incredible demand from the UAE and beyond for the arts in Dubai.
Additionally, Dubai’s offering as a family destination will significantly increase this year with the opening of four major theme parks. IMG Worlds of Adventure will be the first to open on 15 August and will be the world’s biggest indoor theme park, featuring Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs’ attractions for all ages. Dubai Parks and Resorts (Bollywood Parks™ Dubai , Motiongate™ Dubai and LEGOLAND® Dubai and LEGOLAND® Water Park) is the second project, comprising of three huge theme parks on one site, and opens in October.
To meet demand in rising visitor numbers there are new hotel brands opening soon, with Dubai’s first W hotel opening at Al Habtoor City, alongside the newly opened St Regis and soon-to-open Westin. Later this year will also see The Langham and Viceroy open in Dubai, as well as the Dragone Theatre, which will be home to amazing performances.
So what do travel agents need to know to better sell Dubai?
A constantly changing city
The city is constantly developing with new products opening each year. Dubai is no longer just a stopover, but a year-round travel destination which will see a significant shift in traffic when the theme parks open as much of this will be indoors, adding to other indoor attractions and activities already in destination.
Packed events calendar
There is a full events calendar and the city is thriving all year-round showcasing sporting, music, arts and gastronomy events that draw international crowds. Dubai also has some of the world’s best restaurants, spas and shopping, so it is a great place to wind-down and enjoy.
The people of Dubai
With 89% of expats making up the city and home to 202 nationalities, it is a friendly, welcoming and safe city with most people speaking English. It is often asked whether females are safe to travel to Dubai alone, but the city has been rated as one of the safest places in the world (it was recently voted one of Top 20 safest places in the world by a recent report from Aon Hewitt).
Transport around the city is cheap – you can jump on the metro from less than $1, taxis are also cheap and in abundance and uber is available to use – so getting around isn’t a problem and as the city grows, so too is the portfolio of mid-range hotels (such as Rove, Ibis Styles, Novotel and Aloft which is expected to open in 2017), this makes it an appealing destination that is suitable for travellers on a budget.
Learn more about Dubai
Dubai Tourism is invested in ensure travel agents have the most up to date information, training and opportunities to learn and visit Dubai. There are regional sales managers who, upon request, will come do store/office visits to carry out agent training – their details can also be found on the AFTA destination page or by calling the Dubai Tourism office on 02 9956 6620. And watch this space for our Dubai roadshow at major cities in Australia later.
“We invest a lot of time training and educating travel agents and trade partners on Dubai so that they are confident and have the knowledge to sell the destination,” King advised.
“Over 70% of our resources focus on Trade and through our partnership with AFTA we also have a number of resources available for download on our destination page on the AFTA website. Additionally, we take a large number of agents each year to Dubai on our annual megafam. This first-hand experience is hugely important for agents selling the destination and something we will continue to build in to our strategy – we will be continuing to showcase the city with another megafam later in the year, tying in with the opening of all the new theme parks.”