A RECENT report released by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) shows the emirate has achieved significant growth in terms of hotel occupancy and tourism arrivals in the first half of 2010, with the number of hotel guests reaching 4,181,326 a nine per cent increase from 3,852,742 guests in the first half of last year.
Speaking exclusively to TTN, Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, executive director media relation division and business development, DTCM said: “As far as tourism is concerned, Dubai is certainly on track to achieve the targets set in the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. Moreover, the department of tourism is undertaking several well-planned marketing efforts across the world and tapping new markets to achieve this target. The nine per cent increase in visitors in the first half of 2010 has been very encouraging and we hope to see the increase in tourist numbers reach 20 per cent by the end of the year.
“This is in addition to various promotional activities including hosting delegates from abroad to inform the world about Dubai’s tourism offerings.”
The hospitality sector in Dubai has seen very encouraging returns since the beginning of the year. There has been a steady recovery in the number of hotel/hotel apartments operating in the emirate which increased by seven per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2009. Hotel revenues by the end of the first half of 2010 had reached Dh6,888,477 ($1,875,385), representing a six per cent increase and occupancy rates were sustained at 71.7 per cent, despite the increase in hotel rooms.
“Names like the Burj Khalifa and the Armani Hotel have added to Dubai’s vast array of tourism attractions. Dubai’s high-quality hospitality facilities and robust infrastructure perfectly complement the emirate’s steadily increasing tourist inflow,” said Abdul Rahman.
The authority plans to continue with its efforts in reaching out to markets around the world. “DTCM is studying the feasibility of all regions and depending on the market potential and opportunity, we may open new representative offices, as we did two years ago in China when we opened three marketing offices,” he added.
DTCM will continue to promote and add new tourism-boosting initiatives, such as the ‘Kids Go Free’ promotion which proved to be a highly successful initiative with its underlying objective of ensuring that children have fun throughout their stay in Dubai. The promotion covered everything from theme parks, zoos and adventures, to childcare and school activities, offering free entry and discounts.
“Mice promotions too, continue to be a strong part of the overall DTCM strategy as we look to diversify key source markets. We continue to strengthen our efforts through enhanced marketing tools and through expanded direct sales efforts,” said Abdul Rahman.
The DTCM is currently finalising Mice representation in Shanghai and Beijing in addition to the existing representation in London and New York. “We are also focusing on community-based outreach to work with local professionals to bring specialised congresses to Dubai, a grass-roots effort which has proven successful so far,” he added.
Dubai has been consistently enhancing its facilities and services to boost cruise tourism, the most recent effort launched with the opening of the new cruise terminal. Last year the emirate hosted nearly 100 cruise ships, which brought in around 260,000 tourists. This is expected to increase to 325,000 cruise passengers by the end of this year and as many as 375,000 in 2011.
“We want to promote Dubai as an exclusive tourist destination world over by offering unprecedented services and facilities,” said Abdul Rahman.
A new hotel classification system is set to take effect by the end of the year. The system will see five-star properties being further classified into three categories (platinum, gold and silver) and the classification of hotel apartments will also have a new category. More than 500 hotels and hotel apartments will be covered.
The new system considers several factors to match international standards and DTCM has studied industry trends and hospitality property classification benchmarking in several countries including Australia, Spain, South Africa and the US. Hotels and hotel apartments already operating in Dubai were also studied to develop the new classification. Under the changes, existing hotel criteria could be upgraded to meet new minimum standards including structural elements.
The authority continues its focus on sustainable development across the emirate, especially with the launch of the Dubai Green Tourism Awards which honour environmentally-friendly hotels that have made significant improvements to services and systems through internal and external initiatives such as waste recycling, energy conservation and environmental awareness campaigns.
“Dubai is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world, steadily attracting visitors from across the globe. Dubai’s favorable geographic location, its excellent infrastructure and air connectivity, world-class hospitality facilities and its array of attractions for tourists, make it a top-choice destination for visitors. Dubai’s tourism sector has maintained steady growth over the years due to all these factors and especially due to the strong support and guidance of its visionary leaders,” Abdul Rahman concluded.
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