Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) will focus on three areas to improve the emirate’s competitiveness as a tourism destination, according to Helal Saeed Al Merri, DTCM’s Director General.
“Bringing 20 million of the global outbound visitors to Dubai and increasing the GDP contribution from them by 2020 requires us to remain focused on increasing the competitiveness of Dubai’s tourism sector on three fronts: innovative and effective marketing to raise awareness of our depth of offering; redefining travellers’ expectations with consistent service excellence across all tourism touch points and adoption of cutting edge technologies; and pioneering multi-faceted experiences,” he said.
Under the ‘Tourism Vision for 2020’, Dubai expects to attract 20 million tourists by the end of the decade, almost doubling the published visitor traffic from 2012. In order to achieve this objective, it will look to achieve a sustained 7-9 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) across leisure and business visitors to the emirate.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the 2012 global tourism spend exceeded $1.3 trillion (Dh4.8 trillion), with travel driving 6 per cent of the world’s exports of goods and services. Tourists have an increasingly broadening range of destination options, creating an intensely competitive global tourism marketplace, meaning that destinations have to be more strategic about attracting visitors.
During a meeting with representatives of the hospitality industry on January 30 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Al Merri presented the DTCM’s strategy, putting an emphasis on the strength of the tourism sector as an economic driver for the emirate’s GDP (gross domestic product).
Although the Tourism Vision for 2020 was created independent of Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020, Al Merri said: “Winning the right to host World Expo 2020 only escalates the scale and urgency of what remains to be accomplished.”
With an objective of increasing its current hotel room inventory from 80,000 in 2012 to between 140,000 and 160,000 by 2020, a number of measures have been introduced since the Tourism Vision for 2020 was announced in May 2013 in order to enhance and streamline hotel investment and development in the emirate. These include the announcement of plans to allocate government land for the development of 3 & 4 star hotels; a waiver on the 10 per cent municipality fee which is levied on occupancy per room per night for 3 & 4 star hotels for a period of time after opening; and a reduction of the approval process period for hotel construction to two months.
“Much of the 20 million visitors we are targeting will be from the 25-55 year age segment across our main regional and global source markets,” he said. “In our plans to enhance the destination offering, we have prioritised services and products that are specifically targeted at moving Dubai up in the consideration list for the family segment. Additionally, we need to elevate Dubai’s overall business destination proposition to be able to transition from being a regional leader to a truly global hub for business tourism. This segment is specifically important to us on two counts: firstly business travellers are 20 per cent of our target traffic; and secondly the 24-48 hour travel time that is usual for business tourists is our opportunity to provide a preview of Dubai that will incentivise business tourists to return, for leisure and for longer, with friends and family.”