Published on : Thursday, March 23, 2017
Travel And Tour World spoke to Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Tourism at ITB Berlin. He speaks about the immense potential of the Dubai tourism industry and the different strategies to promote the regional tourism sector.
Travel And Tour World: Can you tell us what strategies you are coming up for in 2017?
Issam Kazim: The international visitor arrival mark in Dubai had reached the 10 million mark for the very first time.
And, by May 2015, we had announced our strategy to double the number to reach 20 million visitors by 2020. That, of course, implied that we would be required to expand beyond our six to seven key tourism markets that we are currently focusing on, in terms of attracting tourists. We expanded to reach about 20 markets and are focusing on the next 10 to follow as well, and during this period we have witnessed an average growth of 8% that represents double the industry average at the same period of time.
Our top 10 markets include India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, China and a few more. India has emerged as the number one key source market, Saudi is placed at second position while UK is at the third.
We had 4,60,000 visitors arriving here from China and this figure has jumped up to 5,38,000 in 2016. Therefore, such tourist arrival numbers are helping us achieve the 20 million tourist target. In the near future, we look forward to developing the key infrastructure propositions for the city, particularly on developing the luxury hotel sector of the region.
We also have certain propositions for theme park development.
Our theme parks cover Marvel and popular cartoon characters, focus on movies like Hunger Games, etc. So it is safe to say that a lot of development has been initiated in the last three years, and a lot more exciting things are about to come.
Travel And Tour World: What kind of new areas have come up in the last 12 months or might be coming up in future in Dubai?
Issam Kazim: Of late, we have started highlighting the key propositions of Dubai than the traditional markets.
People are aware about the five star hotels and the beaches in Dubai. But what they have no idea is the depth in Dubai like its inherent art and culture that has seen a rise in terms of what is communicated to a great extent globally. Our aim is to make the cultural aspects more accessible and that includes creating more museums within the area.
And, in terms of the retail sector, we are trying to showcase not only the modern brands but also focusing on the spice and textile markets and the older ‘souks’ of Dubai.
Apart from this, we are also trying to portray the Dubai opera, musicals and theatre to tourists. And, we are also making attempts to conduct music shows of big musical bands. This is one of the key anchors in terms of attracting more tourists to Dubai.
Travel And Tour World: What are the main selling points of Dubai?
Issam Kazim: First of all, Dubai is a family destination.
The fact that Dubai possesses one-third of the world’s population ensures that it boasts of a fantastic connectivity to the rest of the world. Every family member has an excuse to visit Dubai.
We have made sure that we have captured all the needs, wants and aspirations of every family.