Travel And Tour World: Tell us about how Global Village become most visited leisure and multicultural entertainment destination in the region.?
Jaki Ellenby: Global Village strives to bring peoples and cultures of the world together in one unique destination redefining how we experience culture. Since day one, we have promoted diversity and inclusion, and this has enabled this homegrown park to offer exceptional cultural, shopping, and entertainment experiences from across the globe. We also renew our diverse offerings each and every season which keeps Global Village fresh and ensures that guests return year after year.
Today, Global Village is the most visited leisure and multicultural entertainment destination in the region and we rank fourth worldwide for average daily footfall. One of the reasons behind our regional and international reputation is the approach we employ to support our travel and trade partners. Entry tickets are exceptional value for money and Global Village also offers the flexibility of creating more complete tailor-made packages for tour groups with options like food vouchers, tickets for attractions and funfair passes. Once partners have a contract with us, the travel trade ticketing portal makes purchase and fulfilment easy.
We also have a dedicated team on the ground to welcome tourist buses and support tour guides at our bespoke tour bus parking area. Then our award winning guest services team make sure our guests, wherever they are from, have everything they need for a wonderful day out. Our ratings of 4.5 on TripAdvisor and 4.6 on Google, are tribute to the quality of this unique destination.
Travel-trade professionals need simplicity, flexibility, assured value for their clients – and that is what we offer.
Travel And Tour World: We all know, Global Village is a heaven for any tourist. How the Global Village become more attractive to the tourists ?
Jaki Ellenby: Over the years, it’s become clear to us that the diversity and uniqueness of our offering are why Global Village intrigues tourists. It’s not one thing that captures people’s curiosity and inspires them to visit, but the sheer variety of experiences that we offer. For example, Global Village is a paradise for souvenir shoppers, with hidden gems from every continent and the best bargains in over 3,500 retail outlets. Foodies love the selection at the region’s biggest street food experience at Global Village with over 200 dining options.
Our entertainment line-up is second to none with 40000 world class shows every season and stunning firework displays every weekend. For the young and young at heart, a trip to Carnaval is a must with more than 160 rides, games and attractions. Global Village also hosts the only Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium in the region. Last but most certainly not least, visitors to the UAE can get an understanding of the UAE culture past and present with a trip to the beautiful Heritage Village or a visit to the UAE pavilion to meet local artisans.
Travel And Tour World: What challenges Global Village has faced following the COVID-19 outbreak?
Jaki Ellenby: As soon as we closed the previous season, the team at Global Village undertook an intense and comprehensive audit on the health and safety measures that needed to be implemented. Working closely with both international and local organisations we set new standards in HSE and redefined what was possible in our industry. By putting our guest front and center, the measures we implemented not only allowed us to safely welcome 4.5 million guests in under 200 days, but also enabled us to significantly improve the guest experience under these “new normal” conditions.
From dramatically accelerated digital transformations including a brand new app and GVPay e-wallet, to innovative social distancing measures, a raft of measures were put in place in record time to ensure our guests comfort and wellbeing. In fact Global Village teams won multiple awards this year including HSE Initiative of the Year, three Stevie innovation awards, the British Safety Council’s Sword of Honour, Best Service Performance of the year and many more.
Travel And Tour World: How does Global Village contribute to local economic progression?
Jaki Ellenby: For more than two decades, Global Village has provided a destination for everyday escapism through our evolving shops and attractions, excellent entertainment programme and delicious food options across the park. As the UAE was seen as a beacon of hope during this difficult time, we wanted Global Village to be the epitome of this hope: culturally inclusive, safe to visit and always delivering the WOW moments our loyal guests have come to expect. From October through to May, Global Village showed itself to be a mainstay of the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, breaking barriers and establishing new standards while showcasing Dubai’s ‘open for business’ message to the world. In addition over 5000 commercial partners and exhibitors operated at Global Village during our Silver Jubilee Season supporting the artisans and SMEs at a critical time. We are proud of our role in supporting the economy during this difficult period as we continue to work with partners across the globe to grow their business and to further Dubai’s positioning as both a tourist and business hub. The robust conclusion of our Silver Jubilee and the exciting events surrounding the upcoming Expo gives us cause for renewed optimism for our coming season.
Travel And Tour World: Do you have any expansion plans in future?
Jaki Ellenby: Global Village is always evolving so that we can offer exciting new experiences to our guests every time they visit. We will open Season 26 in October, and are currently working hard on the great content we have planned for the new season. Beyond that, we have an ambitious development programme over the next 5 years that will transform Global Village and take it to the next level. We want to redefine how people experience culture and by putting our guest at the heart of everything we do, we can ensure that every trip to Global Village will be more special than the last.
Travel And Tour World: Lastly, is there anything you are mainly looking forward to after taking up the new role in the organization?
Jaki Ellenby: Getting stuck in. I am excited to continue to support the important work of secretariat of IAATO alongside my fellow Executive Committee (EC) members. I am also looking forward to working with the new members on the EC, former Finance Committee Chair, Steve Wellmeier, and John McKeon, former Membership Committee Chair. With all new beginnings comes endings, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Chair of the EC, Mark an der Hulst Of Oceanwide Expeditions,who has been an excellent and dedicated Chair. I am looking forward to trying to balance both serving and listening to the needs of our membership and wider stakeholder community with doing what’s right for the future of Antarctic conservation.