Dubai Outlines 2020 Tourism Strategy

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has outlined the 2020 Tourism Vision to more than seventy of the emirate’s leading hospitality and travel industry decision makers, as it looks to further strengthen public-private partnership efforts to fuel visitor growth.

In a release statement for “Tourism Vision for 2020,” Dubai said it 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% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) across leisure and business visitors to the Emirate.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the 2012 global tourism spend exceeded US$1.3 trillion, with travel driving six percent of the world’s exports of goods and services.

During a meeting with representatives of the hospitality industry on Jan. 30 at Dubai World Trade Centre, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, DTCM, presented the strategy, putting an emphasis on the strength of the tourism sector as an economic driver for the Emirate’s GDP. The seven-year strategic roadmap highlights that while Dubai has been successful to date, there is recognition that the industry needs to deliver collectively in order for the city to reach this visitor growth.

The presentation discussed several initiatives being initiated covering regulatory policy, infrastructure development, product offering enhancement and destination marketing investments to position Dubai as the ‘first choice’ for the international leisure and business traveler.

In a prepared statement, Almarri noted, “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 travelers’ expectations with consistent service excellence across all tourism touch points and adoption of cutting edge technologies; and pioneering multi-faceted experiences.”

Although the Tourism Vision for 2020 was created to be independent of whether Dubai won the right to host Expo 2020, Almarri commented: “Winning the right to host World Expo 2020 only escalates the scale and urgency of what remains to be accomplished. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai often says every peak we reach overlooks the next. This is the recipe for success and advancement and as we look to the future, DTCM recognizes that there is no room for waiting.”

Commenting on hosting the meeting, Almarri said: “The success of the Tourism Vision will continue to be reliant on a city-wide commitment and DTCM will expect to host and leverage forums such as this to align and garner support of the industry as a whole. Creating demand for Dubai as a travel destination is an agenda that must be equally backed by our private sector partners and everyone gathered here is a very key part of that equation. The hotel industry in particular has always been and remains intrinsically linked to Dubai’s success as a visitor destination.”

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 and 4 star hotels; a waiver on the 10 percent municipality fee which is levied on occupancy per room per night for 3 and 4 star hotels for a period of time after opening; and a reduction of the approval process period for hotel construction to two months

During the meeting, Almarri also noted that the Tourism 2020 Strategy highlights the importance of both family tourism and business tourism – both of which will likely benefit from new initiatives being prioritized to enhance the destination offering and deliver a world-class experience to these travel segments.

Almarri said further: “Much of the 20 million visitors we are targeting will be from the 25 to 55 year age segment across our main regional and global source markets. In our plans to enhance the destination offering, we have prioritized 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 travelers are 20 percent 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 to Dubai that will incentivize business tourists to return, for leisure and for longer, with friends and family.”

The Tourism Vision for 2020 aims to build for a future beyond 2020 – to continuously revitalize Dubai’s destination proposition; to deliver the next-generation standard in traveler-experience; and to further Tourism’s contribution to the economy of the Emirate.

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