More than 2,000 travel industry professionals from around the world will be flown to Dubai as the emirate redoubles efforts in a slowing global economy to attract foreign visitors. The state-backed Emirates Airline is leading the effort in co-ordination with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), hotels and travel industry companies.
The tourism campaign is estimated to cost Dh50 million (US$13.6m). It will include flights, accommodation, meals and tours for travel agents, tour operators and professionals in the events and exhibitions industry from more than 50 countries. They will be flown in for three-day visits throughout March, April and May. "Since the inception of Emirates in 1985, we have invested millions of dollars promoting the destination and creating packages and products," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline.
"We are committed to further extending our global reach to connect ever more travellers to our city." Tourism has been a key industry for Dubai's economic growth during a six-year boom that has recently been slowed by global market conditions. The campaign comes during a slump in local hotel occupancy rates brought on by the global financial crisis. The slowdown has also led to local carriers, including Emirates and Etihad Airways, significantly discounting ticket fares.
"It is critical that we maintain a constant dialogue with international travel agents, tour operators and MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions] agents, to ensure they are aware of the new attractions that may be of interest to their clients," said Mohammed Khamis bin Hareb, the executive director of marketing and operations at the DTCM. "This campaign is a major highlight of our joint efforts with the key players of the tourism industry in the emirate."
The visiting travel industry professionals will be offered incentives, including a 20 per cent rebate when booking leisure activities, shopping and dining at selected locations. Dubai will promote desert safaris, top-notch restaurants and cultural attractions such as the Bastakiya neighbourhood near Dubai Creek. Since December, the DTCM has been encouraging hotels and tour operators to reduce prices to boost tourism as part of its drive to double the number of visitors to the emirate in the next six years.
Hotels in Dubai started feeling the effects of the crisis in November. Since then, room rates have been cut by up to 60 per cent. That has led to a 25.9 per cent drop in revenue per available room in December compared with a year earlier, according to STR Global, a travel research firm based in the US. firstname.lastname@example.org