x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Expo 2020 bid a ‘rallying cry’ for Dubai's travel and tourism industry

Expo 2020 bid: The show runs from September 28 to 30 at Dubai World Trade Centre and five new countries, including India and the United States, will be participating.

Artist impression of cultural performances in the souks at the proposed site of Expo 2020. Courtesy Dubai Expo 2020
Artist impression of cultural performances in the souks at the proposed site of Expo 2020. Courtesy Dubai Expo 2020

DUBAI // Industry insiders are tipping next month’s hotel show to be hugely positive for the emirate and to help boost the campaign to host Expo 2020.

“It would be fantastic for the industry but this industry existed already,” said Christine Davidson, director of the Hotel Show.

“The vision for 2020 is great, with the goal of 20 million visitors a year, and certainly for the hoteliers in the city and this region, it is something they need to take advantage of.”

Mrs Davidson said this year there was a greater optimism within the industry after a few unsettling years.

“It hasn’t returned to the buoyancy it was a few years ago but there’s a confidence there that wasn’t there before,” she said.

The show runs from September 28 to 30 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Five new countries, including India and the United States, will participate, reflecting this new confidence. The show will incorparte the Vision Conference, at which prominent members of industry from around the world will host sessions.

“This is hugely important,” Mrs Davidson added. “People need to stay up to date.”

Piers Schreiber, vice president of corporate communications at the Jumeirah Group, said Vision 2020, which seeks to draw 20 million tourists a year by 2020, would prove a boom for the tourism, logistics and construction sectors.

He also said it is a prominent factor in the group’s strategy not only at the upcoming show but in its long-term planning.

“Vision 2020 for travel and tourism in Dubai is key to the continuing success of the emirate as a destination of choice for many millions of visitors from every corner of the world,” he said.

Jumeirah has 10 hotels in the UAE – nine in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. “We work very closely with the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing team and with other Government departments to make sure we are fully aligned in supporting the objectives of Vision 2020,” Mr Schreiber said.

“Dubai already has a robust infrastructure, a strong service culture and a world-class portfolio of hotels, resorts, restaurants and shopping destinations. On top of that it offers a very secure environment for visitors and a business-friendly environment for investors.”

Mr Schreiber said Vision 2020 served as a “rallying cry for the travel and tourism industry in Dubai and helps to get all players behind a common purpose”.

“If Dubai is selected as the location for the World Expo in 2020, the impact will be significantly amplified,” he said.

The show will not just benefit Dubai tourism. RAK Hospital will be one of the participants running a session at the show, as it aims to increase awareness of its health tourism programmes.

The hospital, which offers a range of cosmetic surgeries, also has a five-star spa.

Dr Marc Gauer, chief executive of RAK Hospital, said the show would be a perfect platform to combine Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism expansion with the medical tourism the hotel has just launched. Its clients come from countries such as Ethiopia and Ghana for surgeries such as cardiac and neurosurgery.

“These are people who don’t necessarily have access to this expertise or where there are the doctors, there isn’t the infrastructure,” he said.

“RAK is being promoted as a tourism destination so this is a mix of both the medical and tourism forces,” he added.

“You come and stay here and it’s like being in a hotel.”

mswan@thenational.ae