The appeal of Dubai as a leading family destination will be highlighted at World Travel Market 2014 (WTM) taking place this week in London, UK. A delegation of more than 100 partners from the Emirate’s tourism industry and led by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), will showcase the breadth of Dubai’s offering across hotels, attractions and events to demonstrate why commitments from both government and the private sector to continually enhance the tourism experience has led to Dubai being recommended as a must-experience destination.
Issam AbdulRahim Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing said, “Being within the top of The New York Times ‘Top 52 Places to Go’ in 2014 demonstrates Dubai’s global reputation as a leading family destination and other accolades including being rated by TripAdvisor as having the best hotel and shopping in the world support this. Continued enhancements to our destination offering and the partnerships that exist between the government and the private sectors will ensure that Dubai’s reputation as a must experience destination continues to drive visitor growth and cements our position within the top five most visited cities in the world by international visitors.”
The commitment to enhance a destination which already attracts more than 11 million hotel guests per year is demonstrated at WTM by the presence of Dubai Parks and Resorts – a major component of Dubai’s future tourist offer. A major new development scheduled to open in 2016, it includes three theme parks – motiongateTM Dubai, Bollywood ParksTM Dubai, and LEGOLAND® Dubai – which will significantly contribute to attracting increased numbers of tourists from around the world.
Speaking ahead of WTM, Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments plc, operators of LEGOLAND said: “We are delighted to be opening in Dubai and to be working with a partner as innovative and supportive as Dubai Parks & Resorts on this exciting new project. Dubai is the most important tourist centre in the Middle East and we believe that it is the ideal place for LEGOLAND. Not only is the LEGO concept already very popular here, but LEGOLAND’s unique appeal for families with younger children is universal, making it a must-do visit not just for ‘local’ visitors from Dubai and neighbouring Middle Eastern states, but also tourists visiting the region from all over the world. Indeed, we have no doubt that LEGOLAND Dubai will add a whole new dimension to Dubai’s leisure scene.”
With Dubai Parks and Resorts representing the Emirate’s future offering, the breadth of Dubai’s existing tourism offer is being highlighted through a series of experiential attractions on the Dubai Stand:
• A falconry exhibit to represent Dubai’s unique cultural and heritage offerings including those located along the Creek such as the wind towers of Al Fahidi district; Dubai Museum; Dubai Heritage Village; The Gold, Textile and Spice Souks; and the former home of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum.
• An art installation depicting the Dubai skyline and landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and Palm Jumeirah made entirely out of food to represent Dubai’s emergence as a gastronomy destination.
• A daily prize draw for WTM attendees to win a holiday to Dubai during the 20th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival which takes place in January 2015 and which has been a key driver in the development of a year-round calendar of city-wide festivals including Dubai Summer Surprises, Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai, the Dubai Motor Festival and the Dubai Food Festival.
The Emirate’s ever growing hotel offering, which currently stands at around 90,000 rooms, will be represented by a number of partners from all categories ranging from 5-star luxury to 3-star family hotel apartment. Other displays will highlight the Emirate’s packed calendar of events across music, sports, culture and family entertainment which recently contributed to Dubai winning the ‘World Festival and Event City Award’ by The International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA). Upcoming music events include Lily Allen (November 2014), John Legend appearing at Dubai Jazz Festival (February 2015) and One Direction (April 2015); sports events include the Dubai Rugby Sevens (December 2014), Dubai Tennis Championship (February 2015) and the Dubai World Cup horse racing (March 2015); and arts events include the Dubai International Film Festival (December, 2014), Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (March 2014) and Art Dubai (March 2014) among others.
According to the annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, which surveyed 132 cities, Dubai ranked 5th most visited city in the world in 2014 and Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020 sets a target of welcoming more than 20 million visitors per year by the end of the decade.
New Website and App designed to help tourists discover Dubai
In addition to the ongoing development of the Emirate’s tourism offering, the key focus within the last year has been the development of a new digital ecosystem which will also be highlighted at WTM, with Dubai Tourism’s new website and mobile application - designed to enhance the overall travel experience from the early stages of booking right through to visitors’ travel to Dubai – on show. The website offers a significantly enhanced engaging, informative and intuitive experience for visitors as well as rich content designed for multiple audiences, including business and leisure travellers, travel trade professionals and media. The mobile application includes a location enabler which alerts visitors to special deals, offers and attractions in Dubai using new beacon technology.
Family attractions highlighted at WTM include the recently opened Jumeirah Corniche – the 14 kilometres beachside corniche that will facilitate a variety of sports and family-friendly activities; and “At The Top, Burj Khalifa SKY”, the world’s highest observation deck which was opened last month to offer visitors a chance to enjoy extraordinary 360° views of the city.
Well-known attractions such as two of the world’s top waterparks, Aquaventure and Wild Wadi, desert driving and Dubai’s indoor ski slope, Ski Dubai, will also be highlighted, as well as the iPILOT flight simulator; indoor trampoline parks Bounce and Jump Boxx, and Arabian Water Park, the biggest floating inflatable bouncy water park of its kind in the world located at The Beach at JBR, a beachfront promenade, featuring a range of boutiques and restaurants, which opened within the last year.
Taking place annually in London, WTM is recognised as one of the leading global events for the major players of the travel industry, providing opportunities for destinations, hotels, attractions and DMCs to meet with trade professionals and buyers from around the world. Dubai Tourism will be at WTM on stand ME200.