"Dubai Offers Something For Everyone"

Dubai's largest source market for tourists happens to be India. BW Hotelier spoke exclusively with Hamad Bin Mejren of Dubai Tourism about what the potential was for his city to continue being the favourite place for Indian tourists to visit.

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THIS SUMMER may be turning out to be a hot one, but that doesn’t stop one of Indian outbound travellers’ most popular destination Dubai to see a cooldown. In the annual visitor figures released by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) for 2016, India led the source markets contributing to 1.8 million overnight tourists from a total of 14.9 million. This was a 12 percent growth from 2015. BW Hotelier got to speak with Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing about the growing popularity of Dubai among Indian tourists and what the future held.

“First of all, Dubai and India have had a historical relationship which has stretched back for decades. Dubai has evolved into the third most visited city in the world. Of course, along with that, the number of visitors and hotels have been increasing every year. Last year, we had 14.9 million visitors. If we go back to 1990, we had just over 600,000, so you can see the growth over the years,” he began by saying.

India has also grown economically, especially the middle class, Mejren said, adding that an attractive destination like Dubai, which was very close to India is a simple choice to become the favourite tourist destination for Indians.
“We now have fantastic accessibility and a proximity to Dubai which is less than 3 hours at most,” he said.

Dubai Parks and Resorts and IMG has the world's first Bollywood Theme park which will only add to attractions for Indians visiting Dubai, he said.
“We are paying very close attention to the Indian market as a major source market for us. I am very impressed by the number of visitors from India and I expect it to grow, around 12 percent, which is a very pleasant surprise. I expect the number to grow in the future as well,” Merjen said when asked about what the future held.

“We have very focussed campaigns. For example, the largest chunk of visitors from India are families, which makes up around 70 percent of the total. We focus our strategy on family, with offerings like Bollywood Park, IMG World of Adventure, Motionworld and Legoland.

“When Shahrukh Khan asked Indians to be his guests in Dubai, it reached out to everyone there. He has been a fantastic hosts and this will contribute to increasing numbers of affluent visitors,” he added.

“Today we have around 100,000 rooms and one of the largest airports in the world. We also have 500 flights a week between India's major cities and Dubai, all with a very high load factor. We are talking about 1.8 million, which is not a small number,” he said adding that Dubai caters to all kids of visitors, from the affluent to the mid-market and even the budget traveller.

“I see huge potential in the Indian market, I think India with its economic growth and in the middle class with their disposal income and the close relationship with Dubai, will only contribute to the growth in numbers. I have seen rapid growth in recent years and expect similar growth in the coming years. For India there is no limit to what Dubai has to offer. We expect five hundred million outbound passengers from India (total). We just want a small part of that number--which will be huge for us,” Merjen said in conclusion.


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