‘India remains the top source market for us’

Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Dubai, says the city’s ability to evolve and adapt along with its diversified multi-geographic approach have been the key factors in its relevance and competitiveness as a global destination

One of the top preferred international destinations not only for the Indians but also for the global travellers, Dubai attracts tourists with interesting tales and rich and diverse culture. It was among one of the first cities globally to reopen for tourism and business events. Now, with Expo Dubai 2020 and the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, it aims to drive the tourism industry forward.

Ain Dubai

Excerpts from an interview:

With the ease in travel restrictions, how prepared is Dubai to meet the surging demand for quality holidays from the global market?

We are looking forward to welcoming travellers, especially from India, back to Dubai. India is a key market for us both in repeat travel and first-time visitors and with Expo 2020 Dubai underway, it is an exciting time to experience the city. Dubai and the UAE are fortunate to have very decisive leadership in tackling the pandemic with the health and safety of people being made the number one priority right from the beginning of the pandemic. The vaccination strategy has been a key component in positioning Dubai as a safe destination; the UAE has one of the world’s highest per capita vaccination rates, with close to 89 per cent residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 78 per cent having received both doses to date.

Fireworks at The Pointe

Dubai was one of the first destinations to receive the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council, and was also ranked one of the safest cities in the world to travel to in 2021 according to a policy brief titled Safety and Security Competitiveness in Dubai: Why Dubai is ranked as one of the Safest Cities in the World released by the Dubai Competitiveness Office. As a result, we launched our own Dubai Assured programme to ensure every traveller’s safety. 

How important is India as a market for Dubai? 

India has always been very close to our heart and remains the top source market for us. We recently celebrated India’s 75th Independence Day by lighting up the Burj Khalifa in the Tricolour and have welcomed around four lakh visitors from India between January and May 2021 and look forward to welcoming more over the coming months. A recent initiative that we developed, given that many people are still working from home, is our Virtual Working programme that allows people to work from Dubai. We have received over 3,000 applications now and are witnessing a huge interest from travellers for this programme. Taking advantage of the quality of life here as well as the safety and security offered, people are choosing Dubai as a permanent base to live and work remotely from. In addition, Dubai launched several other initiatives to support tourism growth including new visa categories and programmes such as the Golden Visa, Property Investor Visa, Entrepreneur Visa and the Retire in Dubai programme, all developed by Dubai Tourism and key government partners.

Bollywood Park where visitors experience different environments inspired by Bollywood blockbusters

Apart from Dubai Presents, what other initiatives have been put in place to position the city as the most visited and recommended travel destination?

Dubai Presents invites global travellers, experience seekers, storytellers and artistic creators to put themselves in the picture, write their own script and appear in their very own cinematic adventure, with Dubai’s breathtaking locations providing the perfect backdrop. The 360-degree campaign will see more than 2,000 assets released in 27 countries across 16 languages via cinema, print, broadcast, out of home, digital and social media channels. Understanding that travelling amidst a pandemic is a concern for many, we felt it is essential to inform travellers of the various guidelines and measures undertaken by Dubai. Last year, we deployed a three-phase approach to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, with each phase accompanied by a marketing campaign to help sustain the city’s global appeal. We launched global digital campaigns titled #TillWeMeetAgain, #ReadyWhenYouAre and #LiveYourStory to establish Dubai as a top-of-the-mind destination. Dubai’s ability to evolve and adapt combined with its diversified multi-geographic approach to markets have been the key factors in ensuring that the city retained its relevance and competitiveness as a global destination.

Infinity des Lumières

Shed light on upcoming tourist attractions in Dubai.

The new attractions include Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest observation wheel that opened October 21, 2021 and is located on Bluewaters Island. It will offer 360-degree views of the Dubai skyline, the recently launched Deep Dive Dubai a must-visit for thrill seekers for a unique diving experience, through to the Time Out Market located in Dubai’s Souk Al Bahar which opened in early 2021 and features 17 homegrown F&B concepts. 

Deep Dive, the world’s deepest pool for aqua enthusiasts

How diverse are the culinary offerings in Dubai and what makes it an attractive hub for Indian chefs?

Home to over 200 nationalities and a multitude of unique restaurants, food events and creators, Dubai is at the forefront of diverse gastronomy experiences from pocket-friendly to Michelin dining. We have some great examples of top-rated Indian chefs and even Michelin starred chefs operating in Dubai such Vikas Khanna, Vineet Bhatia and Himanshu Saini. Their culinary experience is loved not only by the locals of Dubai but visitors from all over the world. We also have the annual Dubai Food Festival (DFF) which is a great platform for chefs, homegrown and international concepts to showcase their gastronomic offering to thousands of residents and visitors from across the region, from full menu of events, masterclasses and restaurant experiences.

Deep Dive

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'F&B SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 5'


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