Dubai’s tourism has magnetic appeal - GulfToday

Dubai’s tourism has magnetic appeal

Dubai-Tourism

A view of a crowded market place in Dubai.

Whatever Dubai does, it does so with a touch of class. Its fondness for the Number 1 slot makes Dubai the world’s most inspiring and sought-after destination. Strategic tourism initiatives and endless attractions have placed the Emirate among the top ranks.

The fact that over 15 milllion travellers passed through points of entry and exit in Dubai in the first quarter of 2019 underlines the city’s sustained appeal to its traditional strongholds and a wider diversified global audience.

As per Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affair (GDRFA) Dubai, 13,598,749 passengers travelled by air, 1,371,251 on land and 380,000 by sea.

Constant upgradation of facilities seems to work wonders. Some 1,940,660 passengers used 122 smart gates in Dubai airports.

The Q1 results undoubtedly indicate the continuing growth in passenger traffic and improvement in the delivery of world-class services.

The Emirate had been ranked the world’s fourth most visited city for the fourth year in a row by the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2018 and topped the list of global cities with the highest international overnight visitor spend for the third year in a row.

Sustained investment in infrastructure holds the key. In the next half a decade, Dubai is set to complete the construction of a series of mega projects that will features some of the world’s most spectacular tourist attractions.

Bluewaters Island, a new tourism project adjacent to Dubai Marina, will be home to a number of residential and commercial projects such as penthouses, shopping malls and beach clubs. The centerpiece of Bluewaters Island is Ain Dubai, the largest Ferris wheel in the world.

Another major coastal tourist attraction being built in Dubai is Marsa Arab that encompasses two man-made islands. The development will add 2.2km of beach frontage to Dubai’s coastline, with one of the islands dedicated to entertainment and family tourism.

Dubai is also building the Deira Islands Night Souk, billed as the largest night market in the world. The venue forms part of the Dhs6.1 billion Deira Island, a 15.3 square kilometre waterfront city that features four islands.

A new project, Dubai Creek Harbour, will be home to the city’s tallest building, the $1 billion Santiago Calatrava-designed Dubai Tower.

On another front, Expo 2020 Dubai expects to attract 25 million visits to explore its theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” in the six-month event starting October 2020.

More than 70 per cent of visitors are projected to come from outside the UAE — the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos.

Dubai’s government has already spent over $40 billion on major infrastructure projects related to the Expo, including a new $2.9-billion metro line and an expansion to a new airport near the Expo site.

The beauty of it all is the diversity of visitors to Dubai. Last year, Western Europe emerged as the largest contributor of overnight visitor volumes for 2018, commanding a 21 per cent share, to maintain its pole position from 2017. This was closely followed by the GCC and South Asia, contributing 18 and 17 per cent of all international visitation to the city.

With a series of regulatory, infrastructure, technological and marketing initiatives to boost tourism, Dubai is certainly well on its way to becoming the world’s most popular destination.