Lofty goal? Dubai set to attract 20 million annually by 2020
Dubai hopes to welcome 20 million visitors annually by the year 2020 (Shutterstock)
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Hamad Mohammed bin Mejren, Executive Director of Business Tourism at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), has underlined that the department is firmly on the right track to implement the objectives of Dubai Vision 2020 for improving the tourism sector.
This is in accordance with the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to increase the number of tourists to Dubai.
Dubai Vision 2020 is designed to multiply the number of tourists from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million by 2020. It also intends to boost the annual share of tourism in Dubai’s economy three-fold to Dh300 billion ($81.7 billion) from Dh100 billion ($27.2 billion).
In a statement on the sidelines of the Gulf Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Expo (GIBTM), held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) from March 24 to 26, he said Dubai had managed to surge ahead and advanced to seventh position globally in terms of international visitors, ninth worldwide and is on top at the regional level in business tourism.
“Dubai hosts more than 50 per cent of the activities of international conferences on the region,” he said, adding that the number of tourists heading to Dubai rose to 11 million last year — a growth of 10 per cent. A part of the plan is to maintain the annual growth rate by not less than nine per cent per annum until 2020 in pursuance of the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Bin Mejren affirmed that there has been strong cooperation between the DTCM and all public and private institutions to prepare the infrastructure required to accommodate the annual growth targeted in Dubai Vision 2020 pertaining to developing the tourism sector.
He revealed that a total of 29,000 new hotel rooms are expected to come up in Dubai this year and the coming two years. This will increase the overall number of hotel rooms from 84,000 to 113,000 by 2016.
Bin Mejren added that the returns generated from the hotel sector in Dubai had risen last year by 16.1 per cent and reached Dh21.84 billion ($5.9 billion).
What gives the tourism sector in Dubai its hallmarks is the aviation and airports advantage. “Dubai is linked to around 145 world airlines, which connect Dubai with direct flight routes to as many as 260 destinations all over the world.”
“That figure will go up on completion of the Al Maktoum International Airport when Dubai will be able to handle 160 million travellers and 12 million tonnes of cargo annually,” he noted.
Bin Mejren said that Dubai will welcome the single largest incentives group in its history next month (from April 6 to 16) comprising over 14,500 delegates from Nu Skin Enterprises Inc of China. The group will be staying in Dubai for 10 days, he added.
He said the number of such delegates would go up over the coming period especially from China, from where the tourism in Dubai has grown by 11%.
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