With a steady growth in various projects to feature the rich culture and heritage in a modern setting, one of the latest developments in Dubai is the Waterfront Market. Lachlan Gyde, Executive Director—Asset Management, Ithra Dubai, shares more details with TravTalk.
Could you share a brief about the importance of Waterfront Market to tourists?
The attraction plays a central role in bringing together the richness of Emirati traditions and the inventiveness of modern-day convenience under one roof to offer a unique blend of culture and commerce. Markets serve as meeting places for people which bind them into the cultural and social fabric of a community. We wanted to capture these elements whilst giving a refreshing new experience to residents and tourists alike. We want to provide tourists with an authentic Dubai lifestyle to get a slice of that daily experience with vendors. This project is part of the Deira Enrichment Project, which seeks to transform Deira into a “bustling hub of life that will add to the already rich tapestry woven by communities past and present.” Apart from that, the Waterfront Market is designed to promote the concept of fresh food shopping in the region where butchers, vegetable traders, dried goods merchants and fishermen are at the forefront of all exchanges between the consumer and seller. Visitors can find an exotic array of fish, seafood and fresh produce from not just the local community but also from all corners of the globe.
How can the tourism sector benefit from such a market?
Food, culture, shopping and cosmopolitan living are just some of the best ingredients globetrotters are looking for in their search for new experiences. Food, for instance, is becoming part of a global trend in tourism. At the same time, shopping is also an essential element in driving tourism growth in Dubai. The emirate has all the perfect features that make an ideal venue for global foodies given the multicultural communities that have evolved and grown within it over the years. Waterfront Market encapsulates all these factors while ensuring modern amenities and facilities provide the support structure that makes it a more convenient venue for recreation.
How will it benefit the hotels that will be coming up soon?
The unique combination of a retail and cultural destination is highly attractive to tourists. Accessibility to a wide variety of activities which is continuously happening at the Waterfront Market gives hotels an edge to attract tourists seeking for convenience and proximity to local cultures, apart from meeting tourists’ essential needs during their stay. The Waterfront Market’s array of services and retail shops complement hotels’ offerings and can further enhance their business as a choice accommodation for many tourists.
Will you be partnering with the properties for a win-win situation?
The Waterfront Market has been designed for the community and is all about the community. We are continuously working to promote its offerings that could further enhance the services of neighbouring businesses, including hotels within the community and capitalise on our unique advantages as a modern hub for shopping. There are many opportunities which can be explored to complement our services with the hospitality sector and we are keen to tap those avenues. We are positive that partnerships with the hotels sector will benefit tourists seeking for a unique flavour of Dubai’s Deira community.
What does it entail for domestic tourists to frequent the market?
The Waterfront Market is an ideal venue for global food explorers in Dubai. Auctions for fresh fish and meat are also an exciting scene to witness here every day, a lively tradition that has been inherited for generations by local traders. Moreover, the seaside view at the Waterfront promenade offers a relaxing atmosphere for families and tourists alike while they choose from a diverse array of restaurants and cafes. Our food fest campaign for two weekends which featured food trucks and pop-stalls of a range of cuisines have been a huge hit. A cruise restaurant at the iconic dhow or Arabic sailing vessel is also an attraction for many tourists looking for a weekend activity with family and friends.
What is your target for the first year of operation?
Eyeing an average of 35,000 visitors per day, our target outlook for the first year is mainly to attract a strong composition of vendors the cultural and social fabric of a community. We wanted to capture these elements whilst giving a refreshing new experience to residents and tourists alike. We want to provide tourists with an authentic Dubai lifestyle to get a slice of that daily experience with vendors offering unique products and services for visitors. We are now home to more than 500 retailers of fresh, dried and live fish and vendors continue to increase with an average of 4-8 new shops opening monthly. We also aim to establish regular market goers living in Dubai.