Dubai Tourism held its first bi-annual ‘City Briefing’ for 2021 at the newly built Dubai Exhibition Centre.
As efforts intensified across the tourism ecosystem to accelerate momentum in this landmark year for Dubai and the UAE, the forum featured a detailed presentation on Expo 2020, the multifaceted mega event which runs from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, as well as insights into domestic and global developments and marketing campaigns worldwide aimed at reinforcing Dubai’s profile as a safe, must-visit destination and the world’s best city to live and work in.
Presided by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, the forum hosted over 1,000 key executives from leading establishments in the hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.
HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, commented, “Dubai has continued to lead global tourism recovery and has constantly set new precedents in how to safely yet effectively open internationally and critically stay open. The emirate’s tourism rebound in the second half of 2020, leading to industry stabilisation in 2021, is also a reflection of the crucial support extended by our stakeholders and partners. As the city prepares to host the region’s first World Expo, as well as play a leading role in the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, we look forward to making significant progress in 2021 and beyond.”
Dubai Tourism data shared with participants shows the success of the city’s reopening strategy. Incremental increase in tourist arrivals month on month from markets that are open delivered 3.7 million international overnight visitors in the July 2020 – May 2021 period.
Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, said, “Emirates is proud to have played its part to help reopen air travel, closely working with DTCM on health and safety measures to safeguard the well-being of visitors. These collective efforts and the safe and gradual restart of our network, which today stands at over 115 destinations, brought in 2 million visitors to the city on Emirates since July 7, 2020 and saw bookings growing over 30% from last year.”
Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Airports, said, “Despite the challenges during a period that was the most turbulent time in the history of international air travel, Dubai Airports retained its position as the world’s busiest international airport for the seventh consecutive year with 25.9 million passengers in 2020. After having welcomed nearly 6 million passengers in Q1 2021, DXB now looks set for a stable second quarter and the outlook for the second half of the year looks positive thanks to the seasonal travel rush and upcoming major international events including the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Dubai Airshow 2021.”
Mark Willis, CEO, India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey for Accor, said, “Undoubtedly, Dubai has been, and remains, one of the strongest markets in which we operate in the region. As a hotelier, it has been very reassuring to see how the recovery plans have been managed and implemented city wide, helping restore confidence in travellers, which has aided the recovery of the tourism sector at a faster rate. Having such clear direction and forward-thinking plans ensured that we, as part of the tourism industry, were able to plan our resources to support the reopening of the city to the best of our ability through global campaigns of our own, which strengthened the global message even further that “Dubai is open”.
Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, Marriott International, said, “Dubai continues to provide a safe-haven destination for its people and for travellers and has adapted quickly to change – both of which have undoubtedly helped the hospitality and travel sector begin its journey to recovery. The reopening of the city to international tourism last July certainly brought great opportunities for the hotel industry. We’ve seen our hotels in this market perform particularly well over the past year.”
David Todd, Head of Operation, MEA, IHG, said, “Dubai has built a strong perception of safe travel internationally with consistent adherence to health and safety guidelines across the travel and tourism sector. We are seeing the return of small to medium events including International conferences. As the excitement and momentum builds towards Dubai Expo 2020, we are expecting an incremental increase in occupancies and stronger recovery in 2022.”