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Dubai Tourism is to adopt a tougher approach to tour operator partnerships in 2016, which could lead to it working with fewer suppliers in a bid to maximise visitor numbers to the destination.
Despite a “significant” increase in the board’s annual budget, UK and Ireland director Ian Scott said the days of “expecting us to write a cheque and not be bothered about seeing the results” were long gone.
The strategy is likely to result in the board working with fewer operators. It currently works with 15-20 operators, or “quadruple that” on a more general basis.
Suppliers will be asked to present plans for 2016 at this year’s World Travel Market, detailing campaign expectations in terms of return on investment, and data to back up the success of previous campaigns.
Speaking as the tourism office launched a global marketing campaign, Scott said: “In the past, we would happily have done a campaign that added hundreds of passengers to support a particular operator.
"At this point, we are looking at campaigns and opportunities that will properly drive volume, and by that I mean thousands to millions. By 2020, We need to get close to two million [UK and Ireland visitors]. Operators need to come to WTM prepared with booking profiles and statistics.”
And he warned: “Unless you give us that information, it will be more difficult for us to support you.”
Dubai attracted 845,000 UK visitors in 2014, up 11% on 2013, and 51,000 Irish visitors.
Dubai Tourism will track the performance of its trade partners, but will not require them to pitch for funding.
Scott admitted this could mean some suppliers losing out but said the board would continue to work with smaller operators in a more indirect way, such as via its partnerships with hotel groups.
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