WTM 2015: Dubai on track for record UK visitor numbers

WTM 2015: Dubai on track for record UK visitor numbers

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Dubai is focusing on significant brand marketing, targeted communications with potential customers and increased volume from the Big Two travel companies as it looks to achieve an almost 100% increase in UK visitors in the next five years.

Speaking at World Travel Market, Marc Bennett, senior vice-president of international operations for Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, said the UK market was on-track to return to its record visitor number of just over one million during 2015.

Bennett said every month had seen at least 20% growth, with a sharp uplift recorded in August in particular.

And he said the emirate remained committed to “six zero-plus” investment in the trade including marketing with tour operator partners and improvements to its agent training programme.

Bennett said a target of two million UK visitors a year by 2020 – when the government of Dubai is targeting 20 million international visitors – was “completely achievable”, but said increased consumer awareness would be key.

“If you look at the target in compound growth terms, it is 20% a year which is completely achievable,” he said.

“What we are now doing is investing in increased brand marketing to generate the interest that the trade can fulfil for us.”

In addition to print, radio and digital campaigns, Dubai is also working to segment its database and identify specific customer interests which it is sharing with partners to improve targeted marketing.

Bennett said another target was to engage the Big Two – Thomson and Thomas Cook – which currently carry relatively few passengers to Dubai.

“They are both pursuing a strategy of differentiated and unique product, which is admirable, but it seems crazy to me that Dubai remains a relatively untapped market for them,” he added.

“The winter sun product is there, and the flying is risk-free as it’s based on scheduled flights.”

A particular focus for Dubai is the family market, with a number of theme parks due to open in the coming years and more beach hotels becoming available.


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