Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
In 2012 Dubai saw 763,000 Indians staying in its hotel and hotel apartments. There was a growth rate of over 10 per cent over the corresponding year of 2011. In 2013 the first half was extremely encouraging, mentioned Carl Vaz, director, India Representative Office, Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai. “We had over 460,000 odd Indians staying at hotels and hotel apartments in Dubai. These are excluding the VFR and transit visitors. There was a growth rate of almost 15.8 per cent. This is almost 16 per cent over the corresponding first half of 2012. So 2013 is already on a good growth track. We expect the momentum to continue in the leg end of 2013,” he added. The rupee devaluation in fact has not had an impact on the Dubai market as a lot of long haul travellers have converted into short haul. “The depreciation of the rupee versus the dollar was for a very short time, and we as a short haul destination were not affected,” remarked Vaz.
The continued growth, according to Vaz, is on account of several factors – Dubai enjoys a close relationship with India. Indians play a vital role, not only in Dubai’s economy but in the tourism segment, being the second largest market. “Over and above that we have good airline connectivity and good promotions, for example, the recently concluded Summer is Dubai campaign that had promotions for the family where with two adults two kids below the age of 13 could stay and dine free,” pointed out Vaz. Then there was the Ramadan Dubai campaign, the Back to School promotions. “Because of the frequency of these events we had a very good turnout. Going forward, in Q4 this year we are tapping the wedding segment, and we are also aggressively looking at the MBA programme (site visits for students, etc),” he stated.
The three-city roadshow this year saw several new tour operators and destination management companies. The Oberoi Hotel in Dubai, came for the first time.