Dubai Tourism says it’s looking to double the number of Australians visiting Dubai within four years. It’s a tall order. But in a place that literally grows upwards day-by-day, it’s entirely plausible.
In an exclusive Q&A with Traveltalk, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTM) Australia Director Julie King explains why Aussies have so much to look forward when visiting the emirate, and the “extremely important” role of travel agents in growing visitation from down under.
How is the Australian market going?
We have experienced strong growth over the last 5 years for Dubai from the Australian market. 2015 was a flat year in general with the decline of the Australian dollar, however we were able to sustain our year on year business levels through our very aggressive sales and PR strategy with a high consumer visibility through TV content and partnerships, in addition to aggressive trade campaigns.
Our PR and Marketing campaigns saw us bring shows such as Sunrise, Today Show weather, Real Housewives of Melbourne and The Living Room amongst others to the destination to create exciting content for key audiences.
How important are Aussie visitors to Dubai Tourism's goals?
The Australian market is a key source market for Dubai and we are looking to double our figures out of the Australian market by 2020. With the number of Australians travelling each year to UK and Europe increasing, we aim to capitalise on this securing a higher percentage of visitors to stop-over in Dubai as well as experiencing it as a destination.
With the infrastructure development and launch of many new attractions, experiences and types of accommodation, Dubai will continue to inspire visitors to visit, stay longer and return for more.
Why should those Aussies who haven't visited Dubai before do so right now?
2016 is an exciting year for Dubai with an abundance of new and exciting attractions launching in Q3 and Q4 this year. August 31st, sees the opening of Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai near Burj Khalifa, bringing more variety of arts and culture to Dubai with Placido Domingo’s secured as the opening night performance.
In addition to this, Dubai’s offering as a family destination will significantly increase this year with the opening of four major theme parks. IMG Worlds of Adventures will be the first to open on 15 August 2016 and is set to be the world’s biggest indoor theme park, featuring Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs’ attractions for all ages.
Dubai Parks and Resorts (Bollywood, Motiongate and Legoland), is the second project comprising three huge theme parks on one site and opens in October. With these parks and many more attractions, Dubai is now a year-round destination and no longer just a stopover destination. There is so much to see and do, that you can spend a week with your family and still run out of time!
We are seeing a growing trend of food enthusiasts being inspired by the diversity of Dubai’s culinary offering with over 5400 restaurants in the Emirate as a result of Dubai being home to over 200 nationalities. World renowned chefs are flocking to open new restaurants in the city. In February this year we also brought 5 of Australia’s top Chefs to Dubai to further strengthen our gastronomy proposition to this market during the Dubai Food Festival.
How affordable is Dubai as a holiday spot?
Dubai has a range of 2 – 5 star hotels and apartments with new mid-range properties opening up each year, including the recently opened Rove Downtown. Part of the Address properties, this affordable new 420-room property is ideal for value conscious travellers. As well as a range of accommodation options, Dubai has a number of attractions, eateries and transport systems that makes it affordable to all markets - whether it be couples, families, singles or business travellers.
Transport is Dubai is not only easy to get around, but it is also cheap. Taxis start from $4 and the average journey across the city is only about 25AED ($8). The metro also operates from the airport through to the other end of the city, stopping at all major shopping malls. In addition, you have a number of attractions that are affordable for families, including catching an abra across the creek (40c), visiting Dubai Museum ($1), watching the free daily fountain shows or viewing the art galleries and studios in Bastakiya.
How important are agents and the trade to current and future visitation?
Extremely important - they are our influencer to the customer. We have a very active team on the ground in the market and we invest a lot of time training and educating travel agents and trade partners on Dubai so that they are confident and have the knowledge to sell the destination.
Over 70% of our resources focuses on trade and through our partnership with AFTA we also have a number of resources available for download on our destination page on the AFTA website, plus we take 300 agents each year to Dubai on our annual megafam. This first-hand experience is hugely important for agents selling the destination and something we will continue to build in to our strategy.