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Slim Pickings: Is UAE a culture vulture destination?
…probably not. Maybe a move away from consumerism and into a cultural tourism vibe is the way to go. Kipp thinks it stands to benefit a lot if it did.
June 22, 2011 1:39 by Eva Fernandes
If you have spotted a menacing blue-lipped toothy smile on an inflated yellow sun-like-jack-in-the-box you know what time it is. “Big fun for little ones” as Kipp imagines DSS’s glow worm mascot Modesh will tell you with annoyingly Barney-esque chuckle.
Yet, as Kipp has reported before, the ‘big’ fun is getting a bit shorter. The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), for the first time since its inception, will be significantly shortened from 64 days to 40 days.
Reason for the cut back? To avoid coinciding with the Holy Month of Ramadan which is generally accompanied by a more sombre mood in the UAE—a time when festivities would in poor taste (Oops, Kipp couldn’t help the pun since eating or drinking in public are not allowed during this time either).
Of course there is no doubt that retailers will lose out on from the reduced time-span, because even though there has been a 2 percent decline in the number of Brit tourists, overall tourism in Dubai has been looking pretty good these past couple of months. And when you’ve had years like 2009 and 2010, you better believe it Kipp’s going to depart from our usual snide selves, and commend the surge in tourism.
Indian tourists in Dubai, are definitely up: as the National will very well tell you. Figures from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing show that “from January to March, 186,478 Indian tourists stayed in Dubai’s hotels, a 10 per cent increase on the same time last year, when 169,084 Indians stayed in hotels in the emirate.”
The message was the same when Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee spoke at a press conference earlier this week. He told reporters: “I can really say the core business of Dubai is in very good shape. All the economic indicators are good. The sectors of trade, tourism, air transport, services, all have seen growth in 2009, 2010 and the first half of this year.”
But with UAE tourist’s definitely on the rise is it time for the UAE tourism department to take a leaf out of the UK travel agency Earth Cultures’ book and begin to develop its appeal as a cultural destination?
Truth be told, apart from the odd mosque, bastikiya and heritage village, there is very little that is accessible to a tourist seeking to soak up some old Khaleeji culture. There is nothing the UAE loves more than reminiscing and cherishing its sleepy fishing town and pearl diving past-a quick observation of the decor of various metro stations will reveal that- so why not make that side of Dubai available for tourists to fall in love with too?