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‘We will challenge and eliminate misconceptions about Dubai’

Dubai as a tourism destination

When Dubai Tourism recently appointed LimeLight PR to take over the marketing and promotion of Dubai's image as a tourism destination in the UK, Kipp was curious to speak to a company spokesperson to find out what they intend to change this time around.

January 23, 2013 5:45 by



The UK is the third largest source market in the world for visits to Dubai. Understandably, you may not want to disclose exact details but how did you win over the Tourism authority?

Limelight answered the PR brief with a targeted and creative pitch, demonstrating their knowledge and insight of Dubai as a destination along with an understanding of its challenges and opportunities. They presented a comprehensive strategy combing media relations, visiting journalists and Landmark PR Activities focusing on Dubai’s USPs and altering the identified misconceptions about the destination.

What do you think are the most common misconceptions of Dubai?

In 2011 we conducted our own consumer and trade focused research. The research revealed that unfair misconceptions about Dubai exist amongst both consumers and the trade alike. We have identified key misconceptions relating to suitability for families, affordability, lack of culture, ongoing development work and restrictiveness (visitors arrive in Dubai expecting that they cannot drink, cannot wear a bikini, cannot hold hands with their loved one etc).

What are the three main aspects that attract Brits to Dubai?

Dubai is a mid-haul destination, just a six and a half hour flight from the UK with a vast selection of affordable and luxury hotels and self-catering accommodation for all tastes and budgets.

Year-round sunshine

The tax-free shopping and abundance of both outdoor and indoor activities for both adults and children; world class theme and water parks, desert excursions and world class beaches. The City also has a calendar of world famous International events from sports races and tournaments to shopping and food festivals and International Music concerts to rival any other international cities offering.

Ian Scott,UK & Ireland director, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, said of the appointment: “I am delighted to have Limelight on board to help us achieve our business goals and PR objectives.” What would you say their PR objectives are? 

To challenge and eliminate the misconceptions identified amongst consumers and trade who have never visited the destination and thus grow visitor figures to the destination from the UK and Ireland.

Obviously one of the perceived notions about the emirate is that it can be restrictive as well as not the most family-friendly of cities. Whether or not that’s true isn’t up to us to decide but as a PR agency, how do you plan to handle that notion?

By undertaking a number of key PR initiatives to dispel such misconceptions. The agency will highlight the family friendly accommodation and restaurants with dedicated children’s menus and events; the fantastic array of child friendly activities and facilities from water parks and theme parks to museums and desert adventures; to family friendly events and shows.  They will showcase Dubai’s vibrant and cosmopolitan nightlife, award-winning restaurants and bar and café culture whilst also illustrating the similarities between East and West regarding lifestyle, dress, beliefs, culture and attitudes.

There are many UK residents that have either been to Dubai or have heard enough about it but just hypothetically, how would you sell Dubai to a UK resident who has never been and knows little to nothing?

Dubai has all that the Emirate has to offer: year-round sunshine, golden sandy beaches and arid deserts full of adventure. Dubai has a reputation as one of the world’s leading destinations and boasts an array of indoor and outdoor activities for both adults and children alike.

Local culture, world class shopping, a selection of hotels and self-catering accommodation ranging from affordable to some of the most luxurious in the world, award winning restaurants and vibrant nightlife and a calendar of world famous International events. What more could you want from a holiday destination?

Finally, is there any part of your PR campaign that is meant to attract people to come and live here, or is it purely focused on the tourism aspect?

The main role is to attract new UK and Irish visitors to the city, who will then become repeat guests, however we also have a commerce brief to increase the number of UK businesses setting up offices in Dubai.



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