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Why do 65 per cent of tourists come to Dubai?
Officials expect visitor numbers to exceed 25 million within the next decade.
May 28, 2013 12:21 by Muhammad Aldalou
Kipp hates most surveys with a passion. We admit some are more accurate than others, but none truly represent the reality of any given situation. For instance, do you remember that salary hike you received last year? You know the one the local media was raving about? No, nor do we – yet we’re sure there’s plenty that do, but chances are it wasn’t you, nor anyone you know.
Why the ramble? Well, we refer you to an article published today by local daily The National that explores Dubai’s tourism possibilities if the emirate were to succeed in its Expo 2020 bid. It has also, once again, reaffirmed Kipp’s lack of trust in survey results.
According to Helal Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, the emirate has – in the past five consecutive months – exceeded its own tourism expectations, with the airport’s passenger traffic easily surpassing five million each month. In April alone, passenger traffic rose to a staggering 5.42 million people.
What’s more, Almarri, among other tourism officials, expects that number to soar beyond 25 million in the next decade. Wow. We don’t know what you make of it Kippers, but that’s an overwhelmingly staggering number in our book, and the recently appointed chief knows it too.
In fact, although Almarri expects the world exhibition alone to rake in an extra five million tourists, he said that one of the biggest challenges of his new job is managing this growth. “You don’t want a situation where you push too fast on marketing campaigns and more people want to come here than we have capacity for.”
We can call the numbers staggering all we like, but it still doesn’t change the fact that they are comfortably believable. Are we really surprised that – with all of Dubai’s attractions and potential – 25 million visitors would decide to choose the emirate as their holiday destination?
Should we begin with the world’s tallest building or the world’s largest shopping mall? How about the world’s largest water fountain adjacent to the aforementioned building and mall? If one gets tired with all of that, they can always enjoy a change of weather in Mall of the Emirates’ indoor ski slope or, failing that, get lost in the many shopping streets of Karama and Bur Dubai.
There are, quite literally, thousands of different reasons why a tourist, at any given point in time, would look to Dubai – recently named the second most significant retail destination in the world – for a visit but, apparently, according to the Almarri, a more eminent reason already exists: ‘When surveyed, 65 per cent of visitors say they are coming to the UAE to understand Emirati culture and religion’, reads the article.
You can’t possibly be serious. Are we meant to believe that more than 3.5 million of the 5.42 million visitors in April were merely intrigued by the local heritage? While Kipp is both familiar with and respectful of the Emirati culture, you cannot blame us or judge us too severely for our disbelief. Yes, perhaps it stems from the fact that we’ve never met – nor even coincidentally ran into – anyone who has ever claimed to be visiting Dubai for the sake of the local heritage and culture. Have you?