Thursday 14, April 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai’s presence at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa from 6-8 April, highlighted the continual appeal of Dubai to visitors from Africa, with Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) bolstering its commitment to the continent’s business and leisure travellers.

Presented the ‘Best Stand To Do Business’ award during the event, the Dubai stand treated its guests to a glimpse of the city’s upcoming theme parks alongside 14 partners and stakeholders offering a comprehensive range of services for African travellers, including budget and five-star luxury holidays, hotels, tours and packages. The Dubai stand also featured a blend of heritage and culture and cutting-edge technology: guests had the chance to enjoy henna artists in the traditional Majlis and also experience Dubai 360, an immersive virtual reality tour of the city that allows guests to see some of Dubai’s most breath-taking scenes and attractions without leaving the stand.

Speaking about the importance of WTM Africa, Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Tourism, said: “Africa has always been one of our key target source markets for visitors as part of our diversification strategy, reflected in the more than 750,000 overnight visitors we welcomed to Dubai from the African continent in 2015. Dubai’s range of attractions, experiences and events already hold great appeal for families across all of our source markets, and with four major theme parks opening in the emirate in 2016, this is set to be significantly enhanced. At the same time, African countries have a lot of potential, especially given their youthful and increasingly prosperous populations that seek to travel and explore the world.”

Dubai’s attractions and entertainment offering is set to be boosted further with the opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts, the region’s largest integrated theme park destination, in October 2016. The park comprises motiongate™ Dubai, a unique theme park showcasing some of Hollywood’s most beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Studios and Lionsgate, as well as the region’s first LEGOLAND® Park and LEGOLAND® Water Park. Committed to bringing together the best of the East and West, Dubai Parks and Resorts will also feature Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, the first ever theme park based on the sights and sounds of the Indian film industry.

A further announcement made at WTM Africa 2016 last week was Dubai Tourism’s plan to host 500 African travel trade delegates, including 150 from southern Africa, in June this year to give them the opportunity to experience Dubai. Taking place from 2-7 June, the trip will last four days and five nights, allowing participants to effectively communicate to their customers the one-of-a-kind holiday experience that Dubai offers. Delegates will receive first-hand experience of Dubai’s extensive retail, gastronomic and family offerings, while also visiting the emirate during the summer – a time when southern Africans will likely be looking for an escape from the winter cold and a chance to take advantage of the numerous deals on offer in Dubai during this period.

Last year Dubai welcomed more than 750,000 visitors from the African continent. Nigeria remains Dubai’s top African source market, but the emirate has also maintained a focus on key African markets such as Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Angola and the United Republic of Tanzania through a series of road shows and trade events across the region.