WTM 2016: Dubai Tourism chief confident of growth from UK despite headwinds

The head of Dubai Tourism is confident of growth from the UK market‎ in 2016 despite the challenges posed by currency and consumer sentiment following the EU referendum.

Dubai welcomed more than a million visitors from the UK in 2015, and Issam Kazim, chief executive of ‎Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said figures from the first nine months of the year pointed to another increase.

Speaking at World Travel Market, he said: ‎”Last year was our best year from the UK market when we broke one million visitors, but in the period from January to September this year we have seen 4% growth.

“I was anticipating a certain amount of negativity around Brexit and currency, but I haven’t experienced it and so it is our job and target to ensure that growth continues to the end of the year.”

Dubai Tourism has been set a target of 20 million international visitors per year by 2020, double the number who visited in 2012. The UK is the destination’s third largest source market behind Saudi Arabia and India.

Kazim said he was confident of achieving the 2020 target with the opening of new attractions including the Dubai Parks & Resorts development and IMG Worlds of Adventure appealing to a wider consumer base in a broader range of target markets.

He said: “The luxury market has served us well and we need to ensure we are still there, but we now have product and accommodation to target ‎other customer brackets such as families – which for us can range from newly-weds to those with children and empty nesters.”

‎Kazim said there would also be a focus on celebrity endorsements and social media, with the trade having access to marketing material and product to close sales inspired by any celebrity visits or media coverage.

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