The chairman of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said the government will take new steps to mitigate the effects of the global economic downturn on the local tourism industry.
DTCM will partner with the government-supported Emirates Airline to bring 2,000 international reporters and tour operators to Dubai at the end of the month, Khaled Ahmed bin Sulayem said Tuesday on the sidelines of the World of Perishables expo at the Airport Expo Centre in Dubai.
The new plan follows an earlier initiative in which the tourism body asked local hoteliers to cut room rates by 40 to 60 per cent.
Sulayem's presence at the Perishables and International Plants Expo underscored the importance of expositions and conferences to sustaining Dubai's tourism industry. He said DTCM will continue to emphasise a two pronged approach to tourism promotion, appealing to both business and personal travellers. While, Sulayem said that hotel occupancy rates have fluctuated but not changed significantly since the start of 2009, he admitted that the global economy is cause for concern. "You see this is affecting globally, in every country," Sulayem said. "I believe there is no business sector in the world that is not affected."
The extent of the economic downturn in Britain, which provided the largest number of tourists to Dubai, has had a particularly strong impact, according to Sulayem. The British economy contracted 1.5 per cent the last quarter of 2008 and employment is now 6.3 per cent in the country.
The British pound has fallen 30 per cent against the Dirham since last summer, meaning that British tourists who can still afford to travel have less money to spend when they do.
Speaking on behalf of Sulayem, a DTCM official said that Dubai's tourism industry will continue to invest in facilities to accommodate large international conferences. Recently, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler and UAE Minister of Finance, announced a planned million square feet expansion of the exhibition space at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre adjacent to the Dubai World Trade Centre.