The chang­ing face of tourism

DCTCM’s dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and cus­tomi­sa­tion ef­forts will form a vi­tal com­po­nent in Dubai’s aim of at­tract­ing 25 mil­lion vis­i­tors by 2025


THE GLOBAL FACE OF tourism has evolved over time, buoyed by the democrati­sa­tion of travel and the ris­ing im­por­tance of dif­fer­en­ti­ated ex­pe­ri­ences to in­creas­ingly con­nected con­sumers. Dubai’s des­ti­na­tion of­fer­ing is at the fore­front of a glob­ally trans­form­ing travel in­dus­try, where cater­ing to the mul­ti­fac­eted needs of our di­ver­si­fied au­di­ences has pro­pelled us into the fu­ture of travel.

With tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments, an ever more con­nected world and a con­tin­u­ously grow­ing consumer ap­petite for the best travel ex­pe­ri­ences, Dubai is poised for ground­break­ing de­vel­op­ments through true per­son­al­i­sa­tion and smart tech­nol­ogy that will al­low us to of­fer some­thing new to both first time trav­ellers and re­peat vis­i­tors to our emi­rate.

Dur­ing 2018, Dubai has ex­pe­ri­enced con­sis­tent growth as a des­ti­na­tion, re­tain­ing its rank­ing as the fourth most vis­ited city in the world for the fourth year in a row. Es­tab­lish­ing a blue­print for fur­ther ac­cel­er­ated growth across di­ver­si­fied fo­cal points is Dubai’s Tourism Strat­egy 2022-25 which will en­able us to build on our ‘dig­i­tal, mo­bile and so­cial first’ agenda across five fun­da­men­tal pil­lars: har­ness­ing the power of data; redefin­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney; be­ing the game changer in brand com­mu­ni­ca­tions; rais­ing the stakes in the travel ex­pe­ri­ence; and ex­plor­ing new av­enues for break­through in­no­va­tion. Our strat­egy also pro­motes the adop­tion of dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy and out-of-the-box think­ing across the en­tirety of the travel and tourism sec­tor.

As an or­gan­i­sa­tion op­er­at­ing within a rapidly evolv­ing global in­dus­try, Dubai Tourism rep­re­sents a city gov­erned by lead­er­ship that val­ues in­no­va­tion at its core in line with the vi­sion of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to pro­vide a qual­i­ta­tive boost to the Dubai 10X ini­tia­tive.

As we work to­wards fu­ture-proof­ing Dubai’s tourism-linked econ­omy by de­liv­er­ing the ex­cep­tional ex­pe­ri­ences that to­day’s trav­ellers are seek­ing, we are com­mit­ted to em­pow­er­ing our pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor stake­hold­ers to de­velop strate­gic pro­grammes to adapt to trav­eller needs in an in­creas­ingly dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment. Dubai’s Tourism Strat­egy 2022-25 will guide the in­dus­try in cre­at­ing a highly digi­tised, cus­tomised and democra­tised travel ecosys­tem; one that places tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion at its heart.

So, as we look to shape our strat­egy to be­come the world’s most vis­ited city, we are con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tor­ing key travel trends that are driv­ing the in­dus­try for­ward.

Both the lo­cal and global travel ecosys­tems are see­ing an in­creas­ing shift to­wards bespoke and per­son­alised tourist ex­pe­ri­ences. Dubai,

with its wealth of at­trac­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties of­fer­ing mul­ti­lay­ered lev­els of en­gage­ment and dis­cov­ery, is an ideal des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors want­ing im­mer­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties. As more trav­ellers ac­tively seek to delve deeper into what des­ti­na­tions have to of­fer, we are jour­ney­ing be­yond sim­ple trans­ac­tional au­then­tic­ity to un­veil a wider world of im­mer­sion where peo­ple can un­der­stand the rich cul­ture that un­der­pins Dubai’s growth into a mod­ern me­trop­o­lis.

While land­marks and key tourist at­trac­tions re­main im­por­tant, in­dus­try re­search has shown that the new gen­er­a­tion of vis­i­tors value ex­pe­ri­en­tial au­then­tic­ity, with 60 per­cent of trav­ellers sur­veyed by Book­ rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences more highly than ma­te­rial pos­ses­sions.

Tech­no­log­i­cal diver­si­fi­ca­tion has fun­da­men­tally shifted the way in­for­ma­tion is con­sumed by to­day’s trav­ellers. Tai­lor-made ex­pe­ri­ences now re­quire cus­tomised in­for­ma­tion, with real-time prod­uct up­dates and per­son­al­i­sa­tion tools to cre­ate short-form and in­di­vid­u­alised itin­er­ar­ies. Ini­tia­tives such as the Visit Dubai 2.0 mo­bile app play a cru­cial role in de­liv­er­ing hy­per-rel­e­vant and per­son­alised in­for­ma­tion, help­ing in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors and res­i­dents make the most of their trips.

Now in its sec­ond it­er­a­tion, the ap­pli­ca­tion broad­ens the dis­tri­bu­tion of Dubai’s di­verse in­ven­tory by help­ing users ex­plore a va­ri­ety of pre-de­ter­mined itin­er­ar­ies as well as invit­ing them to cu­rate their own from a wide range of ex­pe­ri­ences avail­able.

Keep­ing abreast of the in­creas­ing de­mand for cul­tural im­mer­sion, Dubai Tourism has also col­lab­o­rated with two dig­i­tal tour apps for free au­dio tours. Ti­tled ‘Metro Mo­ments’ and ‘Al Fahidi Ar­chi­tec­ture Tour’, the au­dio nar­ra­tions are sup­ported by GPS tech­nol­ogy to guide vis­i­tors through Dubai, au­to­mat­i­cally pro­gress­ing from one point of in­ter­est to the next in real time, de­pend­ing on the user’s lo­ca­tion.

Cater­ing to the city’s var­ied au­di­ences is cru­cial and helps us to show­case the va­ri­ety of tourism propo­si­tions across the city, high­light­ing what is new to those who have vis­ited be­fore. Bring­ing to­gether the sup­port of key stake­hold­ers, we are ac­tively en­sur­ing we keep up to date on what our key source mar­kets are look­ing for, and how to en­hance the guest ex­pe­ri­ence across all touch­points.

A prime ex­am­ple of this strat­egy is Dubai Tourism’s ef­forts to ap­peal to a di­verse range of au­di­ences in the Chi­nese mar­ket. Through­out 2018, we saw the in­tro­duc­tion of the

Dubai Tourism China Mark, the launch of the Wechat Mini Pro­gramme, cel­e­bra­tions for Chi­nese New Year across the city and in­dus­try lead­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions with tech­nol­ogy brands such as Huawei, Ten­cent and Fliggy to of­fer Chi­nese vis­i­tors a rich pro­gramme of in­ter­ac­tive con­tent. 2019 will see a con­tin­u­a­tion of these ef­forts, with ex­cit­ing new mar­ket strate­gies in the pipe­line.

With the city set to at­tract 25 mil­lion vis­i­tors by 2025, we an­tic­i­pate the ac­cel­er­a­tion of such tourism-led ini­tia­tives to lever­age new tech­nolo­gies and ex­pe­dite the trans­for­ma­tion of the city into a smart, fu­ture fo­cused des­ti­na­tion that ap­peals to our tar­get au­di­ences.


MICE des­ti­na­tion Dubai is set to be­come the most vis­ited city for global travel, busi­ness and events

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