How Dubai Achieved Tourism Success: Insights from Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing

How Dubai Achieved Tourism Success: Insights from Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing

Dubai’s tourism sector is on an impressive upward trajectory, with a notable 11% increase in international overnight visitors in Q1 2024, reaching 5.18 million visitors. This follows a record-breaking 2023, which saw 17.15 million international overnight visitors, cementing Dubai’s status as a global tourism leader.

The city's success is not just reflected in numbers; it is a result of a diversified approach, tailored strategies, and activities across more than 80 markets. These efforts have helped maintain Dubai’s appeal as a top destination, earning it the top spot in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best 2024 awards for the third consecutive year.

Adding to the success, Dubai International Airport (DXB) reported its busiest quarter ever, with 23 million passengers passing through its terminals.

At the recent ATM show, Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, shared insights on the strategies, innovations, and vision driving Dubai’s global success.

Driving Dubai’s Tourism Success

Kazim attributes Dubai’s achievements to visionary leadership and ambitious targets.

"Our strategic plan launched in 2014 aimed to diversify beyond our strong traditional markets,"

he explains. The dynamic environment, influenced by external socioeconomic and geopolitical factors, necessitates a flexible market approach. This adaptability allows Dubai to pivot between markets, ensuring continuous growth.

Transitioning from traditional marketing to a digital-first approach, Dubai has become a leader in this space, leveraging strong relationships with key global players. The ambitious targets of increasing visitor numbers, length of stay, spending, GDP contribution, and repeat visitation have been met with remarkable success.

"We are proud to have a 25% repeat visitation rate within 12 months,"

says Kazim.

Kazim emphasizes that success is driven not just by marketing but also by the quality of service provided by both private and public sectors. From the moment visitors board a flight to Dubai to their entire stay, every touchpoint is designed to ensure a smooth, safe, and enjoyable experience.

The introduction of initiatives showcasing Dubai’s culture, tradition, and affordability, in addition to its luxury offerings, has attracted a diverse range of visitors. Collaborations with key opinion leaders, influencers, and celebrities from Bollywood, Hollywood, Nollywood, and more have further strengthened Dubai’s global appeal.

Exploring New Markets

Kazim confirms that Dubai is continuously exploring new markets and segments within existing markets.

"This customization allows us to tap into various demographics,"

he explains. Efforts have been made to showcase that even three-star or four-star accommodations in Dubai can rival five-star experiences elsewhere, incentivizing investment in these sectors.

Close monitoring of routes opened by flydubai and Emirates helps identify potential growth markets, aligning marketing efforts accordingly.

"Our approach is meticulously planned and analyzed,"

Kazim adds, emphasizing the collaboration between public and private sectors to ensure favorable visa policies and regulations.

Achieving the D33 Economic Agenda Targets

Dubai’s tourism strategy now includes remote working opportunities and new visa types, attracting more people to relocate to Dubai.

"We are the number one destination for relocation and remote working globally,"

Kazim highlights. The introduction of a retirement visa further broadens Dubai’s appeal.

Dubai’s connectivity and visa policies have made it an attractive location for regional and global headquarters. The city's free zones facilitate easy operation for companies, and continuous engagement with the private sector ensures new programs address their needs.

Sustainability Efforts

Sustainability is deeply rooted in Dubai’s cultural ethos.

"Originating from a desert landscape where resources were scarce, we've embraced a mindset of preservation,"

says Kazim. Initiatives include incentivizing hotels to meet stringent sustainability standards and providing tools like carbon calculators to track and reduce environmental footprints.

Stringent regulatory standards for new developments and swift adoption of sustainable practices, such as eliminating single-use plastics in hotels, reflect Dubai’s commitment to sustainability. The recent launch of Dubai Reef under the Dubai Can initiative aims to enhance marine biodiversity and promote eco-tourism.

The Impact of the GCC Unified Visa Initiative

Kazim believes that simplifying visa procedures will enhance Dubai’s appeal to tourists. The introduction of the GCC unified visa allows visitors to explore multiple destinations within the GCC region with a single visa, positioning Dubai as a pivotal hub for diverse experiences.

"This unified visa highlights the interconnectedness of GCC destinations, encouraging repeat visits and extended stays,"

Kazim notes.

Future Prospects for Brand Dubai

Dubai continues to innovate, with new attractions like cycling and hiking tracks, a Real Madrid World theme park, new hotels, and numerous gastronomy offerings. The expanded Michelin Guide highlights Dubai’s culinary excellence, including three Green Star restaurants for sustainability.

Developments in Hatta, the new airport with a capacity of 260 million passengers, and the unified visa initiative are part of Dubai’s efforts to enhance its tourism landscape.

"Dubai is always striving for what's next,"

says Kazim.

Leadership Lessons from Dubai

Kazim praises Dubai’s leadership for combining vision with commitment to execution.

"Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sets ambitious targets and ensures transparent progress monitoring,"

he says. This approach enabled Dubai to quickly rebound from COVID-19, achieving record-breaking growth in 2023 and continuing into 2024.

"Dubai’s leadership is accessible and dedicated to public service, fostering a culture of agility and responsiveness. We are a startup at heart, always striving for what’s next."

News Source: Gulf Business

Maryam Pervez

Written by Maryam Pervez

Maryam is the Managing Editor at HiDubai, bringing 8+ years of expertise in marketing, social media, and content development. She holds a Master's degree in Marketing Comms from Middlesex University.
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