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Dubai economic initiatives to boost tourism industry

Analysts say time-sharing will help attract new segment of tourists

Gulf News

Dubai: The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing on Sunday said the latest economic initiatives announced by the Dubai government will drive key sectors including tourism.

“These initiatives are vital to increasing the emirate’s competitiveness and accelerating GDP (Gross Domestic Product) through high-impact projects across all key sectors, including tourism,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general of Dubai Tourism.

He told Gulf News via email that the initiatives are “prudent” in their timeliness, “propelling innovation across all sectors and ensuring that we remain focused on collectively driving growth.”

Similarly, analysts said the economic initiatives will help Dubai attract a new segment of tourists, especially through the initiatives on time-sharing. Time-sharing is a form of property ownership — usually for vacation homes — where a unit is owned by multiple buyers who use the property at different times.

“It’s a completely new segment of accommodation. Dubai suffered from the structure of accommodation, which was highly skewed towards hotels … and hotels are expensive, so that made Dubai very prohibitive for a lot of tourists,” said Nicola Kosutic, head of research at Euromonitor International.

Time-sharing is also expected to encourage tourists to stay longer and make frequent visits.

The new initiatives announced by the Dubai government on Saturday include promoting family tourism using the time share system, with a target of increasing family tourists to 150,000 from 70,000 annually.

The government is also aiming to have an additional one million visitors annually by attracting 10 per cent of transit passengers.

Christopher Hewett, director at TRI Consulting, said the initiatives were a great way to drive tourism.

“One of the aims is trying to increase the number of transit visitors. If you look at how many people actually transit through the airport every year, there’s a big amount of captive demand so it makes sense to try to capture that,” he said.

“I think Dubai is in a stronger position to be able to do that now because the market has matured, and we’ve seen more attractions that are more family and mass-tourist orientated, particularly the theme parks, so it’s all positive things that are going to help draw more and more people who traditionally would be transit passengers and convert them into tourist nights and hotel nights.”