Natalia Vorobieva, CEO of Natalie Tours, and Khalid Bin Sulayem, Director-General of DTCM. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Khalid Bin Sulayem, Director-General of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) on Tuesday inaugurated the annual congress of Natalie Tours of Russia at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai.

Being organised in Dubai for the sixth consecutive year in cooperation with Alpha Tours, the Congress will run for five days starting on Tuesday.

The inauguration was also attended by Gassan Al Aridi, CEO of Alpha Tours, Natalia Vorobieva, CEO of Natalie Tours, Vladimir Vorobiev, Group Manager.

Bin Sulayem spoke about Dubai's long-standing relations with the Russian market.

He also thanked Natalie Tours for choosing Dubai as the venue for hosting this high profile annual conference for the sixth consecutive year, and also wished for the success of the congress, which would in turn lead to attracting more Russian tourists to Dubai.

Fruitful partnership

Bin Sulayem also commended the cooperation between DTCM and Alpha Tours to organise such conferences and events, affirming that this cooperation is an example of fruitful public - private partnership that benefits Dubai.

DTCM noted that the number of Russian guests in Dubai's hotels in the first half of this year reached 237,986, an increase of 17 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year, when the number was 204,153.

Natalia Vorobieva said that the choice of Dubai as the host city for the congress reaffirms the importance of the emirate as a distinctive tourist destination, which also attracts a high number of Russian tourists, as evidenced by the tourist arrivals in the first half of this year.

She added that Natalie Tours, in cooperation with Alpha Tours, has signed an agreement with flydubai to offer regular flights between Dubai and some of the important Russian cities outside Moscow, such as Yekaterinburg and Samara.

It is expected that the number of tourists from these oil-producing areas to Dubai will grow during the next tourist season.

"Every year we partner to hold the annual congress of Natalie Tours, which is among the first tour operators in Russia. Natalie Tours plays a key role in ensuring the steady annual increase in Russian tourists to Dubai; this year saw a 15 per cent increase in Russian tourists despite the slowdown in the global tourism sector recently," said Al Aridi of Alpha Tours.

Al Aridi also praised the efforts taken by DTCM to promote Dubai and market its tourist attractions across the world. He also noted the cooperation extended to the private sector in order to achieve its objectives of attracting tourists to Dubai.

Direct links

He added that Alpha Tours, as one of the major tour operators in the region, especially in the UAE and Dubai for Natalie Tours Group, was able to tap the availability of direct flights offered by flydubai between Dubai and some Russian cities to significantly increase the number of tourists coming to the emirate from this important market.

Eyad Abdul Rahman, Executive Director Media Relation Division and Business Development; Saleh Al Geziry, Director of Overseas Promotions and Inward Missions; Adnan Al Aridi, General Manager of Alpha Tours; Serge Zaalof, Chief Operating Officer of Atlantis Tours have attended the event.

Natalie Tours and Alpha Tours also had a good presence at the event.