Dubai: The launch of the current edition of the iconic Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) on December 17 is expected to provide an impetus to Dubai’s domestic tourism sector, which continues to be the mainstay of the city’s tourism economy in the light of the challenges faced by the global travel industry.
The latest edition of DSF will take the lead in increasing demand for domestic tourism supported by many other events that will be held during the ongoing winter season, in line with the newly-launched UAE domestic tourism strategy, unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Year after year, DSF has lived up to its promise of rolling out the most exciting activities for the whole family, bringing together people from diverse cultural backgrounds and nationalities for a grand celebration that is a reflection of the tolerance, multiculturalism and community bonding that have been the hallmarks of Dubai and the UAE.
As Dubai ramps up efforts to woo UAE residents to enjoy the city’s diverse offerings, stakeholders and partners have extended their full cooperation. Hotels and resorts have responded to the improving market conditions by offering a range of incentives to UAE residents, including attractive deals on staycations, F&B discounts for in-house guests, free upgrades and booking flexibility, in parallel with the promotions running across the tourism ecosystem, including the retail, entertainment and events sectors.
The period from May to October 2020 has seen a significant growth in room nights sold to domestic visitors — from 2.74 million in 2019 to 5.68 million in 2020 — marking an astounding increase of 107 per cent year on year. As a percentage of room nights sold, domestic room nights amounted to 77.7 per cent, compared to 18.9 per cent last year, an impressive growth of 58.8 percentage points. During these six months, Dubai’s domestic tourism sector was largely driven by Emiratis (40 per cent), visitors from India (11 per cent), Philippines (7 per cent), Egypt (5 per cent) and the United Kingdom (3 per cent).
Issam Kazim, chief executive officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said: “Inspired by the guidance and various initiatives of our visionary leadership, the domestic tourism sector played a pivotal role in driving the city’s tourism economy in 2020. As we head into 2021, we see that continuing to be the case, even as international visitations maintain a steady growth ever since the city was reopened in July to welcome global travellers. While our tourism sector has consistently delivered great value to international travellers, the pandemic brought to the forefront the huge potential that exists in the domestic tourism sector and the need to provide many more UAE residents the opportunity to enjoy the city’s world-renowned destination proposition and experiences. As one of the first few cities in the world to restart the events sector, Dubai is committed to leveraging its festivals and events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival to enhance the domestic tourism market."
Festivals and events including Dubai Summer Surprises, the Back to School campaign, the Dubai Home Festival and the Dubai Fitness Challenge have all helped boost Dubai’s domestic travel market this year. The 26th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival, which will run until January 30, will be the biggest ever, with live concerts, raffles, events and unbeatable retail experiences, reinforcing the fact that Dubai is open and has regained its vibrancy as a unique destination offering multiple experiences spanning many leisure propositions — from shopping to heritage, family-oriented attractions to entertainment, outdoor adventures to beach activities, from gastronomy to luxury.
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Residents and visitors are able to experience the diversity of Dubai’s unique offerings, with wide-ranging health and safety measures at all points of customer interaction. Dubai Tourism also launched the ‘DUBAI ASSURED’ stamp in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality to certify and recognise hotels and retail establishments, F&B outlets and attractions that have implemented all public health protocols. Dubai’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and safety received a strong endorsement from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which accorded the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.