Hala taxi riders will see on-board videos promoting various cultural experiences riders can explore in Dubai, in the first phase of the new 'Soul of Dubai' project Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A new project called ‘Soul of Dubai - Cultural Experiences’ will promote the emirate’s cultural and artistic landmarks among residents and visitors.

The first phase of the project will see smart screens in e-hailing ‘Hala’ taxis play videos featuring various experiences riders can explore in the emirate, ranging across fashion, music, arts, food, heritage, literature and performing arts.

The videos, to be screened throughout the passenger’s journey, will be narrated by creatives and influencers in various disciplines, who have experienced Dubai’s cultural and artistic elements.

On Saturday, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) in collaboration with Hala announced the launch of the project, which comes as part of Dubai Culture’s efforts to activate the citywide ‘#DubaiDestinations’ initiative showcasing the emirate’s destination offerings.

Hala is a joint venture between Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority and Careem. The Soul of Dubai videos in Hala taxis will be presented by Dubai Culture.

Frequent updates

Based on the results of the first phase, the content will be gradually shown across all of Hala’s fleet of vehicles. The content and cultural options listed under the ‘Discover’ section on the smart screens will be regularly updated across the rides.

The selected influencers for each segment will shed more light on locations to visit and explore across the emirate. Within the scope of the collaboration, the authority will update Hala’s social media followers with clues leading to rich cultural hidden gems in Dubai.

The second phase of the project will feature a more personal approach, whereby Hala will allow visitors to plan their own cultural experiences and design their itinerary by choosing the destinations they want to explore and the places they want to visit.

Innovative partnerships

Hala Badri, Director-General, Dubai Culture, said: “At Dubai Culture, we always seek to establish partnerships with public and private entities in Dubai in order to develop innovative projects and services that enhance the economy and quality of life in the emirate, in line with the National Innovation Strategy that aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global innovation hub.”

She added: “These projects also fall within the framework of Dubai Culture’s strategic roadmap 2020-2026, which seeks to enable participation and cement Dubai’s position on the global cultural scene. Soul of Dubai - Cultural Experiences, in cooperation with Hala, is one such project presenting a regional pioneering model in this field.”

Creative content

Badri also said the project will contribute to supporting Dubai’s creative community by giving them the opportunity to create creative content that promotes Dubai’s experiences via its destinations. The project also supports entrepreneurs in these destinations, in line with Dubai Culture’s mission and the objectives of the #DubaiDestinations initiative.

The #DubaiDestinations initiative was recently launched by Dubai Media Council to highlight the emirate’s unique experiences and activities. The collaborative project brings together government entities, industry stakeholders and the creative media community to highlight the experiences, events and activities offered by the emirate. The initiative also invites people to discover Dubai through its many experiences.

Market trends

Soul of Dubai – Cultural Experiences project was developed based on studies about global travel market industry trends. The survey indicated that though 74 per cent of travellers plan to go on holiday this year, they will be choosing their destinations carefully. Additionally, cultural experiences are at the forefront of preferred experiences, at 58 per cent, which is why Dubai is investing in innovative platforms to celebrate its heritage offerings and ensure “cultural experiences are accessible for everyone, everywhere”, said Badri.

“This will inspire UAE citizens and residents, as well as attract the largest number of visitors to the emirate, further promoting its cultural tourism and hospitality sector, while also benefiting the GDP. Job opportunities will also become available for tour guides, creators and influencers in the emirate who are participating in the project.”

‘Unseen hidden gems’

Basil Hovakeemian, CEO of Hala, said: “We’re very proud to be joining forces with Dubai Culture to reinforce and promote the city’s artistic and cultural offering. Not only do we play a central role in connecting our city, but we also aim to contribute to the development of its cultural scene.”

The CEO added: “Our collaboration with Dubai Culture aims to inspire our riders in Dubai to a closer look at the city’s true essence and its unseen hidden gems. We look forward to bringing our customers the many facets of Dubai’s rich cultural offerings through our partnership with Dubai Culture.”