The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has launched Tourism 2.0, a blockchain-enabled marketplace that connects potential buyers directly to hotels and tour operators.

Essentially, a blockchain is like a record that is accessible to anyone; it is a ledger that registers every single transaction.

In a statement released on Thursday, DTCM said that the initiative was the authority’s contribution to Dubai 10X, and will further the department’s mission to establish Dubai as the leading destination for global travel, business and events by 2020. According to a statement from DTCM, Tourism 2.0 will “bring Dubai another step closer to achieving the Vision 2020 goal”.

As a business to business (B2B) marketplace, the tourism authority says that it will allow hotels and tour operators to connect directly. “By accessing hotel occupancy and room rates, operators can communicate offers and availability more effectively to their customers,” they said.

A blockchain can be used for a number of different things, including hospital records, financial transactions, and government data.

It is not controlled by anyone: There is no central authority such as a government or bank. Instead, everyone who uses it contributes to it in some small way. Supporters say this kind of structure makes it more efficient and fair.

Helal Saeed Al Merri, director general of DTCM, referred to the department’s commitment to adopting emerging technologies such as blockchain to enhance the tourism sector in the emirate.

“By increasing the pace of digital transformation in the travel sector, Dubai is positioned to expand tourism by bringing innovative start-ups into the ecosystem, which will ultimately deliver value in terms of higher and faster visitor conversion, and greater GDP impact,” Al Merri said in a statement.

He added: “As the pioneer in adopting the most secure and transparent virtualisation technology in the tourism sector, we will be able to streamline booking processes and create democracy in travel for all.”

Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020 has set a goal of 20 million visitors per year by the year 2020. In 2017, Dubai registered 15.79 million visitors, an increase of 6.2 per cent over the previous year.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of Dubai Future Foundation’s Board of Trustees, launched the initiative, among a host of other proposals for Dubai 10X, at the sixth World Government Summit in February 2018.

The Dubai 10X initiative seeks to place Dubai government entities 10 years ahead of all global cities, across various sectors. Shaikh Hamdan approved 26 projects under the umbrella of the initiative presented by 24 government departments. A panel of experts evaluated projects shortlisted from a total of more than 160 ideas submitted by 36 entities in less than 365 days.