The global tourism industry is developing at a breakneck rate. The sector is often regarded as an important contributor to the national and foreign economies. In terms of the tourism industry’s rapid growth, Dubai has emerged as one of the most famous tourist destinations, drawing tourists from all over the world (World Travel & Tourism Council, “The Authority on World Travel & Tourism”).
Due to its alluring growth of tourism and hospitality facilities, Dubai’s tourism sector has drawn considerable attention from foreign clients over the last few decades. Currently, Dubai’s tourism industry is known as one of the most appealing and exclusive destinations and tourist paradises in the country, with a diverse variety of appealing facilities and activities for clients from all over the world.
1.1 Thesis Statement
In the current sense, the tourism industry has been designated as the UAE’s second largest revenue-generating field after oil exports, as well as the country’s most popular employer (Henderson, “Tourism in Dubai: Overcoming Barriers to Destination Development”). With the tourism industry in Dubai continuing to grow at a rapid rate, the study focuses on critically addressing Dubai’s inclusive tourism sector by briefly explaining its historical trajectory as a developing tourist destination for international tourists. Furthermore, the focus will include Dubai’s key attractions as well as well-known events that have led to the city’s growth as one of the world’s top tourist destinations. In addition, the study will identify possible steps taken by the Dubai government to increase the tourism sector’s performance.
Brief History of Dubai Tourism Industry
In contrast to the other emirates in the UAE, Dubai has the most heavily populated population. For multinational advertisers, the area has been listed as one of the major exchange and industry centres. In terms of Dubai’s historical history, oil exports to foreign countries are the primary source of the city’s economic development. However, tourism has been an important contributor to the city’s economy in recent years (Henderson, “Tourism in Dubai: Overcoming Barriers to Destination Development”).
The creation of the Dubai Commerce and Tourism Promotion Board (DCTPB) in 1989 can be called the government’s first step toward modernizing Dubai’s Tourism Department. The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) was renamed the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTPB) in 1997, with the primary aim of fostering tourism in the region. The tourism industry’s steady growth and substantial investments have helped to create Dubai as a successful tourist destination for foreign tourists (Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, “Dubai for Tourism”).
The primary goals of the DTCM boards have been to raise recognition of Dubai as an attractive and enticing tourist destination by continuing to grow the tourism industry, with the aim of growing inward investment into the emirates. Furthermore, the board has been described as having sufficient accountability for conducting Dubai’s tourism sector’s marketing and promotional activities. With this mentality, Dubai’s tourism industry has become stronger and more capable of drawing foreign tourists to its world-class tourism and hospitality facilities (Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, “Dubai for Tourism”).
In terms of existing tourism facilities, Dubai is one of the most special and competitive tourism and industry destinations for a global audience. The tourism industry tends to have a broad selection of appealing tourist attractions, shopping malls, dining, and high-quality hotels to visitors to the region. The timeless tranquility across the deserts to the dynamic bustle of the marketplace has long been witnessed to grab wider attention of the visitors to spend their leisure time in Dubai (Henderson, “Destination Development: Singapore and Dubai Compared”). Few of the major and most attractive places of Dubai that tends to significantly grab the visitors’ attentions have been briefly summarized in the following section.
3.1 Shopping Malls. The shopping malls in Dubai can be considered as a major player to boost the tourism industry of the emirate. In relation to the present day context, the shopping malls around the different locations of Dubai have been identified to obtain a large number of global clients. The dominant shopping malls such as Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, BurJuman and Deira City Centre are few of the major and leading spots that have been able to attract the large overseas client to enjoy the unique experience of shopping (Dubai Shopping Malls Group, “Shop & Be a Millionaire”).
3.2 Downtown Dubai. Previously known as Downtown Burj Dubai, is one of the preferable and mostly visited tourism destinations by the global tourists. The place can be considered as most effective and highly renowned destinations due to some of the world’s biggest landmarks. The presence of Burj Khalifa, the largest and tallest tower of the world along with the world’s biggest shopping mall ‘Dubai Mall’ has been widely accepted to attain the interests of the global visitors (Maryland Alumni Association, “Destination in Dubai”).
3.3 Ski Dubai. The discovery of ultimate indoor snow resort Ski Dubai is one of the most appealing and renowned tourism spot for the global tourists. The wintery setting, skiing and snowboarding facilities in the Ski Dubai can be recognized to attain a large number of global tourists from the different corners of the world (The Play Mania, “The First Indoor Ski Resort in the Middle East”).
3.4 Wild Wadi. Wild Wadi Water Park can further stated as a renowned tourist spot, which is primarily designed for the families to experience and play in the water. In relation to the recent global destination, Wild Wadi has been identified to grab the attention of large number of tourists from different global nations (Henderson, “Tourism in Dubai: Overcoming Barriers to Destination Development”).
3.5 The Palm: Atlantis. Atlantis, the Palm Hotel and Resort is regarded as one of the highly desirable and renowned places of Dubai. The Atlantis has further identified to offer unique experience to the global tourists through its exceptional and unmatched attraction accompanied with appealing hospitality services (Siren Communication, “Atlantis, and The Palm”).
With reference to the aforesaid tourism spots, it can be firmly stated that the tourism industry of Dubai plays a crucial role towards the development of the nation as a whole. Moreover, the extensive numbers of annual visitors from the diversified global locations have also favorably fueled the economic condition of Dubai.
Events have long been considered to play a major role for the countries to strengthen the tourism industry. The primary role of the events can be identified in promoting country’s tourism through the autonomous capability of attracting tourists to a particular destination. Moreover, the events can also be considered as an essential part of tourism in order to attract the global customers.. In relation to the present tourism industry of Dubai, the events play a supportive role for promoting Dubai as a prominent tourism destination (Henderson, “Destination Development: Singapore and Dubai Compared”). Few of the major events and their contribution in Dubai tourism have been demonstrated hereunder.
4.1 Dubai World Cup. Dubai World Cup is a well-known Thoroughbred horse racing tournament, which has also been observed to convey ultimate growth of the global tourist visiting the city.. Moreover, the world cup can also be regarded as an appealing sports event in terms of providing energetic holidays to a large group of global tourists (Dubai Racing Club, “Dubai World Cup”).
4.2 Dubai Shopping Festival. The event such as Dubai Shopping Festival also plays a key role for the tourism industry of Dubai. Accordingly, the event has been identified to convey millions of overseas tourists an appealing message to visit the city. The festival is one of the major elements of entertainment and recreation that has facilitated the Tourism sector of Dubai to satisfy the needs and expectations of the overseas tourists. The event tends to promote the trade of local and international products and services designed for each individual regardless their age, gender and income level among others (Henderson, “Destination Development: Singapore and Dubai Compared”).
Future Tourism Projects
With regard to the aforesaid attractions and events, the tourism industry of Dubai remarkable role for the country to experience extensive growth of economy. Moreover, the tourism attractions and events in Dubai can also be considered a key player in building strong political relation with the overseas countries. Notably, Dubai tourism has also been identified to work on different future projects in order to streamline and maintain its striving growth in the global tourism industry (Baldwin, “Dubai Creek Extension Boosts World Expo 2020 Bid”). In this regard, few of the major future events and attractions of Dubai tourism have briefly discussed as follows.
5.1 Dubai Creek Extension Project. This project can be considered as one of the major initiatives that aim at attaining greater interests and meeting expectation of the global visitors. The project incorporates a large amount of investment around Dh 2 billion and is expected to render dynamic opportunity for the country to host one of the biggest events of the world i.e. World Expo 2020. Therefore, Dubai Creek Extension project can be regarded as a major developmental initiative of the UAE government towards attaining transformational growth in the country’s overall tourism industry (Shahbandari, “Dubai Creek extension project: Canal to pass under new bridge on Shaikh Zayed Road”).
5.2 World Expo 2020. In relation to the rapid pace of globalization, the World Expo has long been considered an initiative towards connecting global communities into a key meeting point which enables each community to share innovation to effectively deal with various global issues and challenges. Moreover, the event generally brings wide range of opportunities to the host countries in terms of gaining economy, political relation along with sustainable development (Expo 2020 Dubai, “World Expos”).
In relation to Dubai, the government of UAE has been striving to accomplish the bid of World Expo 2020. The successful accomplishment of the bid can render adequate opportunity for Dubai to strengthen its economy along with energize political relationship with the overseas countries.
Correspondingly, Dubai Tourism would also get adequate opportunities portray the image of city as an appealing tourism destination. Moreover, the accomplishment of bid associated with World Expo 2020 would also enable Dubai Tourism to improve the quality of its range of tourism related products and services, which can further deliver major economic growth to the country and build sustainable position. Additionally, the opportunity would further contribute towards promoting the tourism in Dubai which would also facilitate in enhancing the lifestyle of people residing in the city. Therefore, the World Expo that is to be held in the year 2020 would facilitate insignificant opportunities for the Dubai Tourism towards increasing its performance in the fiercely competitive global tourism industry (Susic & Dordevic, “The Place and Role of Events in the Tourist Development of the Southwest Serbia Cluster”).
Challenges and Oppositions Associated with Dubai Tourism
Although the tourism industry has been experiencing rapid transformational growth over the last decade, however it has also faced various constraints in achieving its desired objectives. In this context, numerous aspects can be identified that negatively influence on developing and maintaining continuous growth of the tourism destinations and projects in Dubai. Few of the major barriers associated with the development of Dubai Tourism have been briefly stated in the following discussion.
6.1 Macroeconomic Issues. The continuous investment in infrastructure development and increasing spending has been accompanied with significant economic challenges to Dubai over the last few years. In this regard, Dubai had faced a significant constraint of national debt during the period of 2009 to 2011. (Haryopratomo, Kos, Samtani, Subramanian and Verjee, “The Dubai Tourism Cluster from the Desert to the Dream”). Thus, it is essential that the government of Dubai should highly focus on keeping effective balance in its annual investments regarding the expenditure associated with infrastructure projects including high-end hotels, ports and airports and other real estate projects.
6.2 Issues Associated with Social Infrastructure and Political Institutions (SIPI). The adequate openness to foreign investment along with secular policies regarding the issues such as alcohol and other similar aspects has also been identified to impose threat to the national culture. The government should concentrate on fostering national culture in this regard. At the same time, political uncertainties and fear arising from global terrorism has also imposed serious challenge towards the emergence of Dubai as safe and favorable tourism destination (Haryopratomo, Kos, Samtani, Subramanian and Verjee, “The Dubai Tourism Cluster from the Desert to the Dream”).
To conclude, tourism in Dubai is projected to rise at an unprecedented rate in the coming years. From the above discussion, it was ascertained that numerous projects are being initiated in Dubai with the intention to attract considerable number of overseas visitors to visit the city. Furthermore, in the years to come Dubai is not only expected to establish itself as the leading tourist destination of the world but it is also been estimated that the city will emerge as one of the most favorable commercial destinations for the global business person. At the same time, the rapidly booming Dubai has raised certain concern for environmentalist. It is perceived that increasing development of Dubai may invite threats to the livelihood of the people residing in the city. It is perceived that in later years the city may have to face the adverse consequences due to the factors emerging from unfavorable environment repercussion. Thus, it is essential for the authority to ensure adequate balance between the development and environmental aspects.
- Baldwin, Derek. Dubai Creek Extension Boosts World Expo 2020 Bid. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. “World Expos.” Expo 2020 Dubai. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- “Dubai for Tourism.” Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- “Shop & Be a Millionaire.” Dubai Shopping Malls Group. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- “Dubai World Cup.” Dubai Racing Club. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- Haryopratomo, Aldi, Sanja Kos, Lavin Samtani, Sheela Subramanian and Jay Verjee. “The Dubai Tourism Cluster from the Desert to the Dream.”Microeconomics of Competitiveness (2011): 1-32. Print.
- Henderson, Joan C. “Tourism in Dubai: Overcoming Barriers to Destination Development.” International Journal of Tourism Research 8.2 (2006): 87-99. Print.
- Henderson, Joan C. “Destination Development: Singapore and Dubai Compared.” Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 20.3-4 (2007): 33-45. Print.
- “Destination in Dubai.” Maryland Alumni Association. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- Susic, Vukasin & Dejan Dordevic, “The Place and Role of Events in the Tourist Development of the Southwest Serbia Cluster.” Economics and Organization 8.1 (2011): 69-81. Print. “Atlantis, the Palm.” Siren Communication. n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013
- Shahbandari, Shafaat. “Dubai Creek extension project: Canal to pass under new bridge on Shaikh Zayed Road.2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- “The First Indoor Ski Resort in the Middle East.” The Play Mania. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
- “The Authority on World Travel & Tourism.” World Travel & Tourism Council. 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.