This month Dubai welcomed over 50 delegates from across the GCC in two familiarization trips including travel and tourism industry VIPs and representatives. With the GCC contributing 24% of all visitors to Dubai from January – November 2016, it continues to be a key focus for the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). The VIP and industry familiarization trips highlight the significance of GCC outbound travel to Dubai, and form part of the ongoing efforts of Dubai Tourism to promote the emirate’s tourism offering to each of the markets in the GCC.

Hoor Al Khaja, Manager, China, International Operations at Dubai Tourism, added: “The GCC remains a key priority for us as a top source market for visitors to Dubai. We are also enhancing Dubai’s tourism offering further with new attractions like IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Parks & Resorts which offer new and exciting experiences for visitors, not only increasing Dubai’s appeal as a destination of choice but encouraging even longer stays in the emirate. We were delighted to host our GCC travel industry partners and VIPs to offer them exciting experiences such as the newly opened theme parks and continually expanding retail scene. Working with our industry partners, we carefully designed a programme to not only enhance their knowledge of Dubai’s offerings but to also have them experience the emirate’s hospitality and attractions first-hand.”

From 12-14 January, Dubai Tourism hosted owners, CEOs and Managing Directors of the top travel and trade agencies from across the GCC. The VIPs represented leading regional travel companies including Al Muftah Travel, Marmul Travel, Yrbooking and Orange Travel.

The trip gave the VIP guests and their families the chance to be amongst the first to experience the newly launched Dubai Parks and Resorts in its full capacity, as well as the opportunity to stay at the Marriott’s brand new Polynesian Lapita resort right in the heart of the parks. Dubai Tourism also held a private dinner for the city’s stakeholders to network with the 15 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. Other key industry partners included Emirates Airlines, Alpha Destination Management and GTA.

In 2016, Dubai Tourism also partnered with GTA to commission an incentive programme for G-Shop members to sell Dubai packages during Q3 2016. The top 100 sales incentive winners from across the GCC were then invited to experience all that Dubai has to offer from 16-19 January. The familiarization trip allowed the top selling delegates, from over 39 travel companies, to enjoy the Emirate’s latest attractions in preparation for the 2017 incentive plan. Just a few of the itinerary highlights include Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Hub Zero, Green Planet and The Dubai Mall. Dubai Tourism also hosted a conference to share a destination update alongside key partners such as Dubai Parks and Resorts, GTA and Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi, CEO of DXB Entertainments PJSC, the owner of Dubai Parks and Resorts said: “We launched Dubai Parks and Resorts knowing that it will have a huge impact on family tourism in the region. Our ongoing collaboration with Dubai Tourism and being part of the GCC FAM trip’ itinerary is a great platform to introduce the region’s largest integrated theme park destination to our target audience and business partners in the GCC – one of our key source markets.”

FAM trips such as these are designed to strengthen ties with key markets such as the GCC, and to ensure that Dubai’s constantly evolving destination offer is well communicated to attract both new travellers as well as repeat visitors, as the emirate drives towards the Tourism Vision for 2020.