Dubai taps new segments to achieve pre-pandemic Indian tourist arrival levels

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is looking to promote the destination beyond its current popularity as a family and shopping getaway in the Indian market.

Some of the new segments that the tourism board is looking to focus on in the upcoming months include luxury, golf, adventure, culture and wedding. DET is expecting to achieve its 2019 tourist arrivals from India this year after the pandemic-infused slowdown.

Dubai’s DET hopes to promote the country’s culture to Indian travellers with places such as the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding (Photo: SMCCU)

Speaking to TTG Asia on the side lines of the New Delhi leg of a three-city roadshow in India, Bader Ali Habib, head of region – South Asia, international operations, DET, said: “We have already championed the Indian family segment which we know will continue to visit Dubai. Our focus now is to promote new experiences and tap new segments. We are going to focus on the luxury travel segment in India, exposing them to bespoke experiences that we offer, be it for gastronomy, wellness or nightlife. We have 12 golf courses in Dubai and we want to promote Dubai as a golfing destination in India as well.”

Bader shared that while exploring Dubai’s culture has not been top of the mind for Indian travellers in the past, such preferences are changing.

“We are seeing many Indians spending time in Old Dubai now. We want to open the eyes of Indian travellers to the unique culture of Dubai by promoting places like the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU).”

DET is presently also working on a global strategy to promote Dubai as a wedding destination and India will be at the centre of the approach. For Indian adventure seekers, DET will be spotlighting locations like Hatta and products like Deep Dive Dubai.

According to DET’s statistics, Dubai welcomed 5.1 million overnight visitors from January to April 2022. Indian arrivals in the same period were 550,000, a growth of 41 per cent over the previous year.

Almost two million Indian tourists visited Dubai in 2019, making it Dubai’s top source market.

Bader added: “(The) Indian market at present is the number two source market for us and we expect India to regain its number one position by the end of the year. India, along with other big markets like Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US, is going to play a key role in our target of welcoming 25 million international tourist arrivals by 2025.”

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