Bruna Garcia Fonseca
Dubai – The state-run Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is planning on opening an office in São Paulo by the end of the first half, in a bid to encourage Brazilians to travel to Dubai. So says DTCM International Operations manager for Latin America, Portugal and Spain Cibele Moulin. Dubai welcomed 104,000 Brazilian travelers in 2019, up 21% from 2018. Overall, the emirate saw 16.73 million tourists last year, up 5% year-on-year.
During a press conference with news reporters from the state of São Paulo this Thursday morning (13), DTCM CEO Issam Abdulla Kazim said he’s taking steps to increase both business and leisure travel in Dubai each year.
He said the DTCM is working to change people’s perception of Dubai as an expensive destination, and that the emirate can be an affordable destination for all kinds of travelers. The organization is also working on getting visitors to stay longer and return more often.
“We have options for all kinds of tourists. You have good affordable restaurants, and we’re very concerned about food security, so you’ll find good food everywhere,” said Kazim. The executive said he’s working to showcase more of the historic Dubai, since tourists have said their tours lacked “soul.”
He also said the emirate imparts a sense of safety, although this is hard to work with when it comes to tourism marketing. “This is not easy to discuss, so we chose to videotape testimonials from expatriates who live here,” he explained. Over 80% of the UAE’s population hail from over 200 different countries.
Kazim declined to provide any growth forecasts regarding 2020. “There are external factors which we cannot predict, like the coronavirus, which is impacting tourist numbers from China, so we cannot make any forecasts,” he said. In 2019, China was the fifth biggest issuer of tourists to Dubai, after India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Oman, in that order. The Americas accounted for 7% of visitors. The USA ranked 7th and Canada ranked 18th. Brazil isn’t in the top 20 list.
Expo 2020, a multi-industry fair running from October 2020 to April 2021 in Dubai, is expected to see some 25 million visitors. “Our strategy is not based around one single event. Dubai hosts events 250 days of the year, but we’re working to make it easier and easier for tourists from around the world to come in, by removing potential paperwork hurdles,” said Kazim. As a case in point, he mentioned the availability of visas on arrival for several countries, Brazil included.
At 20% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), tourism is a cornerstone of Dubai’s economy. one out of four visitors are business travelers; 75% come on leisure. Speakers at the press conference also included DTCM PR executive Andrea Krenn and International Communication manager Janelle Lewis.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum