Priyanka Saxena Ray
The year 2022
2022 has been incredible for us. As per numbers, 14.6 million visitors and India retains its position as the number one market. Now the number of Indian arrivals in 2022 is 97% more than the previous year, which is almost twice as much, and an 86% increase compared to 2019. I think we have had the fastest recovery in the region. Our recovery has been far ahead with the global average as well. In terms of hotel occupancy, we are at 73%, which is the biggest and the largest in the world globally. A lot has been going in our favour, and the credit for this goes to our leadership. It is his vision – a lot of Dubai’s blueprints is coming from his vision. He always asks us to be agile, resilient and make things happen. He wants to create a model city for the world where the legacy of Dubai would be such that few hundred years from now Dubai would be remembered as a city that always pushed the envelope.
What is amazing is how quicky and smoothly things happen in Dubai. As soon as there is an announcement regarding any kind of new policy/rule, it is seamlessly implemented all over. I think this is what worked for us in 2022.
An interesting trend that we have witnessed with regards to the India market is that the share of repeat visitors is now increasing. A lot of visitors who are coming to Dubai from India, in addition to the first timers, are the repeat travellers, who are on the lookout for different experiences in Dubai. They want to go beyond the Dhow Cruise and Desert Safari and do something new. This becomes a very interesting segment for us as with them we can now explore our niche segment – honeymooners, adventure seekers, weekenders, gastronomy – it opens a lot of doors for us to even reposition and repackage the destination for them.
Strategy for 2023
2023 is going to build up on the success of 2022. This year, specifically for India, we are going to build on Mega Fams. We just concluded mega-fam last month of 46 agents and will move to 100 pax for ATM. Our vision is to go for 200-250 next year. Actually, in the last two years, a lot of agents have changed, people have been laid off and a lot of new names have come in the market. Another focus would be stop-overs, which is a very important part of our strategy for 2023. A lot of Indians cross Dubai and we would incentivise them to stay for a night or 2 in Dubai. If they get a taste of Dubai, I am sure that next time they would come for a longer duration of time with their family and friends. Average night stay of an Indian has increased to 6 nights. Before the pandemic it was 3 – 4 nights. It has almost doubled. During the pandemic we have shifted our focus from segments to personas.
New Marketing Campaigns
We have a very interesting line-up of campaigns, which are going to be very different from what we have done in the past. We will keep piloting projects that have never been done before and keep pushing our boundaries. We will go for smaller and diverse campaigns. Fundamentally, our positioning would be lifestyle – we will position ourself as a lifestyle destination. Indians today have become more tasteful in their approach. Dubai today has a lot of new offerings and during the pandemic, more than 1000 new rooms have come up.
Weddings and more
Wedding is definitely an important market segment that we are targeting but we are also looking at photoshoots and shopping – these are the segments that our Vogue segment has addressed very well. In fact, we just recently hosted 70 wedding planners from India. Landmark celebrations – birthdays/anniversaries are another major segments. Dubai has one of the best infrastructures – from airlines to the best of luxury resorts. Beach resort desert resort, luxury resort – so many options also from the gastronomy perspective, we have chefs that cater today too all communities and cuisines in India.
In conclusion, I would just like to say that Indians have still not explored all that there is on offer in Dubai, especially keeping in mind that new attractions are being added frequently. So there is a scope for lot for the growth of tourism traffic between the two countries.