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City Travel Briefing: Dubai

July 2018

The Dubai Tourism Vision strategy has boosted investment in tourism and related industries. Dubai is working to develop both the MICE and leisure segments through expansion of luxury retail, theme park development, concept experiences and mid-market lodging, though it now faces emerging competition from regional peers and other cities. Smart city initiatives for long-term sustainability are directed to make travel and related experiences easier for residents and visitors.

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Continuous investment in upgrading and enhancing tourist experience

In pursuit of economic diversification, the government aims to increase tourism’s contribution to GDP through continuous investment, and it continues to diversify tourist offerings and promote use of technology to facilitate tourists.

Strong MICE segment

Dubai has a strong position in MICE tourism with its modern infrastructure, premium lodging and security, compared to the rest of the region.

Mid-market lodging to encourage tourist growth

Expansion of mid-market lodging and Airbnb is set to increase tourist flows from countries with increasing disposable incomes. Increased competition in the market is expected to lead to better service levels.

Dubai to expand into nature tourism and offerings for family tourists

The city aims to focus and highlight less explored areas, such as deserts and mountains, to target nature seekers. To attract more group and family tourists various theme parks have been opened.

Central location leads to best code sharing partnerships

Dubai’s central location has helped its airlines gain strategic code sharing agreements. Emirates’ partnership with the Low cost Flydubai is one example,and has enabled the airlines to increase bookings and reduce costs.

Smart city innovations continue to keep Dubai ahead of regional peers

Smart city initiatives aimed at improving the travel sector are of particular importance. These initiatives are aimed at developing Dubai as a City of the Future, thus keeping ahead of its regional peers and other global tourist cities.

Competition from both domestic and regional peers

Dubai has stayed in the limelight as a tourist hub in the region; however,progress of the sector in markets like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman is likely to increase options within the region, offering similar experiences. Domestic tourism is also likely to be impacted, as Abu Dhabi focuses on establishing itself as a leisure destination.


Top 100 city destinations ranking
Key findings

Macro View

Business dynamics

Destination Dynamics

Tourism board strategy and competitive position
Inbound tourism: sound arrivals growth during economic slowdown
Domestic tourism performance: looking beyond luxury to nature
Lodging landscape: diversification key to sustained growth
Connectivity: Expo2020 leads to strong investment
Smart city innovations: Dubai Smart City
Smart city innovations

Future Outlook

SWOT: Dubai
Key takeaways


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