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Positive growth ahead for Dubai despite economic meltdown, tourism officials say

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Hazel Heyer  Apr 24, 2008

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (eTN) - Despite the threat of a global economic slowdown, signs are positive for continued growth in the world’s fastest-growing city of Dubai.

The region’s tourism capital looks forward to robust growth in tourism while viewing new, emerging markets as sharing in the success, it has enjoyed in the last decades. Amid a world economy threatened by the dollar’s decline and the credit crunch that has the USA seriously worried, Dubai forges ahead.

H.E. Khalid Bin Sulayem, director general for the Dubai government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said during the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Travel and Tourism Summit held here from April 20-22,the emirate’s mature tourism market will bolster development for tourism and travel trade world over, with the city at the forefront.

Dubai’s figures demonstrate dynamic expansion and the great ability to create jobs within its borders. More importantly, this dynamic expansion shows the successful partnership between private and public sectors.

Last year, Dubai alone received more than seven million hotel guests; with hotels boasting 84 percent occupancy rates - the highest in the world by far, said bin Sulayem. “Over 120 airlines serve Dubai international airport flying to more than 200 destinations, 34 million passengers used the airport in 2007 accounting for 27 percent of the air traffic in Middle East and Africa,” he said. “With hotels set to increase to 500 by 2015, the growth in room numbers from 47,000 hotels and total apartments to triple in 2015 including the world biggest hotel project, the Al Bawadi project.”

Dubai’s further goals are to generate 10 million 2010 traffic by 2010 and 15 million traffic by 2015.

Tourism in Dubai contributes 20 percent directly and 30 percent indirectly to the gross domestic product, much of the success owed to formidable private and public partnership under the guidance of Dubai’s vice president Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Iconic projects across the Dubai desert landscape and waterfront or offshore currently include the Palm Islands, the World and mega water parks, theme parks, the world’s largest airport and the World Trade Center and Global Village.

Needless, Dubai is not neglecting the environment while dealing with this colossal expansion approach no other place in the world, except for China perhaps, can lay claim on. Several green initiatives recently unveiled by the government include the green building strategy and new ecological developments across the emirate, ensuring the developments conform to world standards for environmental sustainability.

Tourism vital to Dubai is good not only for Dubai but also for the world. “We support it regionally and internationally with several investment companies working all over the globe,” said bin Sulayem, adding that investing in potential boom areas throughout the world is on the agenda of Dubai.

Though booming at an unrivalled pace, Dubai sees China, India and the rest of the Middle East as markets that will help bolster development of the tourism and travel trade, said the tourismmarketing director general.

“Despite today’s crisis, Asia, Africa and the Middle East have seen incredible success patterns in growing its portfolio with higher than average rates and occupancy,” he remarked.

Positive growth ahead for Dubai despite economic meltdown, tourism officials say
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