Charlie Taylor, head of communications at DTCM, talks to Sydney PauldenI have been to Dubai many times over the past 20 years, but keeping up-to-date is an impossible task. Dubai announces new projects, so ambitious that in another country you would doubt they can be achieved, but suddenly in Dubai they become reality.
Charlie Taylor was on the Dubai stand at The Meetings Show in London. He had just been busy in Dubai with a big incentive group. A very big incentive group that would be the stuff of dreams for any destination, but in Dubai it was reality.
A Chinese company in the skin care and cosmetics sector had chosen Dubai for a no-expenses-spared incentive for 14,500 of its employees, with several hundred at a time back-to-back over three weeks, handled by DMC Arabian Adventures.
I was still breathless at the thought of that undertaking, when Charlie told me of the new project, the Mall of the World. This will be even bigger than the Dubai Mall, which I found a mind-blowing experience on a recent visit. Now, this new mall will not only house hundreds of retail outlets and a theme park, but in addition, it will be the location of 100 new hotels.
Charlie explains that DTCM, Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, is a key instrument in the move towards the target of 20m tourist visitors in the year 2020. This is the year when Dubai will be host to World Expo 2020.
Can there be any doubt that Dubai will reach this target, when y consider that over the past eight years visitor numbers have jumped from 5m to 10m?
Dubai’s phenomenal growth is all the more remarkable when one considers that it will only be celebrating its 50th anniversary as a nation in the year 2021.
Now 100 new hotels on one site is some ambition, but Charlie then adds that by the year 2016 as many as 625 new hotels – not including Mall of the World – will be opened in various districts of Dubai, adding 85,000 rooms to the hotel stock.
‘Dubai’, says Charlie, ‘is providing financial incentives for hotel construction, with the emphasis on 3- and 4-star properties. The aim is to increase the spread of the level of tourism to appeal to greater and greater audiences in more markets.’
There are of course plans for development of the Emirate’s infrastructure. The Metro, a remarkable service that was built in record time, is being extended to serve the site of Expo 2020. In addition, a tramway system is being built in the Al Sufouh District. It will be about 14.5km long, linking the Dubai Marina, the Burj Al Arab, the Mall of the Emirates and the Palm Jumeirah. There will be interchanges between the tramway and three of the Metro stations. The International Airport is to be provided with an additional Concourse D.
Feeling really out-of-date, I asked if there are still three golf courses in Dubai. ‘Oh no’, replied Charlie. ‘There are eleven.’ Then he added: ‘A twelfth course is in the planning stage – by Donald Trump.’