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Dubai stakes claim to be the world’s most popular city destination by 2020

The ambitious target is anchored on attracting 25 million tourists in the next five years

Dubai is aiming to be the world’s most popular city destination by 2020, as part of the city’s long-term growth strategy.

The ambitious target is anchored on attracting 25 million tourists in the next five years, according to Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), and is achievable despite lingering fears of plummeting oil prices and a strong dollar.

“The emirate is on track to achieve all the targets for the 2020 vision beyond the Expo,” says Kazim.

“Dubai will be looking at different types of tourists in the period leading up to and beyond 2020. There will be more cultural and business tourists, and as such the city will need to offer more mid-range hotels,” he adds.

Speaking at the Destination Dubai 2020 conference taking place at The Address Dubai Marina hotel in Dubai on 27 January, Kazim explains that the government has started to incentivise investors that are looking to develop three and four star hotels.

“We currently have 51 applications for mid-level hotels; this is an important component that will help the emirate achieve this target,” continues Kazim.

Kazim also goes on to confirm that there are 20,000 room keys in the pipeline that will be completed in 2016. “We are also on target to achieve our 150,000 keys by 2020.”

The expected influx of tourists will also require increased capacity of Dubai’s airports. In his keynote presentation, His Highness Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, DSVP Commercial Operations GCC, Iran, Central Asia; Emirates, says that the airline is on track to meet its 70 million passenger target by 2020, and can be seamlessly handled by Dubai’s network of airports, which by 2020 will have a capacity of handling well over 110 million passengers.

Al-Mualla said the number of tourists travelling to Dubai had tripled in the past decade.

MEED Destination Dubai 2020 conference is made possible with the support of important industry players in the region, such as PwC (Silver Sponsor); Mashreq (Bronze Sponsor); as well as Faithful + Gould, Hill International, and Thinkwell (Conference Sponsors).