Dubai’s dynamic mix of year-round events and world-class infrastructure drew considerable interest from global travel and tourism industry professionals at ITB 2014 in Berlin, Germany, many of who warmly welcomed the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) recent announcement granting visas on arrival for an additional 13 EU nationalities.
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) participation at ITB 2014, the world’s largest annual travel trade show, was to both showcase and highlight the emirate’s growing reputation as a compelling and vibrant choice for leisure incentive travel.
News of the UAE’s new visa exemptions will further strengthen Dubai’s competitive advantage in the field internationally, allowing incentives and event organisers to offer packages to a wider range of nationalities with greater ease.
As a result of the decision, citizens of all 28 EU member states can now enter Dubai and the UAE without having previously applied for a visa.
According to the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the new exemptions apply to citizens of Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria from March 22, 2014 onward.
With 50 per cent market share of the business events sector within the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, Dubai Convention and Events Bureau (DCEB), a division of DTCM, believe incentive travel will play a key role in further growing international market share of business tourism.
Speaking ahead of ITB, Hamad Mohammed bin Mejren, Executive Director Business Tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: "Dubai’s profile as a business events destination and compelling leisure destination is well known.
“DCEB’s presence at ITB Berlin focuses on a segment that utilises and showcases both our business and leisure credentials.
“With plenty to do, excellent meetings infrastructure and world-class leisure facilities and events, we have an excellent incentive travel offer and are expecting this to be a segment with continued and sustained growth."
As showcased at ITB Berlin, Dubai provides visitors a unique blend of modernity and heritage, adrenalin and relaxation, and is an undisputed retail and gastronomy destination boasting desert, city and coastline getaway options and a broad range of hotel choices from 5-star luxury to budget value options.
Visitors to the trade show, also learned of Dubai’s impressive meeting and events infrastructure that range from the colossal and grand halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to smaller venues found at many of the emirate’s 600 hotels and hotel apartments.
In terms of leisure events and activities, visitors to the pavilion also had the opportunity to learn about the Emirate’s full calendar of world-class events that this year saw the annual Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships return to the city, the 19th edition of the city-wide Dubai Shopping Festival and the ongoing and inaugural Dubai Food Festival.
The Emirate’s vast array of regular leisure options, which includes skiing at the largest indoor snow park in the world and dune bashing around the desert in 4X4 vehicles, also attracted visitors to the pavilion.