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02 March 2024

#DubaiDestinations campaign returns to spotlight city’s unique winter experiences

Published
By E247
Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), today launched the third edition of the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign. The campaign puts the spotlight on the unique places, activities and attractions that make Dubai one of the world’s most-loved winter getaways.
As part of the campaign, Brand Dubai announced that it has partnered with the Supreme Committee Overseeing Hatta Development to launch the inaugural edition of the Hatta Festival, a vibrant celebration of culture, sports and family entertainment in the heart of Dubai’s picturesque mountain region.
Being held from 15-31 December at the newly-developed Leem Lake in Hatta and the Hatta Wadi Hub, the festival is the centrepiece of the third edition of the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign. Running until February 2024, the latest season of the campaign seeks to tell the story of Dubai’s emergence as one of the world’s best winter destinations. Over the next two months, the campaign will unfold with captivating narratives from diverse sources on the emirate’s unique winter activities and experiences.
Marking the launch of the campaign, Brand Dubai hosted a press conference at GDMO to outline the key activations at the Hatta Festival and the prominent attractions that capture the spirit of the larger winter campaign.
The launch of the ‘Hatta Festival’ aligns with the leadership’s directives to transform Hatta into a prominent business, investment and tourism destination. It also aims to highlight the historical importance and natural and archaeological wonders of the area, contributing to raising its profile as a key tourist destination that draws visitors from across the globe.
The festival serves as a platform to explore what makes Hatta a truly unique place to visit and explore, encompassing exceptional destinations, cultural events, sporting activities, dining experiences and luxury resorts.
Her Excellency Mona Al Marri, Vice Chairperson and Managing Director of the Dubai Media Council and Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, expressed her appreciation for the key role played by the Supreme Committee Overseeing Hatta Development, chaired by His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner General for the Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Well-Being Pillar, in developing exceptional projects and initiatives dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and enriching the experiences of residents and visitors in the area.
“We are excited to introduce the Hatta Festival as part of the new #DubaiDestinations winter campaign, providing residents and visitors with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty and charm of the Hatta region. By enabling people to closely engage with the culture, heritage and natural splendour of this enchanting region, the festival plays a crucial role in enhancing the depth of Dubai's destination offerings and further raising its status as a global tourism hub,” Al Marri said.
“Dubai has made a mark on the global tourism map as one of the world’s most sought-after winter destinations. The Hatta region adds a compelling dimension to the experiences that Dubai offers during this season. This is why we have chosen the area as a central focus of the campaign, aligning with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the world’s best city to live and visit. By drawing more visitors to the Hatta region, the campaign will further strengthen the area’s profile as a leading destination both for national and international audiences,” Her Excellency said.
Building on the successes of previous editions, the latest #DubaiDestinations campaign will weave together rich and compelling storylines that showcase the emirate’s outstanding winter offerings even after the Hatta Festival concludes, Al Marri noted. “Using interactive content on multiple platforms, the campaign invites residents and visitors to be part of the story of Dubai’s growth as one of the world’s best winter destinations. Drawing together multiple perspectives on the experiences that set Dubai apart as a preferred destination in the cooler months of the year, the campaign seeks to capture the emirate’s spirit as a distinctive winter destination.”
Leem Lake, the focal point of the festival, is a three-hectare lake in the Hatta area in the heart of the mountainous region. The lake offers visitors views of breathtaking landscapes and sunset scenes amidst the Hatta mountains.
Featuring diverse activities and attractions for families and children of all ages, the Hatta Festival aims to showcase the uniqueness of the region and its recent development as an eco-friendly destination. The festival also aims to promote Hatta's cultural, historical and natural treasures, and encourage visitors to enjoy its unique landscapes and recreational activities.
In partnership with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), the festival will feature a range of activities including traditional musical performances, light displays, food and beverage pop-ups, sports and live entertainment, providing families an intimate experience of Hatta’s culture, cuisine and natural grandeur.
Nasser BuShehab, CEO of the Planning and Governance Sector of Dubai Municipality, said key development initiatives focused on enhancing Hatta's tourism appeal, and making it more attractive to visitors by showcasing its diverse natural attractions and entertainment offerings, are progressing rapidly. Highlighting the importance of the new Hatta Festival, he said the event will play a vital role in strengthening Dubai's overall destination value proposition. BuShehab also noted that Dubai Municipality's extensive projects in Hatta are driven by a commitment to ensuring the efficient use of natural resources, preserving the region's rich heritage, and safeguarding its natural environment.
Hussain Al Banna, CEO of the Strategy and Corporate Governance Sector of RTA, said the Hatta Festival forms part of a comprehensive plan to develop the region and highlight its unique natural attractions. He said the infrastructure of the region has been developed through collaborations between various key authorities to meet the needs of the local residents and visitors. The development covers biking trails, traffic solutions and parking expansions, among others. RTA’s sustainable transport services have contributed to a 40% reduction in congestion in the area, he added.
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said that the unique natural features of the Hatta region enrich Dubai’s attractiveness as a global tourism destination. He highlighted the efforts of the Supreme Committee Overseeing Hatta Development in preserving the area's distinctive identity. Al Khaja stated that the festival will showcase a range of entertainment events and activities strategically located for easy access by Hatta visitors. He mentioned that Hatta Wadi Hub will offer various heritage tourism experiences and feature the participation of 50 local businesses from the area.
Salem Belyouha, CEO of the Media Content Sector at Dubai Media, said that Dubai Media has completed all preparations to ensure full coverage of the event’s festivities. The Dubai TV team will be on field to cover all the cultural and entertainment events and activities taking place at the festival, he said. Moreover, they will engage with festival visitors through daily competitions organised as part of two popular programmes airing on Dubai TV.
Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmouk, CEO of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center, said the Hatta Festival will spotlight the unique cultural and heritage experiences offered by the Hatta region. In coordination with Brand Dubai, the Center plans to organise various heritage and poetry competitions during the festival. These initiatives form part of the Dubai government's deep commitment to preserving and celebrating the unique historical significance and cultural wealth of the Hatta region, he added.
During the press conference, attended by media professionals, social media influencers, content creators and representatives from local and regional media institutions, Dr. Maitha Buhumaid, Director of the Dubai Press Club and Director of the Strategic Media Affairs Department at GDMO, conveyed her sincere appreciation for the significant role played by various media partners.  She commended their continuous efforts in enhancing Dubai's global profile and highlighting its distinctive tourist destinations.
Shaima Al Suwaidi, Director of Brand Dubai, underscored that the Hatta Festival serves as an open invitation for the Emirati community, residents and visitors to delve into the enchanting beauty of the Hatta region, showcasing its distinctive natural wonders.

Essa Al Bedwawi, leader of the Emirati 'Neshama' volunteer team taking part in the festival, expressed gratitude for the collaboration with Brand Dubai, which provided them with the opportunity to contribute to the inaugural festival. Al Bedwawi said that the volunteer team, consisting of 35 volunteers, all residents of Hatta, aims to offer festival visitors and guests information on the region's heritage.

Dining Experiences

Festival visitors can indulge in exclusive journeys through historical and archaeological landmarks and dining experiences curated by DET at Hatta Wadi Hub. Prominent F&B brands featured include Saddle, Home Bakery, and G.O.A.T. The festival also invites visitors to enjoy light shows at Leem Lake and Hatta Fort, apart from soaking in the area’s vibrant atmosphere.
The Hatta Festival features various artistic workshops and educational experiences for children. As part of the festivities, visitors can also delight in ice skating and roller-skating experiences.
The main stage of the festival, presented through a collaboration between Dubai Media and the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center, will be the focal point for an array of artistic and entertainment events, adding an extra layer of excitement to the festivities. The festival also offers sporting experiences with dedicated padel tennis courts and workshops to learn and master the game.
‘Proudly from Dubai Market’
Brand Dubai is also organising the ‘Proudly from Dubai Market’ at the festival to showcase the unique culinary concepts and innovative products of 30 homegrown businesses from the ‘Proudly from Dubai’ network. Through a collaboration with the Community Development Authority, the Market will highlight the entrepreneurial stories of start-up businesses initiated by citizens in Hatta. The market at Leem Lake will also feature a pop-up for SALT.  
Adding to the festival's rich array of activities is a spectacular parade of classic cars embarking on a scenic journey from Dubai to the festival grounds in Hatta on 30 December. Furthermore, a spirited motorcycle convoy, comprising of a large group of riders, will journey from Dubai to Hatta on 29 December, while a bicycle procession is set to take place on 24 December, adding exciting elements to the festival.
Brand Dubai will also be hosting a photography workshop in partnership with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA). The workshop includes a competition for the best photo and video on Hatta. Additionally, there will be sporting events held in collaboration with the boutique indoor cycling studio, Storm, and community-focused activities that will continue over the weekends.
The festival will also feature activities at the Hatta Wadi Hub, a prominent entertainment destination, offering a range of outdoor activities and experiences amidst the natural backdrop of the Hatta mountains and Hatta Dam. The Hub will see diverse entertainment activities, artistic experiences, food trucks and local restaurants serving Arabic cuisine. Visitors can engage in activities such as mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and zip-lining. Additionally, Hatta Wadi Hub will provide facilities for camping amidst scenic landscapes.
One of the UAE's most historic regions, Hatta features golden sands, rocky mountains, wadis, lakes and lush greenery. The area’s natural attractions include the spectacular Hajar mountains, the Hatta Dam area that offers mountain hiking and scenic views. Perched atop one of Hatta’s mountains, the Hatta Hill Park offers panoramic views, family-friendly activities, barbecues, a playground, running tracks, sports fields and recreational facilities.
For insights into Hatta's history, people can visit the Hatta Heritage Village, first launched in 2001 as a museum and tourist attraction. Overlooking two mountains, the village comprises 30 ancient buildings and stores selling heritage items and providing insight into the historical era of the region.
The Hatta Festival will be open to visitors five days a week from 3.00 pm to 9.00 pm, and on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm.
Other highlights of the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign include the third edition of the Hatta Cultural Nights, to be held from 21 December 2023 to 1 January, 2024. Coinciding with the Hatta Festival, the cultural extravaganza aims to help people engage more closely with Hatta's heritage through folkloric and artistic performances, Nabati poetry, and displays of the products of local artisans and other young talent.
Also part of the campaign is the Hatta Honey Festival, which invites visitors to taste Hatta's renowned locally harvested honey. The initiative supports local economic activities, provides a platform for sharing expertise in honey production and displays a diverse range of honey products.
The latest #DubaiDestinations campaign encourages residents and visitors to discover Dubai’s diverse leisure, dining, adventure and family-friendly activities that make the city a distinctive winter destination.
The campaign is being rolled out over digital, broadcast, print and outdoor media to ensure it reaches large sections of local and international audiences. Brand Dubai is implementing the #DubaiDestinations campaign in cooperation with various stakeholders and the creative media community.
Dubai was named as one of the world’s top winter sun destinations, according to Travelbag‘s best winter sun destination rankings for 2023. In 2022, the city was also ranked as the world’s best winter-sun destination, with the most Google searches and the most things to do in a city during winter, according to The Winter Sun Index issued by travel package provider ParkSleepFly. Dubai has been tagged on Instagram more than 111 million times and has the most winter-related ‘things to do’ Google searches in the world, reaching 55,000.