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Dubai world's top city destination by 2020

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Dubai is aiming to become the world's most popular city destination by 2020, aiming to attract 25 million tourists in the next five years, according to a senior government official.

"We are looking at different types of tourists in the period leading up to and beyond 2020. There will be more cultural, business and leisure tourists. We have already seen substantial increases in tourists from Saudi Arabia, India and China," Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) told Destination Dubai 2020 conference.

"The emirate is on track to achieve all the targets for the 2020 vision beyond the Expo," he asserted.

The MasterCard's latest Global Destination Cities Index 2014 has put London on top of the list followed by Bangkok and Paris.

Kazim believes that the emirate will have to build more budget hotels and the financial incentives announced by the government in 2013 had resulted in 51 applications in three and four-star hotel category.

The incentives includes companies to be granted a concession on the standard 10 per cent municipality fee, land transfers becoming easy with approvals being centralised and given within three months.

He confirmed that the emirate will receive 20,000 rooms in 2016 and reach 150,000 keys by 2020.

Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice-President of Commercial Operations, Emirates, said the airline is on track to meet its 70 million passenger target by 2020 with the number of tourists traveling to Dubai having tripled in the past decade.

On Tuesday, Dubai International Airport secured its number one position as the world's busiest for international passenger traffic.

Read: It's official: Dubai is world's busiest airport