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HE Helal Saeed Al Marri

UAE, DUBAI - Tourism

Grand Visions

Director General and CEO, DTCM and Dubai World Trade Centre

Bio

Helal Saeed Al Marri is the Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as well as being the CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). He is the Chairman of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex, and a Higher Committee Member for the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid organization. He also serves on government boards and with UAE-based private sector entities, including Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, International Humanitarian City, ARAMEX, and Taaleem Education, among others. Al Marri holds an MBA from the London Business School, and is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

HH Sheikh Mohammed has recently approved the ambitious new Vision 2020. How will the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) implement His Highness’ vision, and how does it fit […]

HH Sheikh Mohammed has recently approved the ambitious new Vision 2020. How will the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) implement His Highness’ vision, and how does it fit in with the government’s growth strategy?

The headline objective of Vision 2020 is to welcome 20 million tourists per year to Dubai by 2020, and treble the economic contribution tourism makes to the city’s economy. We will achieve this by two means: firstly, by increasing Dubai’s “destination offering” across events, attractions, infrastructure, services, and packages, and secondly by showcasing the Emirate to an even wider audience and increasing the conversion of awareness into flight and hotel bookings. The Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has played a fundamental role in Dubai’s tourism growth. Sheikh Rashid Tower was the catalyst for the development of the business district, which now stretches from DWTC to Business Bay. In regard to the MICE sector, Dubai is now the region’s leading venue, not just in terms of size, but also in terms of diversity of calendar, scale of events, and the volume of business generated. Our figures show that in 2012, DWTC welcomed more than 1.85 million visitors and 37,000 exhibitors, and we intend to continue building on this.

What measures are adopted by the DTCM to assist the sector and increase visitors to Dubai?

Dubai’s 10 million tourist arrivals of 2012 confirm its established popularity. Maintaining our existing market share in key source markets and increasing it in markets of growth potential will both increase tourist numbers. Vision 2020 sets us a further target to strive toward. We want to establish Dubai as the leading destination for families, events, and business, and to do this we will need to work with private and public partners to evolve the tourism offer across events, attractions, experiences, infrastructure, hotels, services, and packages. We will also develop more live events by leveraging the expertise of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, the creators of retail festivals, such as the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises. And now that Dubai Calendar is part of DTCM alongside the Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, we can strengthen the coordinated approach to create, attract, and market a year-round program of events for residents, leisure, and business visitors alike. Similarly, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, has spoken about the importance of families, and we are working on campaigns to establish Dubai and the UAE as the top family destination. For example, we are creating segmented packages across different themes in addition to working with industry stakeholders to improve this city’s already strong visitor experience. Strategic marketing is crucial, and we intend to develop a new city brand that better communicates the breadth of activities and attractions on offer here. Meanwhile, our new office in Sío Paolo, Brazil, will provide much better access to the South American market, boasting huge potential, particularly in the business tourism sector.

What are the actions taken by the DTCM in order to encourage specializations in the sector’s services?

An excellent example of this was the governmental decree of May 2013 legalizing a new hotel classification system for Dubai. This provides a clearer choice for our visitors.

How has the city’s bid to host the World Expo 2020 influenced thinking and planning at the DTCM and DWTC?

The UAE’s bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai has certainly increased our visibility. And while we would love to welcome the world to Dubai for the event, DTCM’s Tourism Vision for 2020 is not reliant on winning the bid. With regards to DWTC, the World Expo 2020 has influenced planning to a certain extent, and DWTC is central in the planning of the Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali, a key component of World Expo 2020, enhancing Dubai’s appeal as a top destination for premier events. Elsewhere, Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali would do much to accommodate growth in MICE business. DWTC is currently finalizing plans to expand the existing venue, building the largest indoor events arena in the city. This will greatly enhance our ability to host additional mega events, ensuring that DWTC remains an engine of the events industry of the city and the wider MENASA region.

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