UP TO 25% REPEAT CLIENTS

Dubai 2018 | TOURISM | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mohamed Samir El Sayed, General Manager of Address Dubai Mall, on the Emirate's 20-million-visitor goal, visa policy, and staying ahead of the competition.

How do you assess Dubai's progress toward achieving the target of 20 million visitors by 2020?

The image of Dubai is accompanied by the words quality, innovation, and excellence. On the business side there are globally-renowned exhibitions and Dubai has taken a major step by winning the right to host Expo 2020, which is a great achievement for a such a young city. From the millions of visitors to the Expo, 70% is expected to come from outside the UAE, which would be the largest proportion of international visitors in the Expo history. All these visitors will witness infrastructure of the highest quality and enjoy great networking opportunities and ease of doing business. In terms of our property, Address Dubai Mall, I am proud to say we have a 20-25% repeat clientele rate, somewhat significant given the competition in the city. This is exemplary of how people love the city. Transforming from a small village into a great city that is now a global hub, Dubai has a reputation for being a visionary city that does not follow but forms its own destiny through the spirit of possible and the wise foresight of its leaders. The launch of Dubai Future Foundation is a great recent example of the ongoing quest to shape the future of Dubai. There are many people who come to Dubai two or three times a year for various reasons, as it is a world-class business and leisure destination where one can find almost anything.

What does Dubai's tourism and hospitality sector need to address to stay ahead of the curve?

Dubai is already addressing the main trends and challenges. One of the main hospitality trends at the moment is to support the creation of three- and four-star hotels and residences, and the government and the authorities have taken measures to encourage these hotel segments to expand. This is positive for Dubai as the more diversity on offer, to suit every budget, the likelier it is that the city can secure more visitors.

What is your vision for the further development of tourism in Dubai?

The authorities have taken positive steps to ease visa procedures for visitors and professionals, as well as expanding Dubai's offering to a wider, more international audience. Dubai is in the process of establishing new source markets attracting visitors from India and China in addition to traditional markets such as the UK, Germany and Russia. Tourism is a central pillar of Dubai's economic growth, and Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) follows a strategic roadmap to position Dubai as the first choice for both business and leisure travelers, which has already resulted in many successful initiatives. DCTCM communicates its vision with all relevant stakeholders, such as airlines, hotels, and tour operators, and assists them to achieve their objectives in the UAE.

How will Address Dubai Mall's renovation plans harness the hotel's strength?

We need to remain up to date and have to reinvest in our product and people. We came up with a renovation plan for Address Dubai Mall. The inventory in Dubai is increasing while the average rate is declining slightly. As competition grows, we have to stay ahead of the game and remain fresh. The renovation will be a great opportunity for us to execute what our customers are looking for. We listen to our guests through different channels and highly value their feedback. I hope to meet the expectations of our guests or even exceed them.