TBY talks to Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President Operations and Development for the Middle East, India, and Africa, Swiss-Belhotel International, on the sector.

Laurent A. Voivenel

How do you rate Dubai's tourism ambitions?

Dubai has more than 15 million visitors per year. It is expected to achieve a CAGR of 8% per year, which is double the global travel industry growth of approximately 4% as forecasted by UNWTO. How can the Emirates attract 1.6 million additional visitors per year? It can with most of the required elements in place such as the expansion of airports, outstanding international connectivity, growth of visitors from emerging markets, fabulous new attractions, and an all-year-round calendar of activities. However, in terms of hotels, 60% of the developments are still in the four- and five-star segment. If Dubai wants to become a mass tourism market, it has to accommodate people who cannot afford to pay high prices per night.

What are your expectations for Expo 2020?

Dubai never stops surprising with its incredible plans and projects and we are sure Dubai Expo 2020 will be absolutely spectacular from what we have heard so far. Dubai is building some amazing airports. It is also developing a new zone and implementing state-of-the-art infrastructure.