The current research paper is based on one of the UAE Emirates – Dubai. The purpose of the paper is to characterize the development of tourist destinations and identify success factors for the development of tourism and hotel infrastructure in Dubai. Nowadays, Dubai is considered to be the most developed emirate in various spheres – trade, medicine and business. However, Dubai is also the leading tourist centre in the UAE. In many respects, it has overtaken all other emirates. Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Changes in the urban appearance are connected primarily with the relatively recent production of oil fields. Dubai is a recognized center of world trade with all conditions for effective business. In Dubai, there are numerous exhibitions, conferences, business seminars, and events for corporate entertainment. The opportunities to combine work and leisure are very attractive for business. In the emirate, there are the most modern sports facilities. Every year, notable sporting events take place there. City authorities make everything possible to attract tourists to the emirate. Dubai is a model of the correct, appropriate, and purposeful investment of money in the development of the city as a tourist and business center. Using the most advanced technologies and attracting the best professionals from around the world, Dubai epitomizes grand projects. In Dubai, there are the best hotels, beaches and resorts. The government accentuates the development of the city infrastructure. The government of the emirate leading competent policy makes every effort to improve the welfare of its citizens and the development of infrastructure for tourists. Every year, a number of hotels in the emirate and service in Dubai increase. It attracts a growing number of guests from different countries. The key findings of the research have shown that Dubai is the most visited tourist destination in the Middle East. When writing the research paper, a literature search as a research method was used.
Among independent states in the Gulf region, there is a group of oil-exporting countries, which, using resource factors in its development, have made significant economic progress. Among them, the United Arab Emirates occupy a prominent place. It is a country that faced many challenges. Nevertheless, it managed to excel significantly in a number of socio-economic indicators not only other countries in the region but also many developed countries in Europe. An important feature of the UAE’s economy at the present stage of its development was the use of oil revenues not only to diversify national production but also to transform the country into a major international center of services primarily in the financial and tourist spheres. The United Arab Emirates reached well-being due to crude oil. Nowadays, the country appoints tourism as one of the main earners of the economy. The country blooms in the desert. It attracts visitors with luxury and scale of the multibillion-dollar buildings. Tourism for the United Arab Emirates is becoming the new oil. In the late 20th century, its production gave rise to a rapid economic upturn of the state. The discovery of black gold has caused only half of future success. The second part provided the first ruler of The United Arab Emirates, who ordered to find a way to save the country from dependence on oil. The method has been found in the form of free economic zones. Exemption from customs and tax payments attracted investments, technologies and specialists to the country. The United Arab Emirates wisely used petrodollars to diversify the economy, making a bet on financial and IT-markets, tourism, agriculture, and trade. Nowadays, Dubai is considered to be the most attracting emirate for tourists in the country. High hotels, ski resorts in the desert and man-made islands in the sea are not a mirage. Dubai is one of the youngest and most daring resorts in the world. “The tourism industry in Dubai is relatively young” (Smith and Stewart, 2014, p. 66). Within several years, the citizens of this Arab emirate managed to turn an unsuitable piece of land on the shores of the Persian Gulf into one of the most attractive regions in the world. At the moment, Dubai is undoubtedly the center of tourism in the UAE. The aim of the current paper is to identify the reasons of the attractiveness of Dubai among tourists.
When writing the research paper, five reliable sources were used. The first source is the book Travel & Tourism: AS Level for OCR: GCE AS Level Double Award written by Hilary Blackman. The book describes Dubai as a highly developed city. The author gives reasons of the rapid development of this emirate. The second source is the book The Economic Development of the United Arab Emirates (RLE Economy of Middle East). The author of the book is Ragaei el Mallakh. In the book, the author states that the countries of the Gulf have become of great interest to the world due to the production of oil. The UAE is one of these countries. However, it managed to develop not only petroleum production, but also other spheres including tourism. The book is based on interviews, studies and researches. Another source is The report: Dubai 2014 given by Oxford Business Group. The report shows the development of the emirate in all spheres. There are numerous indices regarding Dubai for 2014 year. Another source is the book Dubai. It is written by Terry Carter, Lara Dunston, and Olivia Pozzan. In the book, there are maps and descriptions of Dubai. The authors recommend the best places for swimming, shopping and resting. The last source is the book Cambridge international AS and A level travel and tourism written by John D. Smith and Sue Stewart. The book offers an in-depth research and analysis on the topic of tourism.
Success of Dubai
Dubai is a well-known center of trade in the East. However, it has not always been a developed trade and tourist centre. “In the XVIII century, Dubai was a small fishing and trading village inhabited by members of the Bani Yas tribe” (Smith and Stewart, 2014, p. 66). It is divided into two large parts by the channel. Today, it serves as a harbor for the traditional Arab transport ships. The world-famous Gold Souk demonstrates the dazzling diversity of precious metals and stones. “Dubai’s initial commercial development saw it rapidly become the leading port, trading centre, and exhibition centre for the whole Gulf region” (Blackman, 2005, p. 108). Except for the hot summer months, the climate in Dubai is almost perfect – dry subtropical. In a year, there are 360 days of the sun and cloudless sky. Summer temperature ranges between 35 and 43 ° C. However, on some days, it can reach 48 ° C. Therefore, all the rooms in the city, taxis and even small shops in the bazaars are air-conditioned. The average temperature in January is 18 ° C. The main rainy season is in December – January. The best time to visit Dubai is from October to April when the temperature is usually 20-30 degrees.
Dubai is a booming commercial center with unique conditions for business. It is the business center of the Islamic world. Accordingly, the emirate is one of the most important points for businessmen traveling on business trips. It explains the high level of occupancy of hotels in the emirate. “In 2010, Dubai’s hotels had the highest revenue per available room in the world at US$198 and Dubai was ranked 10th in the world in terms of occupancy” (Smith and Stewart, 2014, p. 67). The route for specialists of all the coastal states of the Persian Gulf and other countries traveling to conferences, meetings and trade shows often runs through this emirate. It is ideal for exhibitions, conferences, seminars, and corporate entertainment. Business trips to Dubai are especially pleasing because, at any time of the year, the city allows combining business with pleasure and spending a few days at the seaside resort. The key areas of Dubai include Islamic finance, the production of halal products, and the creation of digital infrastructure. At the same time, most of them are growing at an astonishing rate. For example, in 2013, the city owned the Islamic Sukuk bonds worth $ 9 billion. Moreover, nowadays, the figure is $ 21 billion (Smith and Stewart, 2014).
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Climate and first-class sports facilities make the emirate the ideal place for those who prefer active holidays. Statistics of construction and commissioning of grandiose sports facilities is a striking example of how sport develops in Dubai. It includes the yacht club, the ski resort, car tracks, and many other sports facilities that meet the highest international standards. Any other emirate cannot boast of such capabilities in the field of sports entertainment as Dubai. First, it is water and underwater sports of all kinds – from windsurfing to scuba diving. “The seas around the coast offer bathing, boating, and water sports including such activities as water skiing, skin-driving, and spear-fishing” (Mallakh, 2014, p. 128). At the same time, people also can discover several new opportunities in Dubai. Local tour operators can offer sand skiing or ride on a camel. Dubai is rapidly making a name for itself as one of the world’s most important sports cities. The emirate hosted prestigious events of many sports including golf, cricket, football, and hockey. Dubai’s officials have announced plans to submit a bid to host the 2014 Olympics. It is an absolute proof of the growing interest in sport in the emirate. Favorable climate, open water, much of land areas, and financial viability attract the holding of many international sporting cups and competitions.“All the major hotels in Dubai boast very well-equipped sports centers” (Blackman, 2005, p. 108). In such a way, sport is one of the reasons why people visit Dubai. A few cities can offer so many opportunities for effective and successful work of professionals in any field as Dubai.
Beach holidays in Dubai do not match with any of the rest of the emirates. Unlike Abu Dhabi, which is the official capital of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is the tourist capital of the country. “This is the first-class tourist destination, known for its sun, sand, and shopping” (Pozzan, Dunston and Carter, 2009, p. 7). The area Dubai Jumeirah is ideal for a beach holiday; it is a big sandy beach with many hotels of the highest class and water parks with 24 water attractions. Today, Dubai has the best tourist infrastructure in the world. The number of tourists increases by more than 10% every year. To lure guests in a hot desert, its inhabitants built a unique infrastructure in the midst of the dunes. Dubai buildings strike tourists with comfort and luxury. Many of them are the world champions in height, area and expensiveness. Dubai opens with the main attraction – the world’s highest building, the 828-meter Burj Khalifa. Near this building, there is the main local shopping center – Dubai Mall. It is the largest shopping centre in the world. Skyscrapers in Dubai are higher than in almost any other city in the world. There are 22 buildings higher than 300 meters and 153 buildings higher than 150 meters. In general, in the city, there are dozens of innovative structures – the world’s longest automated metro without a driver, the largest indoor ski resort, and the highest residential building in a spiral shape. Most of these structures were built specifically for tourists. The head of one of the divisions of the Dubai’s department of tourism has stated that the goal is to become number one in everything that concerns tourism. Effective implementation of major investment projects is a complex and difficult task. Nevertheless, Dubai’s authorities skillfully cope with it. Over the past 15-20 years, Dubai’s companies implemented a number of large-scale investment projects. On rates of growth of tourism, Dubai outstrips all other emirates (Smith and Stewart, 2014).
2014 was a record year for the rapidly growing hospitality sector in Dubai. In the period from January to June, nearly 6 million people visited the city. It is a maximum number of visitors arriving in Dubai for six months. Moreover, according to a recent survey conducted by STR Global, hotels in Dubai have been recognized as one of the most profitable in the world. In 2013, a higher operating profit per available room was recorded only in Paris and Hong Kong. The recently announced 30 awards at World travel awards ceremony that took place in Doha also contributes to the greater promotion of Dubai (Smith and Stewart, 2014).
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum reported that last year, more than 11 million people visited the emirate. No other emirate has so many tourists as Dubai. Moreover, the goal of the emirate is to increase the number of tourists by continuous improvement of every aspect of Dubai and to make the city an alternative number one for tourists from all over the world regardless of the purpose of their journey. To attract tourists from all over the world, Dubai trade money for commercial. Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai in cooperation with Emirates Airline began a global advertising campaign. The campaign received a title See you in Dubai. It is aimed at markets of Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. The cost of the campaign is $ 20 million. Through the mass media, print and outdoor advertising, potential visitors of the emirate can learn about well-known and unfamiliar possibilities opening in Dubai for tourists (Oxford Business Group, 2014).
According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai, for the first six months of 2014, about 5.8 million tourists visited the emirate. Comparing with the same period of 2013, the number increased by 1%. The greatest number of tourists came to Dubai from Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UK, India, China, the USA, Oman, Russia, Iran, and Kuwait (Oxford Business Group, 2014). “Dubai has the largest transient population of all the Emirates’ towns” (Mallakh, 2014, p. 128). Expo 2020 will have a positive effect on the hospitality sector in Dubai. It is expected that 25 million people will visit the exhibition. 70% of people will be foreign guests. For the settlement of guests, it will be necessary to increase significantly the number of hotel rooms. However, there is a risk of an excess of supply over demand, which can expect the hospitality sector in Dubai after Expo 2020. Nevertheless, given the observed steady growth of Dubai’s popularity as a tourist destination, as well as taking into account that without the conduction of the World Exhibition, Dubai intends to increase the number of visitors to 20 million by 2020, created trade and entertainment infrastructure for the exhibition will be an additional factor in attracting tourists. The director-general of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Al Marri states that authorities have no concerns about supply the out-placing demand. “An essential part of our tourism vision is to ensure that Dubai has the required hotel capacity in place to cater to 20 million visitors annually by 2020, with an adequate mix of options across different budget levels” (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p.174). To meet the growing level of demand of tourists on accommodation in Dubai, the emirate increases the number of rooms at the expense of mass construction of the hotel real estate. According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai, by 2020 to accommodate travelers, the emirate will require from 140,000 to 160,000 hotel rooms.
Currently, 80% of the total number of tourists visits Dubai for recreational purposes, and another 20% – for business and participation in exhibitions and conferences. Dubai’s government began to take steps to turn the emirate into a center of medical tourism including the introduction of special visas and integrated packages of services. Medical tourism has become another successful area of development in Dubai. However, medical tourism is a new sphere in Dubai. “Although many countries receive medical tourists and have grown it into a thriving business, Dubai is a relative newcomer” (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p.172). Nevertheless, there are several factors that make Dubai a point of destination for medical tourism. Dubai possesses high-quality healthcare to meet the health needs of this market. It corresponds to the key criteria for this area. It is a large number of highly qualified medical staff, the strong structure of the private health sector, access to services, and the availability of experts in Dubai speaking different languages. Dubai hotels have the highest occupancy in the world with the highest income per available room. In Dubai, there are numerous leading medical institutions that are well equipped for medical tourism. There are hospitals with the international accreditation, a number of renowned centers of expertise such as Thalassemia Centre and Genetics Centre. Private hospitals and clinics have various centers of excellence in a number of specialties that are already attracting medical tourists. In subsequent years, the authorities expect to see the increase in the number of patients from the Gulf countries, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Europe (Oxford Business Group, 2014).
The government of the UAE leading competent policy makes every effort to improve the well-being of its citizens. It perfectly uses the system of international economic relations for this purpose. The dependence of the United Arab Emirates on the production and exports of oil is no longer so critical. In the longer term, it will turn from being the main in one of the many other items of GDP. Nowadays, the UAE greatly develops a touristic sphere. Dubai is considered to be the most popular and successful tourist centre among other emirates.
In general, the popularity of Dubai as a resort destination consists in impeccable service, high standards of comfort and excellent tourist infrastructure. Dubai has also shown good results in the segment of conventional and business tourism due to a well-developed tourist infrastructure and a stable political situation. Thereby, it increases the attractiveness of this area as a tourist one. Dubai has been called the world’s leading tourist destination. In the future, authorities of Dubai want to increase the number of tourists. In Dubai there is the best hotel, the best desert resort, the biggest shopping centre, and the highest skyscrapers in the world. Nowadays, medical tourism is also extremely popular in Dubai. In the recent years, medical tourism as the practice of medical services outside the country of residence of the patient received a significant development and continues to be a promising area for business in Dubai. In conclusion, nowadays, Dubai is a leading centre for different kinds of tourism that is ahead of many cities around the world and other Arabic emirates in particular.