Ramadan presents Dubai a unique opportunity to attract a greater number of international and regional travellers seeking to experience the Emirati heritage and culture, said an industry expert.
Most travellers tend to avoid the Middle East during the holy month as they may face some restrictions in terms of dos and don’ts. Dubai, however, has been working towards changing that perception through its flexible licensing rules, which allow select hotels and restaurants to serve both alcohol and food during the day throughout Ramadan, stated Alpha Destination Management, a leading travel agency in UAE.
The move to relax licensing rules during Ramadan is due to the fact the holy month is inching closer to the emirate's peak tourism season every year. According to a report in The National, by 2020, Ramadan will fall over March and April, a popular period for European tourists who visit the UAE for the spring break and Easter holidays.
Highlighting the enormous potential Dubai holds to grow cultural tourism during the holy month, Samir Hamadeh, general manager of Alpha Destination Management, said: “Over the years, we have seen some remarkable progress in this direction. Flexible approach to food and beverage outlets is part of this strategy. Steps such as these are being welcomed by tourists as is evident from the reaction of some of our well-travelled customers such as Lee Haslett, vice president Product and Distribution at Virgin Holidays, whose comment after his family holiday in Dubai during Ramadan is: ‘This holiday is one of the best, if not the best ever holiday I’ve ever had with my family’.”
However, Hamadeh stressed: “More needs to be done in this aspect especially in terms of developing an all-round cultural experience in the city whereby Ramadan could become a must-visit period for discovering the unique Arabic traditions and heritage along with the Emirate’s other attractions.”
In the coming years Ramadan would fall in the prime tourist season. Hamadeh said, “Majority of visitors from Central and Western Europe tend to believe that Ramadan is not the ideal time to visit Dubai as they may face some restrictions in terms of dos and don’ts. But we all know it is not the case and this perception needs to change with the right product and marketing messages. Developing local attractions and packages such as more affordable and authentic Ramadan tents, dining with local families in local homes for Iftar, creating traditional entertainment programmes while maintaining cultural sensitivity are some of the options to consider. The global campaigns should communicate that Ramadan in Dubai is absolutely magical and unique.”
Hamadeh added: “Dubai is a year-round destination offering a diverse mix of experiences and Ramadan should be among the key attractions. Therefore, Dubai needs to position as the best place to be to celebrate Ramadan and soak up the local culture. A city that comes alive with the spirit of the holy month.” - TradeArabia News Service
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.