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Dubai kicks off big marketing campaign

Dubai has set itself a target of 15 million tourist vistors by 2010. A massive international marketing campaign designed to attract those people has begun.

You may have been wondering how Dubai is going to go about attracting 15 million tourists annually by 2010, a target set by Sheikh Mohammed himself. An answer is now beginning to emerge: the Emirate is going to market itself like crazy to the world over the next couple of years.

The first sign of what’s to come was a deal with CNN, the international news network, that the Government of Dubai announced last week. Over the next two years, Dubai will run a series of mini-documentaries on the channel that aims to take viewers on a ‘Cultural Voyage’ in Dubai.

The initiative is jointly funded by Dubai International Airport and Dubai Duty Free and is expected to reach 241 million viewers worldwide. Four ‘vignettes’ will run each day, and each one will be followed by a 45 second TV ad promoting Dubai International Airport and Dubai Duty Free.

“Although the United Arab Emirates is already established as a top business and leisure destination, there is a need to go beyond the commercial success story and focus on aspects of Dubai’s heritage that are still relevant to modern day life,” said HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence.

Today, it was Emirates Airlines turn to outline how it is contributing to the Dubai Inc. marketing effort.

First up, the airline says it plans to fly in 300 travel agents representing 10,000 outlets for familiarisation trips. The travel agents will come from Germany, France, Italy Switzerland, UK and Australia. They will fly Emirates and will stay in Le Meriden hotels.

International journalists are also being invited to come on ‘fly and try Dubai’ trips. Emirates reports that 70 journalists came to recent events such as the Rugby Sevens and the Dubai air show. Others have come from as far afield as the British Midlands (Emirates flies to Birmingham), India and Australia to produce business and travel reports.

“We are doing everything in our power to build up confidence at a time when some intending travellers feel uncertain whether or not they should come here,” says HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates. “We want to demonstrate to them that this is one of the world’s most peaceful countries, welcoming people of all cultures, nationalities and religions.”

All of this activity is geared towards turning Dubai into one of the world’s major tourism destinations. The Dubai government has set a target of 15 million tourists annually by 2010. The figure for the year 2000 was reported by Dubai Civil Aviation to be around 3 million.

In anticipation of a huge growth in passenger numbers, Emirates Airlines last week announced plans for a $15 billion fleet acquisition programme. The marketing campaign aims to ensure that all the new planes Emirates is taking on will be filled.

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