News: Welcome to Dubai, where world comes to work, play, shop


Having won the geographic lottery, the city of Dubai is the proverbial gateway to the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. It’s a four-hour flight away from one-third of the world’s population, and an eight-hour flight will have more than two-thirds of the global population covered. Not too many other destinations in the world can boast of such an extensive, exclusive and inclusive reach.

But location is only half the story. The other half is what Dubai and the wider UAE have done to leverage that unparalleled opportunity. From what was once a desert outpost, Dubai has come a long way to emerge as a bustling commercial and cultural centre that offers the world’s best infrastructure to businesses, residents, and tourists.

Its trading ports are second to none. It boasts of an aviation hub par excellence. Just saying the words ‘Dubai hotels’ paints a picture of luxury, comfort and exemplary hospitality.

Welcome to Dubai, where the world comes to shop, play, work, trade, and let its hair down. The growth witnessed by the Arabian Travel Market (ATM, whose 26th edition began yesterday in Dubai) is emblematic of the progress that Dubai has seen over the decades.

What began in 1994 with representatives from 52 nations deploying 300 exhibitors to host 7,000 trade visitors has now evolved into a giant industry event that facilitates $2.5 billion in industry deals and attracts 2,500 exhibitors from 153 countries.

As Dubai pulls all the stops to gear up for Expo 2020, the global event that will fast-track growth of not just Dubai and the UAE’s but the entire region’s travel and tourism sector, events like the ongoing, four-day ATM are indicative of what to expect.

The future of travel and hospitality, as demonstrated by ATM, is digital, with everything from travel bookings to advertising campaigns deploying technology to enhance visitor experience. The story of Dubai’s transformation from a sleepy fishing village to a metropolis bustling with activity is one of vision, passion, determination and improvisation. Now it is leveraging the power of digitisation to move to the next level.

Vicky Kapur

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