According to research by leading online hotel distributions and channel management solutions provider, eRevMax, over 15 million Indian travellers are planning a foreign trip. Dubai is currently one of the top two most popular destinations for them, with about 8.3 million passengers who have already travelled to or through Dubai International airport. A recent agreement signed between India and the UAE will see more flights to Dubai over the next year, so passengers will have an even wider choice and get better fares. Figures from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing also shows that Indian visitors overtook Brits as the top tourist group to Dubai, and there are now 1.75 million expat Indians living in Dubai. So what are the factors that attract Indians to travel and live in Dubai?
Family-friendly destination Dubai is a family-friendly destination. There are many attractions that appeal to children, including the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Desert Safari, and Ski Dubai. Another family destination that offers endless fun for children of all ages is Wild Wadi. Children can try the slides, water cannons, and roller coasters. At Dolphin Bay in Atlantis, children can swim and interact with dolphins. Dubailand, a regional and international tourism hub, offers a range of exciting attractions, including shopping options, sporting facilities, leisure and entertainment for families.
World tallest, biggest and largest Dubai has established itself as one of the most popular tourist destinations for Indians by setting a fair few world records. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s highest fine dining restaurant, the world’s highest observatory deck and the world’s biggest shopping and entertainment centre. Dubai has also become a frontrunner to construct the world’s first underwater hotels.
As the affluent middle class in India grows, Dubai becomes a more affordable destination. Holiday package per person may cost less than 62,000 Indian Rupee (about US$1,000) and this includes flights, visa, accommodation, meals and sightseeing. There is a range of budget hotels as well as three- and four-star hotels that cater to the middle class Indian travellers. Some tour operators are also offering a night stay in luxury hotel for those who aspire to get a taste of luxury in Dubai.
Shopping is one of the main attractions in Dubai for Indian travellers. Dubai’s retail industry is as large as the financial sector and accounts for 13% of the total gross domestic product. Dubai is the second most important international retail destination globally, according to CBRE’s 2013 edition of “How Global is the Business of Retail. Many Indian travellers are drawn to the large discount sales during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). With more than 70 malls participating, the festival groups plenty of value to high-end stores to offer great bargains. Shopping malls also organize activities to keep children entertained when their parents are shopping.
Luxury Dubai is also an attractive destination for hi-income Indian travellers. Many wealthy Indians are splashing out on expensive holidays that include stay in four and five-star hotels, private villas or beachfront hotels.
All in all, it can be said that Dubai’s success in India was positively influenced by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Marketing (DTCM) and the travel agencies which have been making conscious efforts to promote the city’s latest resorts, attractions and tours that can appeal to both middle-class and high-end Indian travellers.