ISLAMABAD: Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is making significant strides to increase tourist arrivals from Pakistan, with an ambitious plan for continued growth in 2024, in line with the visionary Dubai Economic Agenda 2033 to further consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure.
With Dubai welcoming 13.90 million international visitors from January – October 2023, surpassing the pre-pandemic performance of attracting 13.50 million visitors for the same period in 2019, Pakistan currently stands among Dubai’s top 10 source markets, delivering a noteworthy year-to-date visitation of 254,000 overnight visitors from January to October.
DET’s recent series of impactful roadshow workshops for tour operators in key cities like Islamabad, Faisalabad, and Sialkot underscores its dedication to forging direct connections with the Pakistani travel industry. These workshops serve as a cornerstone in DET’s strategy to redefine travel experiences and cement Dubai’s position as a preferred destination. The workshops provided a platform to empower tour operators with enhanced destination knowledge, enabling them to effectively position Dubai among various traveller segments, including leisure, corporate, and incentive groups.
In 2023, DET scaled its efforts in the Pakistani market with the impactful ‘Chalo Dubai’ campaign, strategically designed to elevate awareness of Dubai’s diverse offerings in entertainment, gastronomy, and lifestyle propositions. Breaking new ground, the campaign’s exclusive Urdu-spoken video content aimed directly at the market, showcasing Dubai’s unique experiences, affordability, and family-friendly environment.
Bader Ali Habib, Regional Head, Proximity Markets at DET, highlights the workshops’ importance, stating, “Dubai is not just a destination; it’s an immersive experience tailored to individual preferences. Our goal is to create a personal connection with each visitor, offering experiences that resonate on a deeper level. These workshops are a pivotal initiative to directly engage with tour operators, the architects of travellers’ experiences. This marks our first in-market event in Sialkot and Faisalabad, demonstrating our keen interest in growing our business from these cities, given their direct connectivity to Dubai.”
Currently, Dubai has direct flights from 8 cities in Pakistan – Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Quetta, Multan, and Sialkot. This direct connectivity is a testament to Dubai’s commitment to facilitating convenient travel for Pakistani visitors.
“Dubai is considered a second home for many Pakistanis, and we aim to build on this strong affinity, tailoring our efforts to suit multiple segments and profiles,” emphasizes Habib. In addition to targeting families, DET is strategically focusing on the stop-over segment, leveraging Dubai’s popularity as the most sought-after transit destination for Pakistanis traveling to the west. The goal is to showcase Dubai’s offerings for short trips and layovers.
Looking ahead to 2024, DET plans to scale its efforts, growing its footprint in the market by expanding media and trade partnerships. “Our vision is to be in the top three cities globally for tourism. Dubai offers not just luxury but a rich cultural experience. We promise Pakistanis brand new itineraries with attractions unexplored in previous visits and want every visit to Dubai to be unforgettable.”
As part of their ongoing strategy, DET is tapping into the wedding season in Pakistan, targeting couples and honeymooners until Q1 2024. With 254,000 Pakistani visitors from January to October, DET is poised for further growth, reinforcing Dubai’s position as the top choice for Pakistani tourists. The Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism invites Pakistani travellers to explore the city’s diverse offerings, marking a new chapter in the longstanding relationship between Dubai and Pakistani visitors.
Dubai aims to be the best city globally for visiting, living, and working. Recent recognitions include being named the world’s best city to relocate to by Remitly, ranking first in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023 for the second year, and securing the second spot in the Conde Nast Travellers’ ‘Where to Travel Next 2023 Hot List.’ Dubai also topped the 2023 Executive Nomad Index for remote workers and is part of the UAE, named the second safest country in 2023 by Numbeo. The city’s commitment to excellent service across all touchpoints reinforces its status as a prime global destination for visiting, living, and working.