United Arab Emirates
Taking this year’s coveted top spot in the Arabian Travel News Power 50 is HE Khalid Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
The past year has seen Dubai’s tourism sector face its fair share of difficulties, with the economic downturn and negative press impacting key feeder markets.
But the director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has stepped up to the plate and refused to let these problems derail Dubai’s constantly shining tourism ambition. Bin Sulayem has made it his mission to mastermind a swift recovery for Dubai’s tourism sector – coordinating initatives such as the hugely popular ‘Kids Go Free Promotion’, during the summer months, and the newly-launched ‘Definately Dubai’ brand which is soon to be rolled out globally.
As well as providing ongoing travel trade support in the form of roadshows, the DTCM’s ‘Dubai Expert’ training scheme and constant engagement into new markets. Recent figures bear testament to the success of this approach. Guests numbers have increased nine percent in the first half of 2010 year-on-year; and hotels in Dubai are continuing to outperform other markets. A study for Deloitte showed occupancy of 77.4% from January to April this year, compared to 71.5% in 2009 – a leap of 8.4%, and RevPar of US $195.72 – the highest in the world.
Deloitte cited the DTCM’s “promotional strategies” as a major contributor to these positive results. The DTCM has come a long way since its establishment in 1997, and Bin Sulayem has been there from the start. For his part in steering Dubai from an unknown enclave – into the Middle East’s number one travel hot spot; as well as masterminding its bounce back this year, we have awarded him first place in our Power 50 2010.