I recently attended the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) overseas conference in Dubai. Having not visited for 11 years, it was simply jaw dropping to see what has been developed, and continues to be developed there.
Last year, Dubai welcomed 10 million visitors, the UK being the third largest market. By 2020 their vision is to double that figure to 20 million. Will they do it? I have no doubt that they will, or at least will get incredibly close.
Dubai is not for everyone and numerous times over the weekend, I heard the city being referred to as a ‘marmite’ destination. I do have to agree with that sentiment and personally would not consider a visit in the hot summer months, especially with children. Dubai really does have something for everyone though. Yes, there is building work going on and I can only see that increasing again if their vision is to be realised. Nowhere is the concept of bigger and better more evident, this is amplified by neighbour Abu Dhabi now expanding rapidly; a tit for tat process begins.
If you are looking for luxury hotels, impeccable service, incredible food and a buzzing, vibrant, welcoming and above all safe destination, then Dubai should be on your radar. Attractions and activities to keep kids entertained are practically limitless.
The Emirates airline tie in with Qantas makes Dubai the perfect stopover enroute to Australia but the Emirates network must be the most extensive in the world so can feature in almost any itinerary. Do consider it for a long weekend or extended stay. It may not be for everyone, but it might just surprise you!
21 June 2013