Ramadan brings cultural tourism option to Dubai
Ramadan presents Dubai a unique opportunity to attract greater number of international and regional travellers seeking to experience the Emirati heritage and culture, according to one of the pioneers of tourism in the Arabian Gulf.
Samir Hamadeh, general manager of Alpha Destination Management, highlighted the enormous potential to grow cultural tourism in Dubai during the Holy month, but said work needed to be done to make the most of the opportunity.
“Over the years, we have seen some remarkable progress in this direction… flexible approach to food and beverage outlets is part of this strategy,” he said.
“Steps such as these are being welcomed by tourists as is evident from the reaction of some of our well-travelled customers such as Lee Haslett, vice president Product & Distribution at Virgin Holidays, whose comment after his family holiday in Dubai during Ramadan is: ‘This holiday is one of the best, if not the best ever holiday I’ve ever had with my family’.”
However, Hamadeh added: “More needs to be done in this aspect, especially in terms of developing an all-round cultural experience in the city whereby Ramadan could become a must-visit period for discovering the unique Arabic traditions and heritage along with the Emirate’s other attractions.”
In the coming years Ramadan will fall in the prime tourist season, and the message that Dubai is very much ‘open for business’ was key, according to Hamadeh.
“[The] majority of visitors from Central and Western Europe tend to believe that Ramadan is not the ideal time to visit Dubai as they may face some restrictions in terms of dos and don’ts,” he explained.
“But we all know it is not the case and this perception needs to change with the right product and marketing messages.
“Developing local attractions and packages such as more affordable and authentic Ramadan tents, dining with local families in local homes for Iftar, creating traditional entertainment programmes while maintaining cultural sensitivity are some of the options to consider.”
Hamadeh said global campaigns should communicate that Ramadan in Dubai is absolutely magical and unique.
He added: “Dubai is a year-round destination offering a diverse mix of experiences and Ramadan should be among the key attractions. Therefore, Dubai needs to position as the best place to be to celebrate Ramadan and soak up the local culture. A city that comes alive with the spirit of the Holy month.”