Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) announced a new website and a mobile application at Gitex yesterday to help achieve its goal of 20 million tourists by 2020.
The application combines social media networks, search engines and holiday websites to provide a comprehensive experience and information portal for those interested in travelling to Dubai.
It has also incorporated popular Chinese and Russian social media networks and search engines to cater to a wider audience. The application will be available in English, Russian and German and will be launched before the end of the year.
"Today's global traveller expects to be connected at all times wherever they go,” said Issam Abdul Rahim Kazim, the chief executive at DTCM. "Technology and connectivity have incredible potential to enhance the tourism experience ...[it] is not only changing how and why we travel, but it also has the potential to influence where we choose to travel.”
It helps tourists to create itineraries for their trips which can be customised to their preferences and likes. Once a booking has been made, users can browse a virtual tour guide on arrival and share their personal travel experiences with friends and family through social media.
It also includes a location enabler. By switching on the Bluetooth, users can receive deals and offers near them without the need to roam and spend money on data packages.
Abu Dhabi's Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) also launched a similar mobile application at Gitex with focus on events taking place in the emirate.
"You can download the application to your tablet or phone and see events happening in arts, lifestyle, culture or education,” said Balqis Al Jabber, the service desk agent at TCA Abu Dhabi. "You can see what is happening and the app can arrange the ticketing by directing you to the main website of the event to buy tickets.”
The app is free to download and is available in Arabic and English. It allows users to add events and alerts to their social media calendars.
"It is for tourists and for people who live in Abu Dhabi to make it easier for them to know what is happening. It is not like before where you have to go on the computer and search and check. Most things are now available on phones or tablets,” said Ms Al Jabber.
Last year the U.A.E. was named among the top 10 fastest growing tourism hotspots by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The U.A.E.'s hospitality market is set to rise to US$7.6 billion by 2016, up from US$4.5bn in 2011, driven by a rise in visitors to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
"There is a trend in the hospitality industry in general towards using technology,” said Peter Goddard, the managing director at TRI Hospitality Consulting. "Technology has come a long way over the last decade. [These apps] add to the fabric of a more mature tourism destination.”
Source: The National