Video: Dubai to allow transit tourists to visit city
Dubai - Average spend by tourist in Dubai is Dh966.
Transit passengers to Dubai could soon leave the airport to experience the city, according to a proposal by the Dubai Airports that was unveiled on Tuesday.
"In Dubai, transit time will become tourism as passengers are encouraged to leave the airport to experience the city," the Dubai Media Office tweeted.
According to a video that the office tweeted, the 'Microcosm of Dubai' project proposes city-wide itineraries that guide passengers who are in transit in Dubai for more than four hours. Those in transit for under four hours will get a "virtual tour" of the city.
Nearly 4.5 million passengers transit through the Dubai International Airport every month, reaching more than 50 million a year. Of these, an estimated 46 million do not visit the city, according to the video.
Most passengers remain in the concourse, shopping or having food and beverages. The average spend of a visitor at the airport reaches Dh9, whereas those who visit the city can spend up to Dh1,000. Nearly 14.9 million tourists visit Dubai annually and the figure is expected to hit 20 million by 2020.
The 'Microcosm of Dubai' project is part of the Dubai10X Initiative and will be overseen by the Dubai Future Foundation. Major retailers have hailed the initiative, saying the move would boost retail and tourism industries.
Deepak Babani, group CEO, Eros, said if rolled out, the initiative would bring back passengers to Dubai for longer stays as tourists and support the economy in the long run.
"It is a very good initiative. A lot of people do transit, so when they get a first glimpse (into the city), they will come back again. Many of my friends and acquaintances pass through the airport, and they say that the city looks great and they want to come back for longer periods."
Nadeem Khanzadah, a retail industry veteran, said the move would "certainly boost the industry".
Samer Al Omari, CEO, MMS Global Investments, developer of the upcoming Art of Living Mall in Dubai, said it's "a great idea" to let passengers have a shopping day out during their stopover. "It will let people learn more about Dubai's malls and the great shopping experience the city provides."