Some of Dubai‘s superlatives... Balakrishan, M.S. (2008): Dubai – a star in the east, p. 80.
Dubai‘s development Development? Definition: The process of economic and social transformation that is based on complex cultural and environmental factors and their interactions.(www.businessdictionary.com) „Dubai has identified tourism, transport, trade, construction and financial services to the key drivers of its economy in its 2015 Strategic Plan“ (Balakrishan, M.S. (2008): Dubai – a star in the east, p. 70.)
Rapid economic and social transformation... Balakrishan, M.S. (2008): Dubai – a star in the east, p. 70
Tourism in Dubai Tourist numbers have more than doubled since 1999 (Balakrishan, p. 79) Growing hotel industry Occupancy rates have increased from 66,8% in 1999 to 82% in 2007 (Balakrishan, p. 79) Strategic location connecting the Asian and European worlds Offering a „kaleidoscope of attractions“ (Definitelydubai.com, 2012) Five of the largest malls in the world Offering tourism experiences for everybody through the constant planning of new sights and monuments (Mohammed Abdullah Janahi, 2012)
Development of Dubai Some things to think about...
1. Dubai‘s economy Dubai‘s landmark Burj Khalifa was initially supposed to be called Burj Dubai, but Abu Dhabi provided about $25-billion in bailout funds for Dubai in the past year, because of its crushing debt load -> renamed as it was actually financed by the government of Abu Dhabi (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on- business/dubais-burj-khalifa-built-out-of-opulence-named-for-its- saviour/article1208413/) In 2009, almost half of Dubai‘s GDP was due to the construction and real estate sectors -> sectors which crashed during the crisis in 2008. Prices sank dramatically, and lots of companies were struggling to pay their debts (http://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/dubai208.html) Lots of unfinished construction areas in Dubai
2. Tourism would not be possible withoutexpatriates working in the service sector 82% of Dubai‘s population are expatriates (Balakrishan, p. 73) Taxi drivers, waiters, chefs, Souk... Although the economy depends on their labour, only in the last decade they were allowed to own properties and get residency visas „A majority of the cheap labor is male and live without their families“ (Balakrishan, p. 68) In contrast, high unemployment rate among Emiratis (Balakrishan, p. 68) 2015 Vision: GDP per capita of US $44,000 but expatriates earn less than US $ 700 per month (Balakrishan, p. 70) -> Tourism would not be possible without expatriates although it is one of the major drivers of Dubai‘s economy
Claiming to promote sustainable tourism but... Dubai has the third highest water consumption of the world (Balakrishan, p. 76) Proud to offer skiing in the desert Public transportation „The Palm“ and „The World“ Plans to focus on „nuclear power“ (Mohammed Abdullah Janahi, 2012)-> different understanding of what we would callsustainable tourism
Dubai‘s Positioning Dubai sees itself as a destination offering everything to everybody (e.g. families) The positioning consists mainly in offering overwhelming experiences („the tallest among the tall“) Constantly need to outperform themselves and to exceed the imaginable Very proud of their records, but easy to copy: „“short-lived differentiators“ -> better to build on the promise of something more concrete „A home of luxury brands: „Live the luxury“ <-> but the majority of Dubai‘s population earns less than US$700 per month
Branding „Destinations are products with a heavy dependency on services which act as a destination differentiator, increasing brand value“ „Branding must often start with the people of that destination“ „Pride is considered one of the greatest motivational factors“ „Positive associations with the destination experience and its people will (...) increase the brand image of the destination“ (Balakrishan, p. 66) „Dubai has identified its key stakeholders well“ (Balakrishan, p. 77)? „An additional refocus on ALL residents will create a greater feeling of pride, loaylty and unity“ (Balakrishan, p. 77)
The brand „Dubai“ Slogan „Definitely Dubai“ -> no brand recognition No emotional experience linked to the brand „Dubai has yet to decide what will be the key image differentiator“ (Balakrishan, p. 81) -> Camels can be found in many countries Need to build stronger associations attached to Dubai
6. Dubai is still a transit destinationhttp://www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/emirates_dubai_burj_al_arab-normal.jpg, 2012, online
Dubai is still a transit destination According to Balakrishan (2008), no significant increase in average guest nights since 1999. 2012: the average length of stay increased up to 3.6 days, up by 12 per cent compared with the previous year (ttp://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/theuae/201 2/March/theuae_March206.xml§ion=theuae, 2012, online) Not a long-stop location -> more a transit destination for stopovers A fact Dubai has to work on
7. Information „A key constraint of this study is the availability of sufficient information which is still limited in the UAE“ (Balakrishan, p. 83) The Palm and its habitants? Celebrities? A successful project? Occupancy rates of hotels? Dubai Media Incorporated (http://www.dmi.gov.ae/default_en.asp) Cultural issue? -> Impact on credibility
Conclusion Dubai has developped remarkably during the last decade and has... the ability to offer unique experiences to tourists But all that glitters is not gold: Sustainability Expatriates vs. Emiratis Has to work on its brand image and Its credibility