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Dubai Toursim chief: We want to be most visited city in the world

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Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat—Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing Helal Almarri said the emirate is working harder than ever to attract more tourists and investors, citing the “Tourism Vision for 2020” project.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Almarri said: “Just one year after launching the Tourism Vision for 2020 project, we have taken important steps to achieve the goal of attracting 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020. This includes the UAE winning the bid for the 2020 World Expo for Dubai, completing the first phase of the second international airport in Dubai and opening a number of hotels and tourist attractions across the emirate.”

“New legislation has also been passed that aims to help Dubai attract more visitors, particularly relating to the tourism, entertainment and business sectors. We have seen a 10.6 percent rise in visitors to Dubai hotels since 2013 and this is an important indication that we are on the right track towards achieving our goal of being the most visited city in the world,” he added.

London presently holds the title of the world’s most visited city but could be supplanted by Dubai before 2020, particularly if the emirate continues to witness such high visitor growth rates.

Earlier this week, the Dubai tourism board announced it was seeking to further improve its tourist facilities by establishing a new tourism institute for vocational training. The emirate has also amended legislation to encourage hotel developments, with a number of major hotels opening in Dubai in the run-up to 2020.

“The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has worked to amend some legislation in order to attract more visitors and attract both local and international investment in the tourism and hospitality sector,” Almarri said.

The emirate has also launched the #MyDubai campaign, which sees visitors posting images and their memories of the city on various social media.

“Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid launched the #MyDubai campaign as a unique social media experiment with the aim of allowing residents and visitors to document the vibrant daily life in Dubai during this important stage in the emirate’s development,” Almarri told Asharq Al-Awsat.