Earlier this summer, Dubai’s Department of Tourism launched an ambitious campaign to entice back travellers. In a movie-trailer-style film by the I,Tonya director Craig Gillespie, actors Jessica Alba and Zac Efron encouraged nervous tourists to begin visiting the region again. It was, of course, a typically lavish production — matched only in extravagance by August’s Emirates airline campaign, which featured members of its cabin crew atop the Burj Khalifa.
But the efforts haven’t stopped there. Throughout the summer, as COVID-19 travel restrictions slowly loosen up, the region’s hotel groups are going to increasingly exorbitant lengths to jump-start international travel, and boost the $30bn USD Dubai tourism industry, which was threatened by 18 months of restrictions.
The Palazzo Versace Dubai, for instance, became the first in the region to bring in a ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme, in collaboration with the local payment platform Spotii. It hopes to alleviate consumer concerns about overspending — and to counteract hesitation around the prices of its suites, which can reach prices of over $20,000 USD per night. “We are already seeing travel open up further,” said Spotii’s co-founder Ziyaad Ahmed in a statement, hoping that the service will make the hotel more “accessible” to customers.
Meanwhile, resorts like the FIVE Jumeirah Village are providing visitors with additional nights on their stays through schemes like “Pay Six, Stay Eight”, in a sign of the industry’s increased flexibility in order to appeal to visitors.
Elsewhere, other hotel groups are banking on improved services and amenities to fulfil the ‘luxury’ reputation that the region has become associated with. The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, for example, is banking on family visitors. To that end, it introduced a dedicated ‘kids concierge’ over the summer, which can create dedicated programmes of activities to keep children entertained — alongside the tailored-size bathrobes and slippers they’ll be provided on arrival. “Junior guests have the potential to shape the future of this industry,” it said in a statement.
Its parent company, the Hilton Group, believes that such initiatives are vital to the success of the region’s hospitality sector. “For our hotels and Team Members, these events present not just a commercial opportunity but a chance to be a part of something greater,” a spokesperson for the group told HYPEBEAST.
“We’re playing a role on the frontline delivering the visitor experience, and really showcasing the whole destination of the host city.”
In further-flung travel news, rumors have surfaced that the International Space Station is set to become a destination for tourists.