INTERVIEW: Cluster general manager, Radisson Hotel Group, David Allan

Radisson Hotel Group

Ahead of Expo 2020, cluster general manager, Radisson Hotel Group, David Allan exclusively speaks to TTG about the success story that is Dubai.

TTG: What has tourism been like for the emirate in 2019? What are some noteworthy changes and updates?
The UAE is the most visited Middle Eastern country so far in 2019. Dubai has seen a sharp rise in hotel room supply, which demonstrates the emirate’s tourist market continuing to boom. Tourism’s contribution to Dubai’s gross domestic product has jumped positively over the past decade and the number of those employed in the business rose by over 100 per cent in the same period.

Dubai’s new visa policies have opened up new source markets which contribute to growing demand year-on-year. We have a very competitive market for hotels but are fortunate to have this continued supply growth.

IMEX Frankfurt 2020

TTG: What are some of the most visited places in the Dubai? What’s currently on high demand?
Burj Khalifa remains the number one attraction in Dubai in addition to the Global Village, IMG World of Adventure, Old Dubai, the creek, the spice market, the gold market and Palm Jumeirah.  Not to mention the world class retail offering in Dubai, as well as other theme parks, which further stimulate family tourism. Dubai really does have something for everyone.

TTG: What exciting tourism-related projects are lined up for 2020? What is your forecast for the upcoming year?
Dubai metro’s route extension and, of course, Expo 2020 are the big ticket projects for next year.  We are certainly looking at growth in our hotels as a result of these projects and are very positive regarding the overall outlook for 2020 in Dubai.

TTG: What final preparations are you undertaking for the grand inauguration of Expo 2020? How do you think the event will impact Radisson Hotel Group?
My team is always attending all Expo 2020 meetings and we are working towards all the necessary actions that should be taken to insure a smooth and enjoyable experience for tourists when they are here.

The Expo 2020 team has been refreshingly supportive and is actively engaging with our hotels in a very positive manner. We are forecasting higher occupancies and are expecting a busy operation during the full six months of Expo 2020.

TTG: What are some of Dubai’s current key markets? What markets will the emirate be exploring in the next year?
For this year, Dubai’s key markets were the KSA, the UK, Oman, China, the USA and Russia.

Dubai had started intensive campaigns towards South Africa, Australia and South Asia to name a few. Essentially, Dubai is exploring all markets, which will play a large role in the ultimate success of Expo 2020 and ensure growth for many years to come in tourism.