The recently concluded Al Rais Explore & Experience event in Dubai has set the trend for experiential customer travel shows. The event which was held at Mirdiff City Centre witnessed keen participation from 11 participants – 10 tourism boards and one cruise line.
The fifth edition of the event witnessed participation from Tourism Australia, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia Tourism Board, Cyprus Tourism Board Middle East, Korea National Tourism Organization and Philippines Department of Tourism who have been existing participants. The new boards include Hamburg Tourist Board, Munich Tourist Office, Tourism Argentina and Costa Cruises. Al Rais Tours and Holidays partner with Across Borders to promote Costa Cruises in the region.
Talking to Travel Daily Middle East, Mohamed Jassim Al Rais, deputy managing director for Al Rais Tours & Holidays said: “If we have to evaluate the success of our event, it is based on the repeat participants. In the last five years, we have had seven tourism boards who have consistently participated in our event. We also bring to the market new players such as Munich, Hamburg and Argentina, who want to promote themselves very aggressively for this summer.”
The event also had Emirates Holidays promoted exclusive packages with Al Rais Tours and Holidays. The big draw from the event was the Costa Cruise ship model on display which attracted many inquiries on the packages on offer.
Elaborating on the future plans for the event, Mohamed Jassim Al Rais said: “We have conducted two events previously which were destination-focused events. Looking at the success of our events, we are looking at growing them in size but focusing on quality. We certainly see the demand and potential for this in the UAE. Our aim is to triple the number of participants for next year. The next step would also be to the event to other regions in UAE. Next year, we are planning to hold the exhibition in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”
Al Rais is clear in its target segment for the event which is families, locals and residents preparing their holiday plans for the summer. Other areas of focus for the event was innovation in the form of huge touch screens showcasing the participating destinations.
Commenting on their participation, Adnan Ben Abdallah, marketing manager – marketing and sales office Gulf countries for German National Tourist Office said: “This event is the best way to interact directly with customers. Today’s travelers are more experienced and want in-depth information. This platform helps us present the destination directly to the customer. Yes we have received many inquiries from this event. As a destination, Munich is growing in numbers from the region. Last year, the region welcomed 525,000 visitors from the Middle East region. We expect that this number grows positively and expect a growth of 20% for 2014.”