We’re meeting Konstantin Zeuke, GM of Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. The meeting is set in the executive lounge on the 11th floor. We have a view on Sheikh Zayed road and at the horizon, the Arabian Gulf.
“You see the large stretch of land?” Konstantin asks, “it’s the place where the ‘Mall of the World’ is going to be built, a temperature-controlled city. It’s estimated that the decade long project, which does not yet have a starting date, will require $6.8 billion in funding.”
“Wow”, I say, “Dubai doesn’t stop surprising me.”
“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is a remarkable visionary,” Konstantin says, while still looking out of the window. “As part of the Tourism Vision 2020, Dubai aims to double its visitor numbers from 10 million people to 20 million people in 2020. The emirate is working hard to promote its year-round calendar of leisure events and grow its business and incentive tourism offer by capitalizing on its location and infrastructure.”
“Do you think they can pull it off?” I ask.
“When you look at the world map, it becomes clear why Dubai is the ideal place for a meeting of global delegates. Its location between east and west makes it the perfect gateway to emerging markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. One third of the world’s population is within a four-hour flight and two thirds are within an eight-hour flight.
“Currently, Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International will eventually become the world’s largest airport with a capacity of 160 million passengers. So yes, I think Dubai can pull it off.”
“And it’s not just the location on the world map, is it?”
“Dubai won the rights to host World Expo 2020, the world’s largest and most prestigious exhibition. Around 25 million visitors are expected over the Expo’s six-month period and the development in the run-up to the event will also play a decisive role in helping achieve the Tourism Vision 2020.
“At present Dubai’s infrastructure means doing business in and from the city is easy. There are more than 600 hotels in the emirate, constituting over 84,000 hotel rooms. By 2016, according to current plans, over 100 new hotels will provide an additional 29,000 rooms.
“So if you are in the hotel business and you want a piece of the action… Dubai is the place to be.”
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