Dubai has emerged as the destination of choice for corporate India.
According to travel and hospitality executives, companies from the South Asian country are currently zeroing in on the emirate for organising various high profile offshore events for their vendors and high performing employees after almost a two year pandemic-induced break.
This is adding to the surge in occupancy and tariffs in Dubai’s hospitality sector, especially in the luxury segment.
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Leading travel and tourism operators, especially in the MICE – meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition – segment are also reporting brisk business on account of ‘group tourism’ bookings by companies and event planning and management for various corporate groups.
“We are repeatedly doing major MICE events for companies from India in Dubai and a few other locations in the UAE,” Bhushan Kamble, regional manager – sales, at Mumbai-based Akbar Travels, told Arabian Business.
“Companies have not done any RNR – reward and recognition, and incentive and promotion events – for their vendors for the last two years. Hence, most of them eagerly want to do it now in overseas locations and Dubai is the safest city compared to others,” Kamble added.
The senior executive at Akbar Travels, among the leading tour and travel providing firms in India, said the firm has done bookings for over 1,500 passengers from the corporate sector in the last few weeks.
Industry insiders said the RNR and other MICE events by corporate usually are attended by 200-250 participants, but the actual numbers vary depending on the size of corporate groups.
“Post-pandemic, companies are in a hurry to travel and want exotic destinations, moreso overseas, for holding various MICE events. Dubai being the closest and its visa formalities are a lot easier than other countries, it becomes an ideal destination to have such conferences,” Poonam Sethi (above), founder and managing director of The Hotel Firm, a Mumbai-based leading corporate and leisure outbound tourism operator, told Arabian Business.
“Companies have good budgets [for such events] unlike the pre-pandemic times. Good times are finally coming back to our industry and things are looking up and looking good for the hospitality industry,” said Sethi, whose firm specialises in organising MICE tourism.
Senior executives at other travel and tourism firms said factors such as Dubai accepts the vaccines provided in India and the emirate does not have any quarantine requirements added to the decision of companies from India to zero in on the location for their much-delayed annual events.
Though travel and tour firms were cagey about disclosing the names of the companies which are currently organising or are set to hold such events in Dubai, they said most of them are from Maharashtra and Delhi.
Industry insiders, however, said the processing times for UAE visas are currently getting delayed because of huge submissions. Hence, companies are needing to plan their programmes and travel plans accordingly.
Senior executives in the hospitality sector in Dubai said the rush by companies from India to hold their corporate events in the Gulf city is bound to add to the rising occupancy levels and tariffs.
“This will definitely add to the seasonal demand in the hospitality sector – Dubai sees the highest occupancy and rates during this time of the year,” Panchali Mahendra (above), Dubai-based managing director of global hospitality major Atelier House, told Arabian Business.
“The hospitality sector, especially the luxury segment, has been seeing an upsurge in the recent weeks after easing of regulations and travel restrictions from significant markets like India and China,” Mahendra added.
Charan Chawla, head of commercial at UAE-based Citymax Hotels, said: “There is certainly an increase in the amount of enquiries for MICE for the first quarter of 2022.”
Chawla, however, pointed out that for Citymax, the volume of event and group enquiries from India has not seen a significant increase yet.
Mahendra, the Dubai-based hospitality veteran, said the trend of corporate India preferring Dubai for their high profile events, along with the current cricket T-20 World Cup-related travel from the sub-continent, will be a boon to the sector during this recovery period after a prolonged pandemic-hit sluggish phase.