The 55th annual convention of the German Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (DRV) opened at the Dubai International Convention Centre (DICC) on Thursday night with over 1200 delegates that included the top-brass of Europe’s leading tour operators like Thomas Cook and TUI and German government officials and envoys.
DRV is the world’s third largest travel association with over 5,000 members, including the biggest European tour operators like TUI, Thomas Cook and Rewe Touristik.
More than 80 % of Germans organize their holidays through the DRV member-companies.
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) Director General, Mr. Khalid A. bin Sulayem, in his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the four-day event, said: “Both the Government and the private sector travel and tourism industry are delighted and honoured that the DRV selected Dubai as the venue for this prestigious convention.”
He said: “In the first half of 2005, we recorded a 24% growth in German hotel guests in Dubai compared with the corresponding period last year. In 2004, more than 236,000 hotels guests came from Germany, an impressive increase of 51 per cent. The growth level provides clear evidence that Dubai has what it takes to become even more popular with visitors in the years ahead.”
He said German investment in Dubai continues to grow strongly and currently there are over 430 German companies based in Dubai and 145 in Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Mr. bin Sulayem said under the guidance and leadership of HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defense and Chairman of the DTCM, Dubai’s infrastructure was being innovatively and continuously developed to ensure that visitors experience the finest facilities available anywhere.
He said: “The DTCM has been actively working to support the German travel industry both through the marketing efforts and by constantly enhancing the facilities, attractions and services that Dubai offers visitors. The DTCM Germany office has completed 15 years of its successful operation during which the number of German visitors to Dubai has seen consistent year-on-year growth.”
In his opening address, Mr. Klaus Laepple, President of DRV, said: “We are gathered here to confirm to Dubai the professional support of the German travel industry for the next years. Over many years and together with the DTCM, the German tour operators have established the brand Dubai in the German market. The brand Dubai stands for highest expectations when travelling. Also in the future, Dubai has to position itself via its quality.
He added: “Dubai can continue to count on the strong support of the German travel agents and tour operators. Until 2008, Dubai is planning on doubling its hotel capacities. In order to be able to master this great challenge, the emirate needs professional tourism partners on the side of tour operators and sales.”
The German ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Jurgen Stelzer, said: “The UAE is a safe destination for the German visitors given the safety levels. The bulk of the German visitors come to Dubai to enjoy the many facilities the emirate offers.”
Mr. Awadh Seghayer Al Ketbi, Director of Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB), said: “It is a privilege to host this convention in Dubai - the seventh venue outside Europe in the DRV’s history. The convention is a milestone of our hard work in Germany over the last 15 years. We are keen on building long-lasting relationship with powerful institutions like the DRV.”
A promotional film was screened to the high-impact gathering in addition a presentation by a group of Emirati schoolgirls.
For the first time, the German Travel Agencies Day was observed in Dubai by the DRV on October 13th. 20 hotels and 10 local tour operators are sponsoring the convention. The DRV board members, government officials and envoys are attending the convention.