Dubai Tourism CEO Issam Abdul Rahim Kazim on his vision towards Expo… and even further afield

Issam Abdul Rahim Kazim is the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing. We asked him why tourism is so important for Dubai.


Issam Abdul Rahim Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Dubai has almost never relied on oil as a main contributor to GDP. In fact tourism is the number one export upon which Dubai has always focussed, and it continues to be so. In 2012, for the first time, we reached the ten-million visitor mark, and in 2013 we decided our strategy would be to double that figure by 2020, while at the same time tripling the economic impact from tourism. This can be achieved by offering more and more activities, features and facilities for tourists in Dubai, meaning they will stay longer and come back more often.

The World Expo planned for Dubai will be a huge investment. What benefits do you plan to reap from this event?
For us, it’s a great platform that positions Dubai as a city that can actually host an event of this size, and that’s a major statement in itself. We have so many countries coming here that the logistics and infrastructure required in order to cater for their needs are very important. It’s not just about doing things well at a certain level, because everybody knows about Dubai’s luxury offering.


Heritage Village

The depth of Dubai’s offering is something we are really highlighting as well: the arts, the culture, the heritage and the gastronomy. All of these will be further enhanced and experienced during the expo, and that is a big advantage upon which we will be capitalising.


Burj Khalifa

Also, the infrastructure investment is important, because if we are focusing on getting 20-million visitors to Dubai, we are looking at a sustainable growth. We are talking about annual visitation of 20-million and above from 2020 onwards. So now, when we are looking at Expo, we are not building just for the Expo (which will in fact be for the entire UAE), everything we are building and investing in will be for our own sustained growth in tourism.