Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
With 52 partners participating in the Dubai Tourism Roadshow, the Government of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), has expressed delight over the interest shown by Nigerians in the emirate’s tourism sector.
The Senior Manager, Campaigns Management, Dubai Tourism, Salim Ali Mohammed Dahman, who spoke in Abuja during the ‘Dubai Tourism Roadshow Nigeria’ held in Abuja, said in terms of trade, it was interesting to Dubai that a lot of partners from Dubai were in Nigeria in a larger group.
Salim added that Dubai Tourism took cognisance of the growth and the appetite of people who are yearning to visit Dubai, particularly Nigerians.
“So, for us, it is a tremendous success to see so many participants come in here today and wanting to know more and build new packages because Dubai always has something new to offer everytime,” Salim said.
Salim further said Dubai Tourism is focusing on West Africa, particularly Ghana and Nigeria because both countries are big markets for the tourism sector.
“Ghana and Nigeria are a big market –  number one due to the population, the young population, the growing middle class and we know that there is a history of them coming to Dubai, whether it is for trade or whether it is for leisure. And we go where the market has an appetite and that is why we have chosen Ghana and Nigeria,” Salim added.
Speaking earlier, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Fahad Al Taffaq, said Dubai Tourism had annually been organising missions to Nigeria, primarily to Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos, adding that the UAE government had over the years showcased the attractiveness of Dubai in Nigeria.
The envoy added that the development was a clear translation to the excellent relations that Dubai enjoyed with Nigeria, saying that tourism figures between the UAE and Nigeria witnessed increase in numbers due to improved connectivity.
Fahad disclosed that over 27 flights happened between Dubai and Nigeria weekly under both UAE and Nigerian carriers.
He further said Dubai witnessed about 100,000 arrivals yearly from Nigeria, with some visiting the country for tourism, others for conventional tourism such as medical tourism.
“The Nigerians that visit the UAE on annual visits especially to Dubai are around 100,000 Nigerians. And some of them for tourism and some others for conventional tourism, for example, medical tourism and so forth,” Fahad said.
On the volume of trade between both countries, Fahad said going by the 2018 figures, the non-oil trade between the UAE and Nigeria stood  at $1.5 billion.
Also speaking, the Director, Africa International Operations, Dubai Tourism, Stella Fubara-Obinwa, said Dubai was expecting 25 million visitors to the expo 2020.