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Dubai beyond the shopping

Carl Vaz, Country head of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said in a recent function held to inaugurate a new Dubai visa service by Dubai Holidays
PTI | By S.M.Yasir
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2005 05:21 PM IST

That Dubai is a shopper’s paradise is something that is universally known. But ask beyond the shopping and the hotels, and not much comes to the memory of an average person. There’s one more thing: the ones who have been to the Arab country may recall the sightseeing but generally also speak, in the same breath, of visa hassles.

However, things are changing for the better. Carl Vaz, Country head of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said in a recent function held to inaugurate a new Dubai visa service by Dubai Holidays, “We have a target of attracting 3,75,000 Indians to our hotels and apartments in this year. For this we need to market all our sectors.”

And that’s why Dubai Holidays is banking on cuisine, safaris, golf, adventure sports and education. Cuisine wise, Dubai is a microcosm of the world’s cuisine with food from Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and China. Besides, the small eateries offer a unique gastronomic adventure.

The safaris combine the charms of the old world — a glimpse of Bedouin life, a camel farm visit with the comfort of modern marvels such as the four-wheeled
behemoths that now rule the dunes. You can also explore the wadis or dry beds of streams that flow after the winter rains from the Hajar Mountains.

Sports is another interesting area if Salaj Jain of Dubai Holidays is to be believed. “Dubai today boasts of world-class golf courses and takes the lead in adventure sports like canoeing, trekking, mountain biking and diving. Visitors can also enjoy bowling, jet skiing and windsurfing.”

Surprisingly, education too is on Dubai’s tourist map.

Vaz pointed out that Dubai is now focussing on world class education and branches of premier institutes like BITS and SPJ have already come up there.
There’s more.

Conference facilities, bird watching opportunities and an impressive heritage are still more reasons why Dubai beckons so many tourists. But its only when these aspects are bundled with other incentives as well, including concessions for students, that Dubai would be everyone’s dream destination.

Visa Power

India is the third largest market for Dubai Tourism but visa norms for Indians are stricter than for many other nationalities. Indians can get a visit visa if sponsored by a local company. In the past, hotels and then Air Emirates (for its passengers) were entitled to sponsor visitors. Dubai Visa Services now offer visas to tourists irrespective of the airline they fly. Bear in mind that it’ll take you four working days to get your visa.
 
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