Not just for the rich – Dubai, an affordable travel destination



Dubai has been considered a top destination for many travelers around the world and in South Africa, the city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has an interesting and glamorous image for locals.

We’ve all seen it, it’s a city synonymous with rich and famous, high-flying politicians and your favorite influencers. Recently in pop culture, The Real Housewives of Dubai presented the city in a different light to viewers around the world, dispelling some assumptions about Dubai.

Dubai is fast becoming a destination for families, girls travel and yes for its affordability.

Dubai tourism in numbers:

Made up of 85% expatriates, with only around 15% Emiratis. TripAdvisor The Travelers Choice Awards at the start of the year awarded Dubai the world’s number one destination and one of the best experiences at the start of the year.

Other impressive figures include Dubai hotels maintaining an average occupancy level of 76% from January to May 2022. The city also ranked number one globally according to data from hotel management analytics firm STR .

Dubai Roadshow

Dubai Tourism traveled to South Africa for approximately 10 days to organize a road show in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. One of their goals was to dispel myths that Dubai is too expensive a destination to visit.

The Dubai Tourism team has not visited South African shores since 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Stella Fubara, regional director for international operations at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said they need to reconnect with local travel agencies, old and new, especially to find out what locals are looking for when they fly to Dubai.

Stella Fubara is Regional Director of International Operations at Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). Image: Provided

She says the welcome they have received is a clear demonstration that South Africa is ready to explore again and learn more about Dubai.

Fubara says common characteristics of travel South Africans are adventurous, fun-loving, seek relaxed travel and, surprisingly, are not interested in shopping.

Mythbusters – Dubai is affordable

Local travelers love a destination that won’t break their budget or a country or region known for its discount deals.

Fubara says they are working hard to change the perception that Dubai is expensive.

“Dubai is affordable. During our peak travel season, which is June, July and August, it is the low occupancy season in Dubai. Fubara shares that she is aware of five-star hotels available for $50 (R855) a night that travel agents need to be aware of, so they can share with the general public, including all-inclusive resorts.

Health care

A city known for its luxury offerings in terms of accommodation and high-end restaurants, little is known about its equally impressive health facilities.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dubai Healthcare Authority established the official Dubai Medical Tourism. Fubara says they inform people how easy it is to perform certain health procedures in Dubai such as checkups, fertility treatments, cosmetics, wellness, homeopathy and much more .

Dubai Roadshow at the Marriot Hotel, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. Image: Provided

Seeing the fluctuation in flight prices, Fubara estimates R8,000 up to R20,000 for a flight to Dubai, all of course depends on the type of accommodation you choose and other additional costs such as food and activities.

If you are planning your trip, Dubai Calendar keeps you informed of all the arts and cultural events happening in the city, as there will be thousands of them.

Easy booking

Booking a flight to Dubai is simple, their partner airline, Emirates, offers some exciting services such as their Economy of the best qualitythink leather seats, detailed woodwork and a separate menu choice.

Holidays in the Emirate is a portal where you can book your entire trip, flights, accommodation and healthcare, including family packages.

Fubara adds that it takes between 48 hours and a week to get a Dubai visa through these portals.

The Dubai Roadshows will once again take place every year, as South Africans continue to go at their own pace in every city they visit.

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