MICE our focus in India: Khadija Turki, Ajman Tourism

Indian arrivals in 2021 55 pc more than pre-pandemic
/ New Delhi
Though not as well-known as Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, the Emirate of Ajman is equally keen to target the Indian market for tourism and has identified it as key focus market this year. In an interview with India Outbound, Khadija Turki, acting director general of the Ajman Department of Tourism Development, outlines segments with the highest potential for Ajman.
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Khadija Turki

Khadija Turki

How important was India in 2019 for you?

The Indian market has always been a main source market for tourism in Ajman and is ranked as number 2. It represented around 12 pc of the total number of visitors to Ajman in 2021 and has been significantly growing year over year which eventually manifested in an increase in the number of visitors in 2021 by 55 pc compared to 2019 and by 26 pc compared to 2020.

What is your expectation from India in 2022 and what level of growth do you expect to achieve in India in 2023?

The continuous increase in the number of visitors gives a clear indication about how important the Indian market is to Ajman and the expected level of growth, as we saw in 2021 the over all number of visitors increased by 55 pc, while the number of non-resident visitors increased by 155 pc compared to 2019.

Therefore, we are expecting this increase to continue growing as we are targeting 7 pc more visitors than 2021, and up until today, Q1 of 2022 has reported 23 pc of our yearly target. We are working relentlessly to achieve our targets and are confident that we will reach them.

As per our leadership’s directions, we are currently studying the MICE market and how Ajman can enhance its presence there and we are performing all required studies to invest, develop, and attract this huge segment into the Emirate, in order to become one of the most attractive destinations for MICE in the region.

What is your strategy for the Indian market?

Considered as an important market for Ajman, we have decided to enhance our presence in India. This year we have established a strategic partnership by signing a MOU with a highly reputed professional marketing company to promote tourism and culture of Ajman in India and increase the destination visitors number through different marketing and commercial activities.

The Indian market is a very diversified one, which generates visitors to Ajman from different segments, be it FIT (leisure and corporate), wedding groups, or MICE, in addition to visiting families and relatives (VFR) sector which are considered as a main pillar of business for Ajman. Our strategy is to increase the total number of Indian visitors in general and specifically the number of non-resident Indian guests by enhancing all possible promotional activities in order to gain a bigger market share and set Ajman as their destination of choice in terms of leisure, business, and entertainment.

If you were to identify one segment of Indian tourists for which your destination was best suited, which would it be?

Currently, we would say that Ajman is best suited for the FIT leisure and Visiting Families and Relatives (VFR) segments. However, in the near future we will be focusing on targeting the MICE business, including wedding groups, in addition to other segments as Ajman boasts a wide array of touristic features and destinations that are convenient for all types of travel groups.

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