Executive Summary / Abstract
Your summary should be no more than one page. It should briefly:
- Say what you have investigated,
- Say why it is important,
- Summarize your main findings.
The paper is aimed at exploring the recent changes in the UAE tourism and hospitality industry. Seeing that the companies operating in the identified environment contribute to the state’s economic growth to a considerable extent, the means of enhancing the industry efficacy must be suggested. Therefore, the opportunities provided by the latest changes in the target area, as well as the threats posed by them, need to be analyzed closely.
Promoting innovation in the industry of tourism and hospitality in the UAE is an essential step in improving the quality of service. Furthermore, the identified changes are likely to impact the state economy positively. Thus, it is crucial that the introduction of the devices that will allow managing the customer data in a more accurate manner and create the environment in which the data flow will remain consistent and uninterrupted is essential. A change in the leadership approach, along with the reconsideration of corporate values, will help manage the changes successfully.
A reconsideration of the current approach toward cost management should also be viewed as a necessity. Unless a more sustainable approach toward resources management is introduced to the tourism and hospitality industry, the chances of the companies working in it are going to be very low. The principles of waste reduction should also be considered as a possible tool for addressing the issue.
One must admit that shaping people’s attitudes toward quality standards and the principles of communication with customers is a challenging task. Furthermore, it is likely to take a significant amount of time. However, the application of the frameworks that are typically used to administer changes to the corporate environment is likely to help make the transition easier. Furthermore, it will be necessary to make certain that the specifics of the UAE culture are taken into account when promoting changes in the organizational context. Thus, the prerequisites for making the tourism and hospitality industry flourish can be created.
Introduction of the Topic
The thesis seeks to study innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry in the UAE. The study shall cover the tourism & hospitality sector in the UAE, the tourism industry in Dubai, innovation in the sector, innovation in the cruise sector, innovation in the cruise terminal at Port Rashid, and the conclusion. Tourism and hospitality, in its entirety, cover several concepts that need to be understood in the academic and professional settings. According to Tribe (2009, p. 43), the central conceptions related to tourism include leisure, entertainment, hospitality, and recreation.
Though the mentioned meaning has been adopted by scholars and professionals in the realm, contemporary authors and professionals in the tourism sector assert that it is one of the most complex domains to define, and researchers and scientists have never come up with the most appropriate meaning. Moreover, the research calls for a precise definition of the subject matter for various reasons. First, a practical understanding of the concept is paramount when establishing the objective of the research, secondly, for measuring the phenomenon and third, for industrial uses, which in this context may give rise to market studies and provide the avenue for the formation of industrial organizations.
Tourism has always been associated with leisure activities; moreover, the UNWTO has given it a more diverse meaning. The UNWTO includes, in its definition, the aspects of politics, commercial and normative theories but leaves out the conceptual aspects. Several countries and organizations have adopted its definition, which has been the official definition of tourism. According to the UNWTO, tourism and hospitality encompass the activities of people traveling to and staying in places distinct from their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for business, leisure, and other activities nonrelated to an exercise remunerated within the place of visit. Some scholars exclude the aspect of work as being part of tourism, in this case, business tourism. People traveling for work are also regarded as tourists because they use infrastructure and tourist activities. In addition, such people, while on business trips, possibly include the activities of leisure and entertainment. Nevertheless, the words tourism and hospitality are currently associated with recreational activities, yet many people do not want to admit that they are true tourists.
Other authors have developed comprehensive meanings regarding tourism and hospitality. They include different aspects that are not present in the WTO definition. According to Pearce (2005, p. 71), tourism and hospitality are activities that act as a means of communication and a link of interaction between people within a country or beyond its geographical boundaries. The tourism activity in its nature involves the movement of people from one region to the other, with the aim of gaining satisfying necessities and realization of remunerated activity. The country, hosting tourists, regards tourism as an industry whose products are consumed thus, producing invisible exports. The definition brings out the aspects of displacement, the interaction of people from diverse places and aspects of tourism and hospitality being an industry. According to Singh (2008, p. 63), tourism encompasses the study of man (the tourist) away from the home country, of the tourist apparatus and networks, and of the non-tourism and tourism worlds and their dialectic relationships.
Jafari’s definition introduces several elements. Jafari describes tourism and hospitality as a study, he mentions the facade of displacement, organizations of the tourism sector, and finally, the impact that comes with the displacements. Matias, Nijkamp & Neto (2007, p. 73) postulate that tourism and hospitality are an activity engaged in by human beings, and it encompasses the bare minimum activities that must be present for it to be said to have occurred. Some of the activities include the act of moving from one region to the other; there must be specific motives for engaging in the travel, which excludes commuting for work, and carrying out an activity while at the destination. Lytras (2011, p. 124) acknowledges that tourism encompasses individuals, businesses, organizations, and places, which combine to provide a travel experience. Therefore, tourism becomes a multidimensional activity that covers many lives and distinct economic activities.
The literature above focused mainly on tourism and hospitality. However, there is the façade of innovation, which is also paramount in the research paper. Biase (2014, p. 7) defines innovation as the conversion of knowledge into economic value as the outcome of human response to a change in the present. Conversely, Anthony (2012, p. 16) defines it as a process that combines identifying an opportunity, blueprinting an idea to capture the opportunity, and implementing the design to attain results. Therefore, innovation is a term that is situational hence what works for one organization may not work for the other. Incremental and transformational innovations are the two primary types of innovations. Incremental innovation modifies a product or a service to suit the needs of the consumer. Most organizations understand this sort of innovation, and they manage to build a specific process around it with reasonable success and repeatability.
The transformational innovation also called breakthrough, is the type that focuses on designing and developing new service and product lines different from the existing ones. Organizations invest massive resources towards such innovations with the aim of creating unique products and services, which culminates to immense profitability. The definitions above form a distinct definition for the term innovation, which is anything new (major or minor) that enters the marketplace. The act of developing new products and services serves to benefit organizations concerning profitability and market share. According to Zeng (2015, p. 10), the current economic environment has changed tremendously, and the service sector offers a huge chunk of contribution to the global economy. The environment has become more competitive and is being driven by ICT and the presence of knowledge-based economy. Therefore, the tourism and hotel industry is obliged to develop its prime ability in which innovation plays a crucial role and will assist the sector in gaining a competitive advantage.
Innovation in the contemporary economy is paramount, and it is far more important than labor, land and capital. The tourism and hospitality sector is very competitive and dynamic. The industry requires constant improvements to meet the demands of its clientele. Therefore, the industry necessitates constant innovation and enhancements to attain the standards mentioned above. Parsa (2015, p. 108) posits that the value of customer service is realized, created and determined by the sole client. Gaol, Mars & Saragih (2014, p. 722) asserts that despite the premium that high-quality tourism and hospitality products command, the prime product is similar across the entire sector. Innovatively designing the core product makes it interesting & different and establishes a unique selling point for the organization. However, how can tourism and hospitality companies be innovative while fighting the labor market issues?
The staff is one of the chief cornerstones of an organization. The workforce is the resource that runs the organization, and many companies have failed to exploit it fully by not nurturing their individuals or developing an innovative culture within its personnel. Employers need strategies that call for commitment to their employees to encourage them to commit to the organization. According to Ray (2015, p. 56), one of the ways of ensuring an innovative workforce is to enhance employee motivation, effective organizational culture that commits to innovation and knowledge transfer as the recipes for innovation in the organization. Organizational practices affect the implementation of new ideas in a firm, especially when promoting a culture that is conducive to innovation. Zainal (2012, p. 117) acknowledges that organizational culture plays a critical role in promoting innovation. The figure below is a description of the effects of corporate culture on innovation.
An organizational culture is a pattern of beliefs, values and learned ways of coping with complete experience developed within the organization’s lifetime. The figure above depicts culture as the lifeblood of innovation. A distinct culture provides a fertile ground for innovation that tolerates risk and provides enough time to try out new ideas. A vibrant culture within an organization outlines the social processes, for instance, motivation, communication, and learning. Supportive cultures tend to create harmonious relationships within an organization. Having such an atmosphere clouded with cooperation and conciliation allows employees to meet challenges and tackle them effectively and efficiently.
Employees will be able to propose new ideas because they feel psychologically safe, they feel interconnected, they feel empowered, and the atmosphere is for sharing knowledge and interaction.
The knowledge above provides a definite ground for enhancing innovation and developing new services in any organization. The structure is efficient and distinct from the norm whereby managers have to rely on their instincts, speculation and their limited experience about the keys to innovation success. According to Peters & Pikkemaat (2012, p. 115), the failure rate for new services remains high since managers fail to equip their employees with adequate skills and focus on their gut feeling. Peters & Pikkemaat further assert that the best practice champions affect innovations significantly. Such personnel are depicted as having sound leadership qualities, problem-solving skills as well as supporting and leading organizational projects. The tourism and hospitality sector has mastered the challenging environment in the last decade. The New chain affiliated hospitality operations have taken the course, and they stand out as the world’s leading market leaders in the tourism and hospitality sector. The concept is one of the several strategies that different countries have adopted in establishing a competitive advantage in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry in UAE
Overview of the UAE tourism Sector
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an Arab country located in the Persian Gulf. The country got its independence in 1971. The UAE is a fascinating nation that has witnessed fast-paced economic growth and technological development over the past three decades. The country has a population of approximately 9.2 million, 1.4 million being Emirati citizens while the rest are foreigners. It is comprised of seven states, which include Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. The UAE has the second largest economy in the GCC region (after Saudi Arabia). In 2013, the country’s GDP stood at $402.3 billion (1.38 trillion AED). Most of the Emirati states, except Dubai, depend on oil revenues for the growth of their economies. However, the country has tried to diversify into other areas, for instance, tourism & hospitality and the retail sector (Spraggon & Bodolica, 2014, p. 1)
The UAE is focused on enhancing its infrastructure to support its development agenda. The structures, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are evident of the country’s strategies towards growth and development in various spheres of the economy. The UAE has adopted tourism as one of the major underpinnings of the country’s economy, which seeks to minimize the dependence of oil and oil related activities for growth. In 2015, the tourism and hospitality sector contributed AED 130billion to the UAE economy, which is approximately 4% of the country’s GDP. According to the Oxford Business Group (2014, p. 282), tourism has become the principal economic driver towards the Economic Vision 2030. Spraggon & Bodolica (2014, p. 10) and Pantelidis (2014, p. 126) assert that the UAE is ranked in the eighteenth position out of the 140 covered economies and the leading in the MENA region on tourism and hospitality competitive index.
The country is ranked eighty-third in population is among the wealthiest nations in the world. Apart from having a GDP of over $400 billion, the population enjoys a per capita of $ 64, 840, being the sixth in the world after Luxemburg, which is the first, followed by Qatar, then Norway, Switzerland, and Australia being the fifth. The country has various sectors contributing to the overall GDP. The nonmanufacturing industry makes a considerable investment accounting for 48%, to the UAE’s GDP, the Service sector contributes 38%, manufacturing 12% and agriculture 2%. The United Arab Emirates is one of the six pioneer members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The other countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The council represents the political and economic union of all the member states. The UAE has managed to deploy strategies that focus on floating it as the most preferred tourist destination in the GCC and the entire MENA region (Schwaighofer, 2013, p. 123).
According to Pantelidis (2014, p. 126), the UAE’s tourism growth prediction is set at 5% for the years 2007-2016, against the global average of 4%. After independence in 1971, which encapsulated the Trucial agreements with Britain, the country’s economy and fiscal policy relied chiefly on natural resources, in this case, hydrocarbons. Since the discovery of oil, the UAE has moved from a society that primarily relied on pearl diving and fishing industries into a booming economy with a state of the art technology and facilities. Spraggon & Bodolica (2014, p. 2) assert that all the seven Emirati within the UAE federation and, in particular, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have made considerable steps regarding infrastructural investments with the purpose of delivering high standards of living to their citizens and foreigners. The strategies have played a crucial role in establishing international brands for instance, in the aviation industry (the Emirates Airlines), Real estate sector (Emaar properties) and hospitality industry (Jumeirah group of hotels).
According to Spraggon & Bodolica (2014, p. 2), the excellent investments pose a threat to well-established global brands that were previously associated with the Western markets. Interestingly, the UAE is the home to some of the most amazing sceneries and modern infrastructure that cannot be compared to some of the renowned brands. For instance, the UAE is the home to the only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Mall, which is the biggest shopping center ever built and the Palm Jumeirah, which is a unique island hosting the Palm hotel. The country also houses the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world and the Yas Island Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. The rate at which all the Emirates are investing in the tourism and hospitality sector signifies their pledge towards the improvement of the federal state towards growth and development, especially in the industry. Spraggon & Bodolica (2014, p. 2) further assert that since independence, the rulers of all the seven emirates have instigated long-term development plans, which depict their thirst in channeling the oil revenues towards different economic sectors as a way of securing sustainable national growth.
Conventz & Thierstein (2015, p. 58) opine that the UAE government deployed one of the major strategies that sought to attract many international visitors into the country. The Sixth Freedom agreement for foreign carriers was an advantage to the country since it increased the amount of air traffic into their hubs. For instance, in 2012, the UAE attracted more that 8.977 million tourists and business visitors who spent more than US$ 10 Billion. The figure was a 10% increase from the one in the previous year, which had over 8.129 million visitors. The UAE is increasingly attracting tourists due to the increased investment in the airport infrastructure. The country has increased its national carrier fleet, airport capacity and consistent events and facilities that serve to enhance the comfort of the people visiting. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in particular, house over 90% hotel properties. The number of room supply is likely to increase by 5.3 %, from 96,992 rooms in 2011 to 125,383 rooms in 2016.
The Image of the UAE
The previous discussions provided an overview of the UAE tourism and hospitality sector. The analysis included some of the Emirates with a strong attraction for tourism and hospitality infrastructure. Schwaighofer (2013, p. 20) asserts that the image of a country as a viable tourist destination is compelling. Different countries spend huge chunks of money to improve their image as potential tourist destinations. However, various factors can define the image of a state, for instance, the events taking place in a given country, the climatic conditions and the behavior of the locals. The mentioned factors affect a tourism destination in a positive or negative way. Proper development of a destination brand is profitable to a country in the long-term perspective. The UAE tourism sector has emerged as one of the most valuable brands in the country. As previously stated, the tourism industry is playing a vital role in enhancing the economic position of the entire country.
Guests from different parts of the world have drawn their attention on the UAE as the fastest growing destination in the areas of sports, health, leisure and business tourism. Parsa (2015, p. 24) connotes that countries thriving in the tourism sector have invested in effective marketing and advertising campaigns aimed at promoting their countries as potential destinations. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai are some of the key players in marketing their respective destinations to the entire world. Additionally, the well-established aviation companies and hotels contribute immensely in promoting the marketing activities as a way of promoting the UAE as a potential destination. Thus, attention has shifted to developing the image of the country and hence promoting it as a possible destination with more emphasis on Dubai. The year 2010 witnessed US$ 275 billion being channeled towards enhancing the image of Dubai, airport expansion, and improvement of the harbor systems as well as delivering new infrastructure for events.
The investments are improving the brand in both tourism and business perspectives. The UAE has invested heavily in modern structures as its strategy of creating an attractive image for itself. For instance, the Burj Khalifa and the skiing hall are some of the appealing projects that have enhanced the country’s image as a tourist destination. However, the state has failed to include historical, cultural and social elements in most of its campaigns and has leaned heavily on artificial attractions. Furthermore, the bodies tasked with marketing the country are in the process of incorporating some of the available historical sites into their whole campaigns for them to sustain an attractive market position. The ability of the country to design hyper-real projects has earned them a recognizable spot globally. The plans appear real even if they are artificial as a whole. For example, the skiing hall in Dubai Mall surrounded by a desert outside the mall (Schwaighofer, 2013, p. 21).
The hyper-real projects serve the purpose of providing comfortable and simple use by tourists and also act as marketing agents to the outside world as avenues for developing and transferring innovative and appealing image of the destination. In addition, having such attractions in place and the hyper-real projects signify stability in a country’s power structure and the entire leadership. In this context, the UAE has taken the lead in designing and building artificial tourist attraction sites in the Arab world. However, they lack the involvement of the Arabian historical culture. The subtopics below serve to provide a comprehensive insight of some of the seven emirates including the available tourist attraction sites and the modern hotels that provide leisure and relaxation to visitors (Schwaighofer, 2013, p. 21).
The Emirate of Dubai
The opening of the 4.1 million sq. ft Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) in 2002 opened the Emirate to the world as a center for healthcare and medical tourism. Currently, the city is the cornerstone of health and medicine in the MENA region. The hospital is comprised of the state-of-the-art medical centers, efficient laboratories, and two large hospitals, which provide fertile avenues for the treatment of various types of diseases. Additionally, Dubai and DHCC house one of the world’s biggest cosmetic surgeries, aesthetic treatment and spa facilities, which serves as a lure to a large number of tourists. The research paper mentioned a few of the tourist attraction sites in Dubai. Additionally, the city contains the Al Serkal Avenue, an AED 50 million renovation, which opened in 2014. The Avenue includes fine art auctions, spaces, and events that attract tourists from different parts of the world (Conventz & Thierstein, 2015, p. 59).
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi
The oil-rich Abu Dhabi is focused on creating an efficient and effective transport system. The emirate has increased its fleet and airport capacity as a way of establishing a tenable transport system. Besides, the city is the capital of the UAE and the home to Abu Dhabi Emirate government, thus, it holds a large number of well-educated and highly paid government employees and consultants, both foreign and locals and foreign embassies’ officials and employees. The emirate is the largest in size and population and holds 94% of the entire UAE petroleum reserves. The sound economy of the Emirate attracts large business organizations and professionals. Thus, the emirate has been able to invest in aviation, infrastructure, commercial and tourism sectors. Abu Dhabi has been able to capture a substantial share of the UAE tourism sector by capitalizing the transport, recreation, accommodation, entertainment and cultural infrastructure (Conventz & Thierstein, 2015, p. 59).
Interestingly, Abu Dhabi was the least affected economies during the global crisis in 2008. The emirate increased its hotel establishments by 64.7% from 2007 to 2012. The city had 130 hotels with 21,997 rooms as at 2012, which indicated its intent to expand its tourism and business sectors. In 2012, Abu Dhabi registered 2.4 million visitors with an average length of stay of 2.9 nights. In the total number, 37.2% were the UAE locals, 18.5% being Europeans and 17.3% being Asians. The city took its strategies higher by developing brand identities in the sector through the creation of two tourism entities, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) and the Tourist Development and Investment Company (TDIC). The two entities have channeled billions of dollars in the leisure, hotels, resorts, residential and commercial facilities in the larger Abu Dhabi. TDIC was also behind the development of Saadiyat Island. The island is a recreational and tourist facility with cultural and architectural design attractions. Furthermore, the island has museums, arts, and performance venues, for instance, the Zayed National Museum. The Yas Island serves to attract leisure tourism, for example, the Ferrari World Amusement Park and the Formula One Track (Conventz & Thierstein, 2015, p. 59).
The Emirate of Sharjah
Sharjah is the third ranked emirate in size and population. In 2012, Sharjah airport registered a 13.3% growth in air passengers attracting 7.5 million passengers as compared to 6.6 million in 2011. The emirate’s low-cost airline, Air Arabia, and the available cultural riches make it an attractive region. Sharjah has deployed strategies that focus on enhancing its position as the cultural center for the Arab world. Currently, the city boasts having over 20 museums, for example, the Sharjah Archeology Museum, Sharjah Heritage Museum and the Botanical Museum. Furthermore, the emirate holds the UAE’s oldest annual book fair, which attracts a large number of local and international publishers including visitors. In 2012, the city attracted 1.7 million tourists, who occupied 2 million room nights and occupancy rate standing at 74%. The emirate’s tourism investments and attractions pull people from different parts of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia looking for employment, hence increasing the frequency of visits and connectivity between the three Emirates, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah (Conventz & Thierstein, 2015, p. 59).
The Emirate of Ajman
The Ajman Beach Hotel and the Ajman Kempinski are some of the hotels that offer relaxation and luxury for visitors. Ajman Kempinski has 165 rooms with an occupancy rate of approximately 80%, which is profitable. However, there are several five-star hotel projects in progress along the Ajman Corniche, which serve to increase the levels of accommodation for potential visitors. For instance, the Ajman Movenpick hotel is the newly established investment with 220 rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, an outdoor pool and a restaurant. Moreover, Ajman has invested in hotel apartments that target business tourists. The emirate has several apartments with well-equipped kitchens, microwaves and cutlery that allow customers to do their daily activities as if they are in their homes (Oxford Business Group, 2008, p. 76).
The Emirate of Fujairah
The emirate is entirely located on the east coast. Compared to the other emirates, which are characterized by desert conditions, the region on the east is a mountainous landscape called the Hajar Mountains. The area is favorable for agriculture, which has been the source of livelihood for most of the people living in the place. Besides, fishing is also the source of livelihood for the population of the east coast. The emirate was previously inaccessible due to poor roads and inadequate infrastructure. However, the presence of the harbor and the international airport has played a vital role in enhancing economic growth. Currently, Fujairah is the leading in the larger UAE in the maritime service industry. The atmosphere in the region is relaxed and is attractive to tourists looking for recreational activities.
The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah
The emirate is located north of the UAE under Sa’ud Bin-Saqr al-Qasimi as the ruler. The emirate is one of the major manufacturing regions of the UAE and is a home for many experiences. Ras Al Khaimah undertook large property projects that focused on leisure facilities and tourist attraction sites, for instance, the island of Al-Marjan, the Mina al-Arab and Al-Hamra as some of the coastal projects, which have made the emirate attractive to visitors.
The Current Outlook
According to The National (2012, p. 1), the tourism and hospitality industry is destined to grow at more than 10% annually from 2012 to 2016, which is bound to outpace growth in the overall economy. The projections indicate a US$7.5 billion increase by 2016 as tourists flood the country from different parts of the world. In addition, the rate of growth in the sector is higher than the entire GCC sector, which stands at 8.1% annually until 2016. The tourist arrivals are expected to grow at 5.3% per year, which will be commensurate with the number of hotels. The hotel supply in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in particular, is anticipated to increase from 96,992 rooms to 125,383 by 2016. The increased inflow of tourists will likely to raise the average price for hotel rooms from the current $ 183 to $220 by 2016. As mentioned previously, the UAE government has made solid investments regarding infrastructure, which has emerged as a considerable advantage. The efficient support enhances tourism activities in the country since tourists can navigate quickly within the country
The Middle East region is set to contribute a large number of inbound tourism flows in the UAE. The total share is scheduled to remain at 30% mark. The bigger pie comes from the Asia Pacific region, where tourist arrivals are set to increase from 2.9 million in 2014 to 4million in 2018. Most of the visitors flowing into the country are businesspersons and expatriates from India and Pakistan, who come to look for employment. The DTCM is putting in extra efforts to attain the Tourism Vision 2020, which is expected attract more than 20million visitors into the emirate. The government anticipates approximately AED300billion in revenues from the initiative. The urge to enhance tourism in the UAE, particularly in Dubai has seen the country accounting for around a third of the Middle Eastern travel, tourism and hospitality demand (AllDubai, 2015, p1).
Summary of Literature Review
History and the Development of Tourism in Dubai
Several factors have contributed to the growth of tourism in Dubai. They include the Emirati’s exposure to foreign visitors through its trading heritage and the vision of the ruling Al Maktoum family in recognizing the potential of the city’s natural tourist assets, its geographical location, winter sunshine, beautiful beaches, and desert scenery. Additionally, the private and public sector has played a vital role in the creation of the first-class infrastructure, including accommodation, aviation, and recreational features. Currently, tourism is UAE’s most dynamic growth sectors, and this is evident in all the seven emirates. However, tourism in Dubai is the major component being that the city has the smallest oil reserves among all the seven emirates. Dubai has registered growth in tourism since the establishment of the nation. Before and after independence in the early 1950s, the city did not have enough hotels, moreover, by the late 1990s; the emirate had entered the international tourist market (Morpeth & Yan, 2015. P. 155).
Dubai had built some of the renowned luxury hotels in the world. The year 2000 marked an increased influx of tourists into the city, amounting to 3.4 million. The number of visitors has kept increasing in the past decade, earning the city a reputation as a global tourism destination since the number of tourists increased from 5 million to 10 million a year. Previously, Dubai was a pearl-diving town, and through decisive leadership coupled with its strategic location, the village grew into a profitable trading center and finally underwent a gradual metamorphosis into an economic hub for the Middle East. Sharpley (2008, Pp. 13-30), designed a timeline from 1996-2010 and connected it to Dubai as a destination for growth. The period was broken down into two phases, 1996-2000 and 2000-2010. The first phase witnessed the creation of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). The department was tasked with planning, supervision, and development of tourism in Dubai. The department has played a principal role in marketing Dubai as one of the leading tourism destinations, which attracted more than 11 million tourists in 2013 alone.
DTCM has 20 offices worldwide with headquarters in Dubai. It markets and promotes the city’s business sector, licenses, and classifies all tourism activities, in this case, hotels, travel agencies, and tour operators. In addition, the first phase (1996-2000) marked the development of external consultants, tourism policies, and the creations of tourist attraction activities such as the Dubai Shopping Festival. The second stage (2000-2010) saw an enhanced focus on some of the activities in the first phase. The DTCM designed policies and instigated new sets of activities, responsibilities, structures, and controls. The departments have instigated incentives aimed at attracting people to the city, for instance, the Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai International Jazz Festival, Dubai Air Show, Dubai World Cup, Dubai Desert Classic and Dubai Open ATP Tennis Tournament (Morpeth & Yan, 2015. P. 156).
The Oxford Business Group (2014, p. 152) report on tourism in Dubai holds that the tourism sector is one of the principal economic contributors after the global economic crisis. The report acknowledges an influx of 7.9 million to9.3 million tourists in 2011 alone, which was a 10% increment from 2010. The number included hotel guests and cruise ship passengers. The government, through DTCM, has been supportive of the sector. In addition, the tourism industry has been profitable to the city due to the political turbulence surrounding governments within the region.
Regional Tourism (Dubai)
The regional unrest, which was referred to as the Arab Spring, had a tremendous effect on several tourism destinations. Most of the tourists destined for the middle east chose to visit Dubai since it was one of the stable destinations in the entire Gulf region. Despite the unavailability of solid records, circumstantial evidence indicates that Arab spring-related tourists, visiting Dubai increased significantly hence creating a positive impact on the Emirate. For instance, before the unrest, Egypt’s tourism sector contributed 11% towards the country’s GDP in the first nine months of 2010. However, the figure has declined significantly since late 2010. The reduction of the number of visitors was an advantage to the neighboring Dubai hence growing the Emirate’s tourism sector considerably (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p. 154).
Leisure and Retail in Dubai
Dubai’s tourism sector is multi-modal. It encompasses a wide variety of tourism markets. The city was known for its high-end tourist destinations; however, the industry was hit hard in 2008-09 economic downturns. The city began to recover in 2010 after the crisis and has since expanded to become a leading tourist destination in the world. The luxury tourism in the emirate is associated with luxurious hotels and retail segments, which have registered sound returns in the past couple of years. Since the year 2009, 11 five-star hotels and 17 four-star hotels have been established while many others are in the pipeline. In addition to having some of the best hotels, the UAE is the second most targeted nations for international retail brands after London, UK.
The brands have performed fairly well due to the high number of wealthy foreigners visiting the emirate, especially from China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and European countries (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p. 154). Some of the Emirate’s largest shopping malls, Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates have registered an occupancy rate of 90%. In 2011, Dubai Mall to be specific became the most visited shopping and leisure destination in globally. It recorded the arrival of 54 million tourists, which was 15% higher from the year 2011. In addition, the Dubai Shopping Festival contributed AED 15.1 Billion to the City’s economy. A substantial amount of this income comes from the tourists’ spending money in the shopping mall (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p. 154).
Business and MICE
Dubai is a major destination for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism in the GCC region for the past decade. The Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) has been one of the emirate’s most influential institutions regarding MICE. In 2011, Dubai recorded a net income of AED 6.5 billion from the DWTC. The Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB), which is a subset of DWTC launched in 2003, is also mandated with attracting new MICE business to the emirate and market Dubai as a center for business tourism. A report released by the CBRE indicates that close to 56% of the world’s 280 multinational companies operate in Dubai, which makes it the world’s ninth most popular business destinations in the world. Recently, the DCB deployed the Dubai Bid Alliance (DBA), which is an alliance comprised of representatives from major hotels, tourism operatives MICE facilities, airlines, and stakeholders in the tourism sector. The group is tasked with attracting major events to the city with the focus on events that attract a minimum of 1500 delegates and the use of at least 750 hotel rooms (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p. 156).
The DTCM is deploying strategies that seek to position Dubai as the major cruise destination in the region. In 2011, the cruise terminal in Port Rashid attracted 108 cruise ships, up from 103 in 2010 and 87 in 2009. Currently, Dubai is the home port to some of the international cruise companies, for instance, the Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises and the Royal Caribbean International Cruises. Besides, the port in Dubai has become a major port of call for several international cruise itineraries, especially during the period of the Arab Spring since most of the destinations in the region have become uncertain. The DTCM is focused on marketing Dubai as an important cruise destination with the goals of attracting 145 cruise ships per year to the emirate (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p. 156).
Dubai’s Hotel Sector
In 2011, Dubai had registered 575 hotels and hotel apartments with rooms amounting to 74,843. Of the total, 63 were five-star, 76 were four stars, 61 were three-star, 50 were two-star, 120 were one-star, 17 were unrated guest houses and 188 were hotel apartments (Oxford Business Group, 2014, p. 156). The hotel is comprised of the local and international players. For instance, local players include the Emmar Hospitality, Millennium Hotels, and Rotana Hotels. The international hotels include the Starwood Hotels & Resorts, IHG and Marriot International. While Dubai has operated several chain hotels, the emirate’s government established its hotel company, which is part of the Dubai Holding, referred to as the Jumeirah International. The focus of the organization was to raise the hotel standards in Dubai and to challenge the existing international players such the Intercontinental Hotel, Hilton, Meriden and Sheraton (Walker, 2007, p. 171 and Pantelidis, 2014, p. 127).
Furthermore, the company focused on increasing the number of five-star hotels in the emirate while attracting the outside hotel investors whose purpose was to establish their presence in the Dubai’s growing tourism sector. The government supported the idea by channeling financial investment into the sector. Approximately 10% of the Emirate’s GDP was invested in Jumeirah group and other tourism projects that had received government support. Some of the iconic hotels include the Jumeirah Beach Hotel opened in 1997and the Burj Al Arab Hotel inaugurated in 1999. The latter is built on a manmade island and is the world’s only seven-star hotel. The strategy was successful in positioning Dubai as a luxury and high-end destination for tourists in the Persian Gulf. In 2009, the Jumeirah International Hotel & Resorts ranked 247th largest in the world, the eighth largest in the Middle East & Africa and the second largest in UAE. The company operates in 24 units in 10 different countries.
Tourism Outlook in Dubai
Sharpley (2008) developed a 14-year timeline regarding tourism growth in Dubai. The third phase of growth ranging from 2010-2020 can be added. The period is very significant towards the growth of Dubai as a tourist destination. The DTCM, under the guidance of Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, developed a strategic plan that focused on doubling the number of tourists from 10million in 2012 to 20 million by 2020. The tourism contribution to the city’s economy is bound to triple. The DTCM drafted different objectives aimed at attaining the objectives. Dubai is focused on maintaining the current market share of outbound tourism in its source markets. The emirate wants to sell the destination to new market niches, for instance, China, Latin America and Africa. Additionally, DTCM is deploying plans aimed at increasing the number of return visits and length of stays from the current 3.76 days (Morpeth & Yan, 2015, p. 157).
According to Morpeth & Yan (2015, p. 162), the 10-year strategy for Dubai Tourism is based upon two principal ideologies. The first tenet is pillared on increasing the range of events, attractions, infrastructural services and packages that provide visitor experience throughout their stay in Dubai. The second aspect focuses on marketing Dubai as a viable tourist destination in most of the parts of the world, which will increase the number of tourists visiting the emirate. The DTCM group also worked closely with the Expo 2020 team and won the bid to bring the event to Dubai, which is also a benefit to the entire MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) region for the first time. However, despite Dubai’s better performance in the tourism sector, the city is still facing challenges from different areas. The recent debt crisis affected most of the countries in the world, which are still recuperating to their original pre-crisis expansion.
Conventz & Thierstein (2015, p. 127) posit that consumer spending, particularly in Europe, was hard hit, which negatively affected the tourism and hospitality sector. Besides, the emirate is not excepted from the stiff competition from the likes of Abu Dhabi, Oman, and Qatar within the region. Moreover, the abundance of new hotel construction projects in progress could lead to a high supply of hotel rooms. The higher supply not commensurate to the demand would push down the room prices and occupancy rates in the Emirate. Considering such factors renders the long-term outlook of the tourism sector tentative.
Despite the slow-down in the number of inbound visitors from the US, UK, and other Western nations, the city is currently enjoying an inflow from China, India, Africa and the GCC region. In addition, Dubai’s well-developed transport & hotel infrastructure and the booming retail sector give it a solid advantage over competitors. The other areas include the beautiful attraction segments in the city. If the Emirate maintains its current momentum in the tourism sector, it is bound to grow into a world’s most popular and profitable tourist destination in the coming years.
Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality
Innovation is the process of transforming an idea or creativity into tangible products and services with the aim of improving the customers’ experience (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 776). Many firms in the tourism and hospitality sector have had several creative ideas. However, the major problem in the tourism and hospitality industry is transforming the creative ideas into tangible products and services (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 776). The major principles of innovations are that the innovations must take into account the economic cost, and customers’ satisfaction. Innovation has continued in the recent years to play a critical and important role in the success of tourism and hospitality. Implementation of innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry has been on the rise, from information technology aspect, to management, and in education (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 779). The important aspect of innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry is that it has created operational efficiency as well as creating increased or benefit for customers.
Despite the importance of innovation in the hospitality and tourism industry, it has always been looked down upon over the years. In the tourism and hospitality, innovation has always been a secondary priority (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 788). Most firms in the industry do not allocate any resources that aim at promoting innovation. The government has also played a huge part in overlooking innovations in the industry (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 776). However, the increasing changes and diversity of the customer needs has compelled many firms to re-think their stand and position on innovation aspect. The changing economic trends have also contributed immensely in making firms to revert their mentality on innovation (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 789). The high cost of conducting business, diminishing returns, and customer preferences have over the years justified the need for innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 771).
Continuous innovation in the tourism and hospitality sector is highly encouraged. The innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry has created and improved quality of products and services offered and improved customer satisfaction (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Innovation is usually accomplished by prediction of the customer needs and wants, expanding on the customer base, increased loyalty, while reducing the operational cost. In recent years, innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry has contributed to the emergence of new products and services (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 60). Innovation has also contributed positively towards the management, tourism and hospitality firms, and the way these firms promote their services and the outlook of tourism in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 69).
Many goals are attributed to innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry. However, the main aim of innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry is to create sustainability within tourism and hospitality supply chain (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 64). The trending current aspects of innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry are green innovation, product innovations, service innovations, logistics innovations, and market innovations. Increasing innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry has shown that many jobs are created and there is increase in environmental sustainability (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 63).
There are also many other benefits that results from increased innovations in the tourism and hospitality industry. Such benefits include increase in efficiency and effectiveness of the industry, increased profitability, and decrease operating costs (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 61). With increasing global economic hardship, innovation is necessary in devising ways in which tourism and hospitality firms can improve the cost-value relationship with customers. The global financial strain has caused many tourists to cut down on their spending. The industry depends entirely on tourist and, therefore, when the tourists cut down on their spending the industry suffers losses. In recent years, customers have been forced to look for cost effective ways in tourism and hospitality industry. Therefore, to continue to be productive and be successful, innovations are necessary for the tourism and hospitality firms (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 65).
Product and Service Innovation:
Competition in the tourism and hospitality sector has done well to promote innovation in the tourism and hospitality sector (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Many firms in the tourism and hospitality sector are trying hard to outwit each other in attracting more customers. In the process of the competition, innovation in the industry is promoted. Due to competition, many firms have innovated ways of attracting customers and improving the customer experience (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). The competition has also helped in making firms to devise ways of reducing cost of production. The reduction of cost of production has helped many firms to reduce the cost the customer is expected to pay. The reduction of the cost has helped in attracting many customers (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
The world today is more concerned with environmental conservation. The increasing use of fossil fuel has led to environmental degradation (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 8). With the increasing awareness of the environmental conservation, many people are concerned with activities that enhance the environment (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 8). The environmental conservation ranges from protecting the environment from pollution to soil, water, air, and many avenues to reducing the consumption of energy. Environment, tourism, and hospitality go hand in hand (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 6).
Management in Toursim and Hospitality Industry
Management is an important aspect in companies within the tourism and hospitality sector (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Not only in tourism and hospitality industry has management proved in other industries as well that the success of a company is determined by the effectiveness of the management system (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). In the past management of companies was an easier task since the companies were not involved in many activities (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). However, as the demand of product and services grew, so did the challenges and demand of management (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). When a lot of demand was witnessed in the tourism and hospitality sector in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), management of the companies in the sector faced rough time in implementing policies and ensuring the customers were getting the expected value for their money (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59).
There is a significant difference in the way in which the latest innovations and opportunities are used in the tourism and hospitality industry in different areas of the UAE. Furthermore, the principles on which the tourism industry in the UAE is based can be considered rather outdated. Particularly, the issue regarding consumer spending and the missed opportunities for tourist attraction need to be mentioned as the essential problems arising in the target environment. The lack of appropriate tools for managing the information required for running the related companies successfully causes the industry to lose a significant amount of money.
The research is aimed at identifying the opportunities for innovations in the tourism and hospitality area in the UAE, in general, and its key tourism destinations, such as Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, etc., in particular. By determining the ways of using recent data management tools as the means of providing target customers with the services of the finest quality, one is likely to create prerequisites for a significant improvement. Furthermore, the overall quality levels of customer service can be improved significantly.
- What challenges is the UAE tourism and hospitality industry currently facing?
- How do these challenges affect the financial stability of the state?
- What technological innovations can be used to boost the progress in the identified department?
- How products and services can be improved, and what tools can be incorporated into the strategy?
As you are reviewing the tourism industry so the research deign is exploratory and case study method. Elaborate upon it. And also mention how you collected the data
EXPLAIN, and JUSTIFY, the approach taken in getting your data.
EXPLAIN: Describe HOW you went about getting your information, your sources, and any difficulties with access to information, etc.
JUSTIFY: for example, you must make clear WHY you chose that particular sample of secondary information.
Analysis and Interpretation of Data
Different Aspects of Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E)
As noted, tourism is an important economic activity in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). The industry alone has employed 40% of United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) citizens either directly or indirectly (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 44). Therefore, the industry is important for the economy of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E). Due to the importance of the industry to the economy of United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), innovation has played a huge part in shaping up the industry (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 36). Innovation in the industry has seen many firms benefit in terms of profitability, reduction of wastage, reduction of production cost, and increased in demand (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). The innovative aspects in the tourism and hospitality industry in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) are:
Product and Service Innovation in UAE
Product innovation is the process of coming up with completely new products or improving the current product to either appeal to the customers or reduce the production cost. Product innovation has been a trending innovative aspect in the tourism and hospitality industry (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). The product innovation in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has been motivated by the increasing global economic hardship. Though there is an increase the number of tourists who visit the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), the tourists have significantly reduced their spending (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). According to (Booyens, 2015, p. 103) most tourists have been affected the economic hardship which has limited their disposable income. Due to the prevailing economic hardship, many tourism and hospitality firms in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) have devised innovative ways of making and selling their products and services in a manner that is economical and cost effective (Booyens, 2015, p. 103).
Service innovation has been an important concept in the tourism and hospitality industry. According to (Booyens, 2015, p. 103) service holds 80% of the successes in the tourism and hospitality industry. Many tourists are rank, service delivery as critical in their destination choices (Booyens, 2015, p. 63). In the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) many tourism and hospitality firms have innovated ways in which services have been improved and tourists can account for their monetary value. In general, tourism and hospitality industry is more of a service industry than a product based industry. Despite some products being involved, service accounts for more than 60% of the tourist experience (Booyens, 2015, p. 96).
Therefore, both product and service innovation have played an important role in ensuring firms in the tourism and hospitality are successful (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). Some of the product and service innovations in the tourism and hospitality sector in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) include packaging products and services in terms of cost. The packaging of various products and services basing on cost is an effective and innovative way of capturing all groups of tourists who visit the country(Booyens, 2015, p. 73). In the past many tourism and hospitality firms, targeted only the rich and most of them invested in the production of luxury products and services (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). However, due to diminishing numbers of rich individuals and growing number of middle income people who are interested in exploration and adventure, the tourism and hospitality firms have innovated ways in which has accommodated the middle income people (Booyens, 2015, p. 93).
The middle-income people account for the 80% of the profits that these firms accrue. The product and service innovation has played a critical part in ensuring that people in all social life can enjoy the benefits of tourism and hospitality (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). Many firms in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) have ensured that in the course of developing and introducing products that are more new and services, the quality is maintained. The customers in the tourism and hospitality industry are driven by the quality of products and services with the cost efficiency. Many companies in the tourism and hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) that have focused their energy on quality, quantity, and cost effective innovations have seen a huge success and growth. Another aspect of innovation in the tourism and hospitality is the production of unique products and services. Customers of the industry are looking for a unique experience. Therefore, innovation is critical in attracting and maintaining the customer base (Booyens, 2015, p. 66).
In the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), many tourism and hospitality companies have strived to maintain the level of innovation in maximizing the customers’ experience (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Examples of product innovation that has enabled the tourism and hospitality in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) to continue to grow include food products and clothing’s (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). However, some products have elevated the services in the tourism and hospitality sector in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). The development of self-checking applications in hotels in many major hotels in Dubai is a perfect example of how innovation has helped tourism and hospitality to grow.
Many Tourism companies have strived to make the customer experience as professional and as independent as possible (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Currently, visitors who would love to visit the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) can easily book a hotel, inquire a destination that he or she plans to visit, and hire a car (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). All these activities can be done in the comfort of the customers’ living rooms by use of a smart phone or computer. The digitalization innovation critically helps the tourism and hospitality companies in improving its service delivery, efficiency, and quality (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). With many tourists expected to visit the country, it is important for many of companies that fall under the tourism and hospitality to try to innovate ways that could attract more tourists as the industry has proved to be an important economic activity (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
Green Innovation in the Tourism and Hospitality in UAE
Many tourism destinations in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) are based on environment. Therefore, environment plays a critical part in determining the success of the tourism and hospitality industry (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 7). Many innovations have been effected in tourism and hospitality sector as a way of conserving the environment. The green innovation in the tourism and hospitality sector has helped many companies reduce on cost of production, create sustainability, and attract tourists (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 8).
How Green Innovation has Helped Firms Reduce Cost of Production in Tourism and Hospitality
Cost reduction is one of the main aims of many companies in the tourism and hospitality industry and other industries (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 8). Over the years, many scientists and economists have conducted research on methods of cutting down the cost of production. Many methods have been experimented unsuccessfully. However, green innovations, especially in the tourism and hospitality sector have shown tremendous success (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 8). The companies that have applied the green innovation have shown successes in the reduction of the production cost. According to (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 4)cost of production is the major impediment in any industry. Many companies that have high production cost, produce goods and services that are expensive and many of the customers cannot afford. That has lead to lose and limitation of growth (Jensen, and Prebensen, 2015, p. 5).
However, green innovation has done great in helping companies in the tourism and hospitality sector in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) to cut down on production cost, attract more customers, and improve efficiency. In the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), most tourism and hospitality companies have installed various solar appliances for water heating and other energy uses (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 788). The utilization of the solar energy has helped these companies to cut down energy by almost 50% (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 767). United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) are blessed with plenty of sunshine all year round. Therefore, many of the tourism and hospitality companies have made use of the solar resource that the country is blessed (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 783). The innovation of the solar panel equipment has helped the companies to cut down on operating expenses. The cost of solar panels is usually a one time fee, which is quite different from other energy sources (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 781). The energy from the solar panels is renewable and non-degradable. Therefore, many companies are able to save on costs that would have otherwise been used to pay other alternative energy sources (Camisón, and Monfort-Mir, 2012, p. 788).
Most tourists who visit the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) usually visit to conduct shopping and sample the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) culture (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). With so many people visiting the country, many tourism and hospitality firms have device ways of reducing wastage. Wastage in the tourism and hospitality sector ranges from energy wastage, water wastage, and encompasses the waste management practices (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Most companies have utilized an automatic energy saving innovations such as light timer and solar appliances. Most hotels in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) a light timer innovations have been put to use (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). The light timer is an innovation that automatically shuts down the lights if the lights remain idle for long. The innovation has managed to help many hotels to conserve energy as well as cut off the cost of energy (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
The water management innovation systems have played a crucial part in helping the tourism and hospitality sector (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) is situated in a desert climate condition. Therefore, clean water is a precious commodity in the country (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Water wastage has been a huge problem that the tourism and hospitality industry has been facing. Many companies have had to spend more resources in the past in order to make water available for customers (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). However, lack of conservation measures has contributed to enormous water wastage. However, various innovations have been put in place and have effectively curbed the water wastage (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Specifically, most hotels have installed various innovations in the hotels and other avenues where the client only uses the amount of water they require at a particular time. The utilizations of such innovations have made it possible for companies to save much on water cost (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
Another problem that has affected the tourism and hospitality industry is on waste management (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Due to the high number of visitors who visit the country waste management within the industry has proved to be difficult. However, various green innovations have been put in place to try to eliminate such issues. In the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), many hotels and companies within the tourism and hospitality sector have embraced eco-friendly waste management innovations, which, have helped in making the environment cleaner (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Many travel companies have incorporated the travel toilets in their travel packages. The travel toilets have ensured the customers are fully catered for, during the tourism travel (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Green innovations have gone a long way in ensuring companies in the tourism and hospitality industry have a reduction in operation and production cost and at the same time improve on the customer experience (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59).
Innovations in Management of companies under Tourism and Hospitality Sector
Due to the growing pressure, many companies were forced to employ extended labor to fill in the void that was created (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). The labor translated to more employees in the companies and that was an increase in the wage bill. For many years, the tourism and hospitality operated just within the breakeven point since the increase in demand was not proportionate to the company expenses (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). The increase in the work force has added a fraction of expenses to the already burdened companies. However, in the recent years innovations have come in handy in helping the management of various companies in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) manage their company (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). Currently, most owners of companies in the tourism and hospitality sector can manage their firms by using various innovations (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). The management innovations have helped many firms to succeed. Managers can check the number of customers who have visited or utilize his or her services and the financial trend of his or her company (Booyens, 2015, p. 103).
Management innovation has done well in streamlining the services in the tourism and hospitality (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). The management innovation has gone an extra mile in enabling the customers to rate the services and products they receive during their visit to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). The feedback from the customers has enabled the companies in the tourism and hospitality sector to take into account the issues raised by the customer to improve on customer experience (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Contrary, in the past, customers found it difficult to air their grievances or raise their concern on product and service delivery in the tourism and hospitality industry (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). However, the customers can raise their concern at their comfort of their home by use of their mobile phones and computers (Booyens, 2015, p. 103).
Marketing is one of the important components in the business world. Marketing is a way of letting the customers know or be aware of the product or services offered by the company (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). There have been an increasing urge for companies in the tourism and hospitality in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) to market their products and services extensively. United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) are one of the most sorts after destination in the world for tourism (Booyens, 2015, p. 103). The country’s reputation did not come by chance, but rather by how companies within the tourism and hospitality docket packaged themselves. Most of the companies in the tourism sector have devised ways in which, they have marketed their products and services extensively (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Innovation is not necessarily a tangible factor, as seen in the marketing in tourism and hospitality sector. Most companies in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) have strived to be as unique as possible in the marketing of their products and services (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59).
The common marketing innovations that many companies have put to use in the tourism and hospitality sector are the use of online methods (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). In every major website in the world, one never fails to notice an advertisement for one of the companies in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). The vigorous utilization of the internet has generated a lot of interest from most tourists in the world (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). The marketing innovative nature of companies in the tourism and hospitality industry has greatly benefited the country. Every year the country receives hundreds of tourists who in return spend their disposable income in the country. That increases money circulation as well as foreign exchange (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). The increase in circulation of currency in the country has greatly boosted the economy of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E). The economy of the country is to extend thus certain dependent on tourism and hospitality industry (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59).
The government of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has also played an important role in marketing innovation in the tourism and hospitality sector (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). Every year the government of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) sets aside a substantial amount of the budget with the aim of helping the tourism and hospitality industry to market itself (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). The marketing innovations by the government include printing, marketing messages that promote tourism and hospitality industry in all its products. Every asset that the government owns has some aspect that markets the tourism and hospitality industry (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, and Tiffin, 2013, p. 59). In all national carriers such as Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline, passengers are always provided with a brochure that strives to market the tourism and hospitality sector (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
The importance of the tourism and hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has helped transform the people and increase their tolerance for other cultures (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Contrary to other bordering countries or other countries in the Middle East, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) led as the most secure country for non-Muslim people who visit the country (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). The government has implemented policies that encourage tolerance. The good and friendly nature of the people of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has done well in promoting tourism and hospitality in the country (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). There are many other types of marketing innovation in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Some of the innovations include innovation in advertisements both for electronic and print media, innovation in promoting the industry in the social media, and innovation in promoting the industry by physical means. Innovation in promoting the industry through the social media is currently the most effective methods in the promoting tourism and hospitality in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Today 80% of the world’s population, including people in the third world has access to social media (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Therefore, putting an innovative advertisement on the social media is guaranteed to reach millions of people with few minutes. Many tourism and hospitality companies have identified social media as a platform for marketing innovation (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
Innovation in the tourism and hospitality sector has contributed positively both to the economy of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) and the reputation of the country. In recent years, the Middle East has had a reputation of war and other negative vices (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). However, innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has done well in transforming the negative perception of the Middle East into positive. Despite continuous innovation in the industry, there are many challenges that have hindered the innovation in the tourism and hospitality in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
Challenges that has Affected the Innovation Processes in the Tourism and Hospitality
There are many steps or series of processes that are involved in the innovation process (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). These steps or series of processes are critical in innovation. Innovation is meant to make activities in the tourism and hospitality industry easier or much simpler (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). However, there are many challenges that have affected the innovation processes in the tourism and hospitality in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). Some of the have affected the tourism and hospitality industry include the following:
Limited Resources Many companies within the tourism and hospitality have limited resources that can be put aside for innovation purposes (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). Most of the resources that the companies have been usually plowed back into the company. Therefore, the company remains with fewer resources to invest in innovation processes (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). However, some of the companies have strived to allocate a small amount of resources to innovation activities (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33).
The majority of the companies in the tourism and hospitality sector have low interest in innovation. These companies show less interest in exploring the innovation world. However, most companies have shown interest in buying already proven technological innovation (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). The companies view that utilization of innovations as risky and thus do not wish to be part of the innovation process (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33).
The Innovation process is usually an expensive and companies win the tourism and hospitality industry need to have sufficient funds (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). The process of innovation is usually a long process which involves identification of a problem, brainstorming on possible solution, agree with the idea, and then the company decides to fund the idea to actualize the innovation (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33). The whole process involves expenditure and many companies shy away from the innovation due to its expensive nature (Hall, and Gössling, 2013, p. 33).
- Limited Funds for Innovative Research
Many tourism and hospitality companies are not interested in innovative research. The companies are more concentrated on the profitability of their firms with respect to the innovation (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). Therefore, the companies provide no time and resources for innovation. It is ideal for companies to fund innovations so that they can formulate innovative technology that would bring profits to the company (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). However, many of these companies consider research in innovation as a risky investment. The perception by many companies that the innovative research is risky has proved to be a great challenge to the industry (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
- Lack of Government Commitment
The innovation issue in the tourism and hospitality in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has been left entirely to the private sector. The government has shown less concern regarding the innovation activities in the tourism and hospitality (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249). The government, despite lack of concern, the tourism and hospitality industry has done well in promoting the innovation (Hall, and Baird, 2014, p. 249).
Innovation in the Cruise Sector
A cruise sector is one of the most income generating sectors in the tourism and hospitality industry (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157). The cruise sector combines elements of tourism with that of hospitality to form a complete tourism and hospitality package (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157). In the tourism and hospitality industry, many companies either specialize on a higher percentage on either tourism or hospitality (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157). However, the cruise sector equally focuses on both the tourism aspect and the hospitality aspect. The United Arab Emirate (U.A.E) is a country that has been blessed enormously and strategically placed within the salty beaches of the Red Sea (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157).
Therefore, cruise sector flourishes enormously given the number of tourists who visit the country annually. The cruise sector is one of the most income-generating sectors within the tourism and hospitality industry (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157). The important aspect of the cruise sector is that it targets the rich people of the world. The cruise sector involves cruise ships and liners, which are huge luxurious passage ships. These ships have luxurious privileges such as bars, swimming pools, luxurious accommodation, restaurants, and many luxurious activities (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157).
The important aspect of the cruise sector is that it is not a transportation business but rather it is a leisure activity that people engage (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). Most of the cruise ships just take passages around the sea as a form of tourism and leisure. The cruise sector has over the years undergone some critical transformation (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). The issue of environmental sustainability and conservation has become part of the cruise sector. The issue of safety has also been brought about, and the issue of economic cost has also been an area of focus in the cruise sector (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). Every year, several cruise ships are launched in many parts of the world.
The important and interesting factor about the launched cruise ships is that they are much better ships that the previous cruise ships. The trend highlights that innovation is part of the cruise sector (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). Many manufactures of the cruise ship have tried to come up with innovations that strive to protect the environment, make the cruise ships cost effective, and also at the same time improve the experience of the passengers on board. To be competitive in the world, cruise sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has invested a lot in innovation. Many companies that own cruise ships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have invested a lot in green innovations, safety innovation, and entertainment productivity innovation (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44).
Green Innovation in the Cruise Sector
Environmental conservation is one of the critical topics in the current world. Many companies and countries have been urged to devise ways of conserving the environment (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). Many environmental activists have in the past launched campaigns around the world to complain about pollution caused by cruise ships (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). The environmental concern has been taken keenly by companies that own cruise ships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Bengtsson, 2014, p. 44). Currently, many companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have significantly invested a lot in innovations that seek to improve or promote a clean environment. Many cruise ships that operate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have scrubber technology innovation installed in them. The scrubber technology innovation has helped in absorption of exhaust and reduces carbon emission (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 121).
For many years, the ships played a huge role in contributing carbon emission to the environment. Carbon emission is scientifically known to be a huge causal agent of global warming (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 122). The call to reduce carbon emission led to the innovation of scrubber technology. The process involved in the innovation of the scrubber was long and very expensive. Despite the expensive nature of the innovation, the scrubber technology has gone ahead to benefit the environment as well as the cruise ships. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government passed a law that required all the cruise ships to have scrubber installed in them (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 127). The policy was meant to protect the environment in accordance with the global goodwill. The scrubber innovation has also been taken up by many countries in Europe and America.
With the scrubber technology installed, the world reduced the carbon emission by 4% (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 129). Despite the usefulness of the scrubber technology, more research on innovation that would reduce the carbon emission percentage even further is still being conducted. Another environmental conservation innovation technology that the cruise sector has utilized is the use of LED and fluorescent bulbs (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 132). The LED and fluorescent bulbs are low energy consumption electric bulbs. These bulbs have enabled the cruise companies to save a lot of money (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 129). The bulbs are energy savers and thus save a lot of energy. The cruise sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been at the forefront in championing for environmental sustainability. Many innovators are continuing to conduct research on other innovations that would help the cruise sector meet and exceed the current environmental sustainability standards (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 121).
Safety Technological Innovation
In the marine or ocean environment, safety is an important aspect. For many years, travelling on the sea had been considered by many people as a risky activity (D’Arcy, and Moufakkir, 2015, p. 125). The paranoid individuals had a right to be worried since ocean travels had so many accident reports (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 54). During the stages of development of a cruise ship, safety had been the critical aspect that the engineers considered (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 66). However, still many of the cruise ships were involved in accident incidences (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 56). To curb the accident incidences, there are many innovations in the cruise sector that has done well to improve the confidence levels of customers (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 67). The major area of innovation in regard to the safety of the cruise ship include, power, identification, safety gears, distress call technology, cameras, and electronic chips and code (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 54).
Power is one of the major driving forces in the cruise ships. Power is important in all aspects of a cruise ship (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 66). Therefore, many innovations have been carried to ensure power in the cruise ship remains uninterrupted. The people who board the cruise ships are in doing so to have fun, enjoy their time, and relax (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 54). Therefore, it is ideal for companies strive to make power available to the customers at all time. The shortage of power in the cruise ships has been identified as one of the major causes of accidents involving the cruise ship. When power fails during the night, the crew of the cruise ship could or can hit any debris in the water and that may cause the ship to capsize (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44).
The power of the cruise ships are not only for the benefit of the customers, but also for the crew as well. The power is critical since nearly everything in the cruise ship has utilized power (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). The cruise ships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been installed with back up energy plan that is connected to every circuit in the ship. A cruise ship can have up to three backup energy plans (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). The innovation of the backup energy plan has done well in preventing accidents involving the cruise ship to occur. Furthermore, the backup plan usually automatically provides the power when the main power plant fails (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44).
The importance of maintaining power in the cruise ships is critical. Most of the modern cruise ships are included with a complete hospital on board (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). Therefore, when a customer falls sick during the voyage, then he or she can be taken to the hospital. When the power fails, then the life of the customer becomes at risk in case he or she needs putting in a machine that need power (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). Therefore, the power innovation in the cruise ship has done well in reducing the chances of accidents, fatalities, and any other risks during the voyage expedition. The availability of power also gives the customers more confidence and trust (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88).
Another aspect of innovation that has benefited the cruise sector is the identification technology (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). In the past, customers had to only provide their identification and the country permit in order to enter into one of the cruise ships (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). However, due to the increasing incidences of terrorism the cruise company has taken the safety very seriously. Most of the cruise ships use electronic identification platform to store data. All passages are first identified, verified and then are let on board (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88).
All customers must be frisked to ensure no risky material or any object that may endanger the lives of another are let on board (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). Most of the cruise companies use the automatic detector doors innovation their ships. The automatic detector doors, detect any radioactive, metallic, or any other risky material. The innovation has helped a lot in arresting many people with ill intentions (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). Identification is also important in case the authorities may suspect something, and then the cruise company can easily point out to any individual since they have the record with them (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88).
Distress call has been incorporated into the shipping industry for a very long time (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). However, failure in some of the distress call has caused many fatalities in the cruise sector. However, a new innovation that is tamper proof has brought a relief in the cruise sector (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). Currently, the cruise crew can communicate with relevant authorities in case of any hitch with ease. The new distress call innovation utilizes a digital network interface and cannot be interfered by the weather. The crew can communicate effectively and get the help he or she need with limited time (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88).
Accountability is one of the important qualities that the cruise ship has been concerned with over the years (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). The accountability in the safety sense entails accounting for every member who boarded the ship at the end of the voyage. To ensure accountability is restored, many cruise ships are installed with CCTV cameras in all corridors and rooms excluding the private areas (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). If any case of accountability of persons is raised, the cruise ship can easily trace all the movements of the ship. The presence of cameras in the ship has also increased confidence among the customers (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44).
During the boarding of the cruise ship, every customer is given a unique identification electric chip or code (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44). The chip or the code is connected with another chip or code placed on the luggage. The chips and the codes are innovations that have helped many customers to trace their luggage (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). In the past, many luggage’s have been reported lost with owners an accounted for. However, the new technological innovation has gone an extra mile in solving the situation. Currently, it is rare for any luggage to get lost on board (Dennett, Cameron, Bamford, and Jenkins, 2013, p. 44).
On every ship, a safety gear is a necessity. However, the safety gear that had been in use in the past was not much more effective (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). The new technology has seen new brands of safety gears being produced. These new forms of innovation, protects the individual from drowning in case an accident occurs. In addition, the gear has distress lights and communication equipment. Therefore, in case of an accident, the individual will have a higher chance of surviving (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88).
In the cruise sector, it is important to detect a fault or an issue way before a disaster happens (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). In the past, cruise ships could develop mechanical issues, which would remain undetected for long periods, and before they are detected, a disaster strikes (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). To avoid these kinds of disasters new sensors have been developed to sense any changes in the cruise ships (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). Currently, the sensors have been in use by many of the cruise ships. The sensors on the cruise ships could detect the changes in weight, notify the relevant authority in case the ship is overloaded, detect any leakages, detect any incomplete circuits and many others faulty incidences. The detector innovation has helped the cruise sector to avoid so many probable disasters (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88).
Cruise ships are mainly used for entertainment purposes. Therefore, many companies that own cruise ships have invested a lot in the innovation of the entertainment technologies. The entertainment technologies and innovations that are in use in many cruise ships include sound systems, visual systems, physical activity systems, and many entertainment facilities (Papathanassis, Breitner, and de Groot, 2014, p. 88). The competition in the cruise sector has led to various unique innovations in the cruise sector. Some of the entertainment innovations that have been extensively used in the cruise sector are sound and music entertainment equipments, visual 3D equipments, and many others (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157). The sector attracts customers by the use of entertainment equipments. Therefore, the more a cruise ship has entertaining facilities, the more customers it would attract (Spiegel, 2012, p. 157).
Innovation in Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid
Port Rashid is a commercial port located in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Di Foggia, and Lazzarotti, 2013, p. 43). The port was named after Rashid bin Said Al Maktoum and was opened in 1972. The port has a depth of 43 feet and accommodates both cargo and passenger ships (Di Foggia, and Lazzarotti, 2013, p. 43). However, the port will be turned into a cruise terminal at the end of March 2018. All cargo activities will be moved to Jebel Ali Port (Di Foggia, and Lazzarotti, 2013, p. 43). Since the opening of the cruise terminal, the economic activity of Dubai has increased tremendously (Di Foggia, and Lazzarotti, 2013, p. 43). The port receives thousands of visitors each year with the majority of the people being tourists who are eager to explore the cruise voyage. The Cruise terminal at Port Rashid is ranked among the best five luxury ports in the world. A lot of innovation has been carried out at the port to enhance service delivery and also to attract customers (Di Foggia, and Lazzarotti, 2013, p. 43).
One of the greatest innovations to be carried out at the cruise terminal is the introduction of the self-help desk (Miller, 2013, p. 53). Any visitor who is not familiar with the terminal can easily find his or her way around by the use of the self-help desk. The self-help desks are technology booths that are available at the terminal (Miller, 2013, p. 53). If a person wants to get to any point at the terminal, he or she just types where he or she wants to go and the booth will automatically give him or her direction (Miller, 2013, p. 53). The innovation was made possible due to the increasing incidences of the language barrier. The same services can be accessed from the mobile phone (Menoret, 2014, p. 642). A person just downloads a help desk application for the cruise terminal and he or she is can utilize the innovative. The terminal has made available strong free Wi-Fi technology; therefore, the customer will download the application free of charge (Miller, 2013, p. 53).
The other innovation that has brought a lot of convenience in the cruise terminal is the money exchange application. There is a lot of application suggestion when one visits the cruise terminal (Miller, 2013, p. 53). The most useful and convenient application is the money exchange application (Menoret, 2014, p. 642). The application gives the customer more information on the current monetary exchange, and the customer can use the application to know how much he or she can get in return after converting his or her home currency to local currency (Miller, 2013, p. 53). The cruise terminal has invested in entertainment devices. In every seat at the terminal, a sound system and visual system are provided (Menoret, 2014, p. 642). Therefore, when an individual is tired or wants to relax, he or she can just approach one of the rest chairs at the terminal and either listen to music or watch any local programs on the visual equipment provided. The cruise terminal in Port Rashid is one of the best cruise terminals in the world. The terminal has embraced the technology effectively (Menoret, 2014, p. 642).
Conclusion and Recommendations
The research paper focused on tourism and hospitality industry in the UAE with more emphasis on innovation. The UAE has grown to be a leading tourist destination in the entire MENA region and the world as a whole. It has been part of the ambition of the rulers of all the seven emirates have instigated long-term development plans that seek to improve the tourism and hospitality sector in the country. Innovation has been the cornerstone of the tourism and hospitality sector in the country. The UAE government in a bid to diversify the economy is shifting overreliance in the oils sector to other areas such as tourism and hospitality. Therefore, it has proved handy in injecting financial investments that seek to actualize most of the innovations in the tourism and hospitality sector. The research established that the hospitality sector accounts for almost 4% of the entire GDP. Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be specific, have received a large chunk of government resources aimed at improving the tourism and hospitality sector.
The two emirates are focused on enhancing the hospitality industry by improving the number of hotel rooms and transport infrastructure. The frameworks deployed have been helpful in establishing international brands, in this context, the aviation industry (the Emirates and Etihad Airlines, Emaar properties in the Real estate sector and Jumeirah group of hotels in the hospitality industry. The sound international brands are currently posing a threat to some of the original brands that were associated with the Western markets. Interestingly, the UAE is the home of the only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, one of the biggest shopping malls, the Dubai Mall, and the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. Apart from building the ultra-modern tourist attraction structures, the country has instigated friendly policies, such as the Sixth Freedom agreement that allows international flights to use its airspace without mutual landing rights. The strategy has increased the number of visitor influx into the country thus enhancing the profitability in the industry sector.
The statics indicate the country being one of the leading destinations in the world. in 2012 alone, the country attracted more than 8.977 million tourists and business visitors who spent more than US$ 10 Billion. The figure was a 10% increase from the one in the previous year, which had over 8.129 million visitors. Therefore, the coming Dubai Expo 2020 has propelled the governments of both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which house over 90% hotel properties, to deploy strategies that seek to increase the number of rooms to match the number of expected tourists. The number of room supply is likely to increase by 5.3 %, from 96,992 rooms in 2011 to 125,383 rooms in 2016. Dubai, in particular, had a well-structured 14-year plan that sought to float it on top of the world as an attractive destination. The emirate established the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), which is tasked with planning, supervision & development of tourism in Dubai and marketing the country worldwide.
The department has been able to instigate several incentives such as the Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai International Jazz Festival, Dubai World Cup and Dubai Desert Classic. Additionally, the department oversaw the construction of leisure projects, in this case, 11 five-star hotels and 17 four-star hotels in the past three years. In 2011, the number stood at 63 five-star hotels, 76 four-star, 61 three-star, 50 two-star, 120 one star, 17 unrated guest houses and 188 hotel apartments, totaling to 575 hotels and hotel apartments.
Moreover, its popularity as a tourist destination has seen more that 50% of the world’s largest multinationals setting up shop in the emirate. The third phase of Dubai tourism from 2010-2020 is paramount towards the attainment of Tourism Vision 2020. The strategy seeks to attract approximately 20milion tourists by 2020 tripling the emirate’s economy. The approach stands to encourage the length of stay, return visits and marketing of the city as a probable destination. Having such strategies in place is bound to market the UAE as the world’s most popular and profitable tourist destination in the coming years.
Furthermore, the aspect of innovation in the tourism and hospitality has enabled companies within the industry to cut down on costs, increase efficiency, improve the environment, and boost their profitability. In the cruise sector, innovation has raised the confidence level of customers due to increased safety measures. The innovation has also boosted the entertainment and environmental compliance in the cruise sector. The cruise terminal of Port Rashid has exhibited many innovations, which has seen it ranked among the best cruise terminals in the world and the most visited cruise terminals in the world.
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