HomeTravel NewsEight Irish Agents Enjoy 4-Day Dubai Fam

Eight Irish Agents Enjoy 4-Day Dubai Fam

Eight Irish travel agents – Maura O’Connor, Abbey Travel; Mary Jones, Lee Travel; Helen Stokes, Topflight; Ann Marie Griffith, Trailfinders; Margaret Kelly, Travel Counsellors; Lorraine Harrington, Travelfox; Denise Breen, Travelmood; and Hugh Staunton, Tropical Sky – joined Ingrid Aagesen of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Anita Thomas of Emirates for the DTCM / Emirates familiarisation visit to Dubai from 7th – 11thDecember, held in association with Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Accor Hotels and Arabian Adventures.

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The fam group enjoy lunch at the Ritz Carlton Dubai

In September, Dubai Tourism had teamed up with Emirates to offer eight agents a place on a VIP fam trip – and on 7th December the lucky winning agents jetted out to the Emirate for the four-day trip.

One of the participants, Mary Jones from Lee Travel, said about the fam: “When I was in Dubai 10 years ago it was just beach and souks, just a stopover destination. Now it has evolved and become an amazing one-stop holiday destination. It has something for everyone and a week is now the minimum recommendation. This was an amazing trip!”

Highlights of the itinerary included champagne afternoon tea on the 122nd floor of the spectacular Burj Khalifa in At.mosphere (www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com), a private yacht trip (www.xclusiveyachts.com) around Dubai’s iconic waterfront, shopping visits to the fascinating old souks and modern Dubai Outlet Mall, and an afternoon relaxing in a private cabana at the fantastic Atlantis, The Palm’s Aquaventure (www.atlantisthepalm.com/marineandwaterpark/aquaventure.aspx).

The group also stayed at three luxurious hotels: the Hilton Dubai Creek (www.hilton.com/en/hotels/uae/hilton-dubai-creek-DXBDCHI/index.html?WT.srch=1), the Pullman Mall of the Emirates, and the Pullman Deira City Centre (www.pullmanhotels.com).

Dubai Pullman Superior Room
Pullman superior room

The itinerary was designed to promote Dubai as an exciting and affordable long weekend destination – to compete with NYC for long weekend shopping breaks, with Dubai offering a similar flight time but with the added benefit of sunshine by the pool!

Affordable shopping options include the traditional souks and the Dubai Outlet Mall (www.dubaioutletmall.com), while affordable accommodation includes two- and three-bed apartments and 4-star hotels on the beach, Downtown and in Old Dubai near the Creek. Hotels provide easy transfers to shopping malls, which are all open to midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

When hunger strikes, affordable dining is easy to find, with lunch for under €5pp and dinner for €15pp. Great dining offers are to be had all over Dubai – with meal deals listed in the Time Out Guide (www.timeoutdubai.com/restaurants/offers/all-categories/today).

During the Dubai Shopping Festival, from 3rd January to 3rd February, is a great time to visit Dubai for huge savings and great entertainment (www.dubaievents.ae/en/festival/festivals/dubai-shopping-festival).

It is also not too late for your clients to celebrate this Christmas in Dubai! More people are now escaping the cold of home for festive fun in the sun (www.timeoutdubai.com/festive).


Agents Respond

Irish Travel Trade News asked three of the participants to give their reactions to the Dubai fam visit.

Denise Breen, Travelmood

Denise Breen, Travelmood
Denise Breen, Travelmood

Was this your first trip to Dubai?

No, I was in Dubai in 2007 but Dubai has changed so much in that time that it was like visiting for the first time!

What was your highlight of the trip?

Afternoon tea in At.mosphere at Burj Khalifa.

Has the visit changed your perceptions of Dubai?

I never realised how many activities there are to do in Dubai. Before I would have recommended Dubai as a stopover destination, but now I can see there are so many things to do in Dubai that you could easily spend a week there. I would also have recommended it more for couples, but it is actually also a terrific family destination.

What impressed you the most about Dubai?

So many things! – including the people, the cleanliness of the city, the old souks, and the view from At.mosphere.

Would you return to Dubai for a holiday?

Absolutely, I can’t wait to go back!

So what type of clients would you now recommend to visit Dubai?

All clients – there is something for everyone in Dubai.


Margaret Kelly, Travel Counsellors Ireland

Dubai Margaret Kelly
Margaret Kelly, Travel Counsellors

Was this your first trip to Dubai?

Yes, this was my first visit. It was a fantastic trip and I would like to thank Dubai Tourism, Emirates, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Accor Hotels and Arabian Adventures for hosting us.

What was your highlight of the trip?

The highlight of the trip for me was the yacht trip. It was a fantastic way to see Dubai and gave me a great picture of where the different areas of Dubai are located. We sailed from Dubai Marina, around the Palm Dubai, along the coast to see the Dubai Skyline and the famous hotels, including Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotels.

Has the visit changed your perceptions of Dubai?

As Dubai is a big city I had a perception that Dubai was going to be busy, crowded and loud, but this was not the case at all – Dubai never felt crowded or congested and it was also very clean.

What impressed you the most about Dubai?

Many different areas of Dubai impressed me. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence is a 1.7km strip offering many restaurants and shopping malls. This provides great cheaper alternative options for dining outside of your hotel. I was also very impressed with Downtown Dubai, which was nothing like I had expected – the area includes the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain. We watched the Dubai Fountain from the Address Downtown Dubai Hotel and it was amazing. We also had afternoon tea at At.mosphere at Burj Khalifa on the 122nd floor. This offers stunning views of Dubai and is a must for honeymoon clients.

Would you return to Dubai for a holiday?

Yes, I would return to Dubai. I can’t wait to go back for my own holiday.

So what type of clients would you now recommend to visit Dubai?

Dubai is now a destination for everyone, whether it’s a stopover, a family holiday, honeymoon, or golf / spa holiday.


Lorraine Harrington, Travelfox

Dubai Lorraine Harrington
Lorraine Harrington, Travelfox

Was this your first trip to Dubai?

Yes, it was.

What was your highlight of the trip?

Visiting the Atlantis The Palm and the food (everywhere we ate was fantastic). Business Class on Emirates was also a great experience.

How has your visit changed your perceptions of Dubai?

Completely! I had no idea of the layout of Dubai and how multi-cultural it is. I didn’t expect it to be so clean and the people to be so friendly. I now know where the beach is in relation to downtown and so on.

What impressed you the most about Dubai?

Again, how clean it was!

Would you return to Dubai for a holiday?

Yes – and it wouldn’t matter which area I would stay in as taxis are so cheap and every area has something different to offer. To me Dubai is like four cities rolled into one. Downtown is like Las Vegas with the fountains at the Burj Kalifa, New York with the amazing skyscrapers, Venice is like Madinat and Morocco with its rich culture and white sandy beaches.

What type of clients would you now recommend to visit Dubai?


Families, couples, golfers, groups, clients on a budget, or clients looking for luxury… or everyone! I would recommend the Waterpark and Kidsania for families and the Intercontinental at Festival City for golfers. I feel that clients need at least five days’ holidays here and not just use it as a stopover to elsewhere. The nightlife in Dubai is exciting and offers a wide variety of bars and clubs – drinks can be pricey at high-end bars so I will also advise clients to purchase alcohol at Duty Free on arrival to have a few drinks in-room before heading out. I am now also more aware that the dress code is more relaxed than I thought.


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