The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing can help Georgia executives schedule events, open offices or conduct business in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, especially now that Delta Air Lines Inc. has launched a nonstop flight there from Atlanta, said Kathleen Leuba, the department’s marketing director in New York.

Ms. Leuba and Peggy Bendel, senior vice president of travel marketing for Development Counsellors International, a New York public relations firm, were in Atlanta to accompany a delegation on the inaugural Delta flight to Dubai, May 31.

“This [flight] represents an opening for a new region of the U.S. to easier access for business travel and tourism to Dubai,” Ms. Leuba told GlobalAtlanta in an interview at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Her office, which represents the government of Dubai to promote the emirate as a tourist and business destination, can help Atlanta companies plan meetings or conventions in Dubai. It can also put them in contact with industry associations and potential business partners, advise on opening operations in Dubai and even arrange tours for business delegations to the emirate.

Dubai is one of seven emirates in the UAE and is ruled by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The sheik is also the chairman of the Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department.

Dubai has become a “hot spot” for international trade and investment, Ms. Leuba said, mainly because of its location in the Arabian Peninsula at the crossroads of shipping routes in the Middle East.

Some 75 percent of the emirate’s population is made up of expatriates who are working for international companies in Dubai’s free zones. Companies inside the zones can be 100 percent foreign-owned and exempt from import duties, repatriating 100 percent of their capital and profits.

Dubai’s free zones include a Cargo Village that is a base for logistics companies, Knowledge City where universities and high-tech entities are located, Healthcare City that houses healthcare facilities and related industry, Media City where Cable News Network LP LLLP has a regional headquarters, Internet City and the Jebel Ali Port and Dubai International Airport Free Zones.

Situated on the Persian Gulf, Dubai is increasingly becoming a tourist destination, with some 300 existing hotels and more properties being constructed at a rapid rate. Forty percent of the economy is based on tourism, Ms. Bendel said.

To accommodate increased tourism and business, the Dubai airport underwent a recent $4.1 billion expansion that allows the facility to handle 70 million passengers a year, up from 18 million with the previous airport.

Delta’s new nonstop 14-hour flight to Dubai from Atlanta, which operates five times per week, is one of more than 90 airlines that connect in Dubai to more than 130 destinations.

The Delta flight will be popular in Atlanta and in the Southeast, according to Lee Macenczak, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Delta.

“We see this flight leading to increased business between Atlanta and the region. And we’re not done yet. We’re continuing to open new flights around the world,” he told GlobalAtlanta of the airline’s ongoing international expansion. Delta plans to open 14 new international routes this summer.

Mr. Macenczak and Thomas Milano, general manager of global corporate sales for Delta, accompanied the Atlanta delegation on the May 31 flight. The delegation included representatives of some of Delta’s major corporate clients, including an accounting firm, automotive company, a travel company and King & Spalding LLP law firm that is opening an office in Dubai, as well as other Atlanta executives and Delta employees.

Present at the launch in Atlanta were Saqr Ghobash, UAE ambassador to the United States, and Abulla Alsaboosi, UAE consul general.

The Atlanta delegation is to return from Dubai on June 4. While there, they will have a city tour, visit a beach resort and go on a shopping tour.

The Atlanta-Dubai flight departs Atlanta at 10:40 p.m. and arrives in Dubai at 8:35 p.m. the following day. It leaves Dubai at 10:45 p.m. and arrives in Atlanta at 5:40 a.m. the next day.

The new flight could be useful for Atlanta companies interested in the myriad of upcoming trade shows and events taking place in Dubai, Ms. Leuba noted. A China Sourcing Fair and DOMOTEX 2007 carpet and floor covering show are both being held June 11-13, a Private Equity Forum is to take place June 16-21, and the Dubai Summer Surprises festival is scheduled for June 21-August 31.

Dubai is hosting this week the 2nd Retail City International Retail Real Estate Event, the Hotel Show Middle East Exhibition for Hotel Equipment, Technology & Services, the International Gathering & Global Speakers Summit 2007, the Middle East Interiors & Facilities Management Exhibition, the Shopfitting, Retail Design and Signage Exhibition, the FM EXPO for property management and the 1st Annual Middle East Travel Congress 2007.

In addition to its head office in Dubai, the Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department has 14 overseas offices in Frankfurt, Germany; Hong Kong; Johannesburg, South Africa; London; Milan, Italy; Moscow; Mumbai, India; New York; Paris; Saudi Arabia; Stockholm, Sweden; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo and Zurich, Switzerland.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing –
Kathleen Leuba (212) 575-2262