Global Village, the UAE and wider region’s leading multicultural family destination for culture, shopping, and entertainment, recently ended its 2021/22 season as one of the most successful seasons in its 26 years.

The Season 26 welcomed guests to enjoy unforgettable entertainment experiences at 26 pavilions representing more than 80 cultures.

TTN caught up with Jaki Ellenby, Executive Director Marketing of Global Village, at the recent Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai for more on the success of Global Village.

“We had 7.8 million guests in 6 months which was great and we are very happy. Dubai has had a great year in general and we have certainly benefited from that, but we have made a lot of changes to the park, and people are loving it,” said Ellenby.

“We have changed a little bit on how we are marketing the park, our travel trade business was up by 600% this year, 200 % above pre-pandemic, so it just has been a good season. We launched a new travel trade portal which includes digital contracting, which means it is much easier to do business with us. And with these travel trade partners we are getting known more overseas.

“Over and above the entry tickets, we are now selling add-ons like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, stunt shows, carnivals, dinner vouchers, so there is a lot of add-on and packages. For the next season, we will have VIP guided tours. We piloted this initiative this season,” said Ellenby.

What’s in store for next season? What a lot of people don’t ‘realise, at least in the local market, is that every year at Global Village we change quite a lot of things. All our shows are new. This year we had 15 new shows and we most likely will have a similar number for the new season. We change a lot of our partners. The way Global Village works is in May we invite potential partners from all over the world to submit their proposal, and we choose the best proposals in terms of the façade, cultural entertainment, products they will be putting in (we have a minimum of 80% authenticity in the pavilions in their product mix). Last season we had about 60% new partners and with these, they bring in new concepts, new exciting things to see, to do and to buy; so that keeps us very fresh. In fact, this year, one of my favourite numbers is that over 90% of guests have said they will come back. And that tells us that the time we spend on customer experience is paying off,” said Ellenby.

Ellenby highlights the Cultural Heritage Village, run by the Ministry of Cultural, as a great attraction. “It is a great place for tourist to come and get a little taste of the UAE of yesteryear. It is run by Emiratis who love to tell their stories; it’s authentic, is very real.

“The Global Village also offers a mix of people, those that live and work in Dubai and as a home- grown brand, it’s where the Emiratis come and are very proud of it. We are told by our guests that it makes them feel a little closer to the region. I have worked in the entertainment business for over 30 years, and I have never seen anything like it not only commercially as a business model, but also the experience. Global Village is a hidden gem,” added Ellenby.

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