Milestone edition of the destination-marketing internship marks first-time participation of Russia, India and China
THE Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and organizers of Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), has announced the names of the 20 regional and international students, who have emerged as the winners of the 10th anniversary global edition of the multiaward-winning DSS Apprenticeship Program.
Rasheed Al Otibi from King Saud University will represent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the landmark edition of the longest running destination-marketing internship program, which has expanded its reach to an international audience this year by going global - furthering its decade long journey of learning, creativity and success.
The 2015 edition will see first-time participants India, Russia and China joining the program's roster of regional markets including Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Yemen, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain and Egypt in addition to the UAE.
Over 100 universities from across 20 markets were invited to nominate their top students to participate in the coveted educational initiative named the 'Best Educational Program in the World' in 2014 by the International Festivals & Events Association.
Organized in collaboration with the program's long-standing Strategic Partner -- The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) -- the internship will take place from Aug. 3-16.
The winners will each receive an all-expense-paid trip to Dubai including return flights and a two-week stay at EAHM -- one of the world's leading hospitality business management schools and part of Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding.
As part of their itinerary, students will be awarded the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain hands-on training from industry leaders shaping the success of DSS - DFRE's flagship festival and centerpiece of Dubai's dynamic summer offerings -- which began this year from July 23 and end on Sept. 5.
The screening process for the internship began with each participating university nominating its top six senior students from marketing, business administration, travel and tourism, event management and finance streams.
Thereafter, each nominated student was requested to develop an original and well-researched essay on the topic: "What would you do differently for DSS 2015, in terms of promoting and positioning this event for your local market, if you were assigned the position of Chief Marketing Officer for DSS?"
In his winning essay, Rasheed Al Otibi said: "To attract tourists, I suggest that we collaborate with travel agencies in various cities, asking them to create affordable tour packages tailormade for DSS.
These should include discounts on hotels and airfare. In addition to that, it is essential that partnerships are formed with restaurants around Dubai so that visitors can avail dining vouchers and discounts.
Furthermore, since this is the 18th edition of DSS, we can host a promotion in collaboration with popular city restaurants to give away 18 group vouchers by way of prizes.
The photos and videos from these dining promotions can be used as testament to the fun and celebration, thereby attracting more tourists to take part in DSS in the following years."
An esteemed jury comprising senior DFRE executives and other marketing professionals evaluated the submitted applications on the basis of the criteria set out by DFRE which included quality of writing and thoroughness in completing the required nomination documents.
A high degree of ambition and potential to make valuable contributions for the betterment of DSS, were other important factors that were taken into consideration by the jury before they shortlisted a winner from each of the 20 markets.
Laila Suhail, CEO of DFRE, said: "We congratulate Rasheed for being chosen to participate in the landmark edition of the DSS Apprenticeship Program.
His ideas for promoting DSS in Saudi Arabia are remarkable, proving his capability in contributing to the future growth of the festival across the region.
His passion for excellence is evident through the strategies he has suggested, and we believe that the training he receives as part of the program will reinforce his skills further."
During the internship, all the students will also be invited to attend a number of workshops and key DSS events as well as explore the city's world-class signature attractions that reinforce Dubai's position as a year-round family tourism destination, including the Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai and Wild Wadi, to list a few.
The apprentices will also benefit from close interactions with highly qualified industry veterans contributing to the ongoing development of the Destination Dubai brand.
The agenda will open doors for multiple networking opportunities while providing them access to corporate mentors and helping them acquire inter-personal and professional development skills for life.
Since its inception in 2006, the DSS Apprenticeship Program has become an institution, growing from 2 participating countries in its first edition to 17 in 2014.
Over the past decade, the program has given close to 100 young marketers the opportunity to work on one of the biggest tourism events and marketing success stories of the Arab world and has positioned itself firmly in line with the Expo 2020 Dubai theme of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.'
Former participants of the program have benefitted hugely from high-profile interactions with prominent Dubai-based and international entities including Facebook, MBC Group, Emirates, Dubai Airports, Emirates Flight Catering, Dubai FDI, Majid Al Futtaim Group, Emaar Retail and Roads and Transport Authority among others.
The final stage of the internship program will put to test apprentices' research, observation and teamwork skills and creativity when they are assigned into various teams to collaborate as one unit and present their reflective proposals before a jury comprising senior executives.
Over the years, the DSS Apprenticeship Program has served as an impactful credential for past winners who have obtained excellent positions at prestigious organizations and multinational companies after graduating from their respective universities.