A group of students from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) recently discovered first-hand why Dubai is the world’s fourth most visited city in the world when they visited the UAE as part of their hospitality and tourism studies.
The students enjoyed a unique opportunity to meet with hotel leaders and see behind scenes of the emirate’s most luxurious hotels, including the Burj Al Arab and the Marriott chain of hotels. They also visited Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Hotel to understand the secret of its success.
Cultural highlights of the trip included dinner at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, a visit to Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a backstage look at Ski Dubai and the opportunity to see RIT’s sister campus, RIT Dubai, for themselves.
Commenting on the trip, bachelor’s student Jacqueline Bouvier said: “As my first international trip, it’s been really interesting both as a tourist and having the opportunity to explore things behind the scenes, including the more cultural aspects. I’d highly recommend that other students visit the UAE as part of their studies or as a study abroad program. You realize the similarities as much as the differences.”
Dr Rick Lagiewski, Assistant Professor at RIT and trip organizer agreed: “I’ve been coming to Dubai for 10 years and leading study trips for the last 7 years. It’s amazing to see the growth of RIT Dubai. Seeing both the cultural, leisure and elite travel sectors all together here in Dubai is unique and there is nowhere else like it. The hospitality of the hotel owners and people in Dubai has been great. The access that we’re able to get and the behind the scenes tours of iconic venues such as Ski Dubai, Burj al Arab, Emirates Palace, is hugely beneficial. There is no other place like it.”
RIT Dubai’s President, Dr Yousef Al-Assaf, concluded: “We were delighted to show students from RIT New York around RIT Dubai’s campus. Such trips ensure that RIT students are given the opportunity to both see and understand global opportunities, which is especially important in an industry such as tourism and hospitality.”
According to the Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index, Dubai received an estimated 15.27 million visitors in 2016, up 7.5 per cent from 2015. It is also the top city for international visitor spending, which is an estimated at US$31.3 billion, far exceeding the second ranked London estimated at US$19.8 billion.