Dubai Tourism launches new digital audio tours on WeChat mini program

Following the success of the first ever City-Experience Mini Program launched by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) in collaboration with WeChat, the program has been further enhanced with the launch of 10 new digital audio tours which are now available for visitors to use while exploring the city. Inviting the users of China’s most popular social networking site to easily access Dubai’s tourist attractions during their stay, the newly re-branded ‘Dubai Mini Assistant’ elevates the existing program to a more advanced digital maturity, now offering sophisticated chatbot capabilities, powered by Tencent’s AI technology, to provide seamless experiences and services to Chinese travellers.

With robust growth in overnight visitors from China in the first quarter of 2019, the new audio tours further add to the ease of accessibility for these tourists when visiting Dubai, allowing them to discover the city’s many historic sites and cultural landmarks through their mobile phones. Reconfirming its continued commitment to one of the emirate’s top source markets, Dubai Mini Assistant forms part of the Department’s city-wide ‘China Readiness’ strategy, focused on designing an enriching and memorable experience for Chinese travellers.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) said: “China is quicklyemerging as one of the fastest growing source markets for Dubai’s tourism industry, with the city welcoming more than 290,000 visitors in the first three months of the year (representing a stellar 13 per cent increase when compared to the same period in 2018). Underpinned by this sustained growth, the launch of the new audio tours on our new Mini Program ‘Dubai Mini Assistant’, further supports our ongoing ‘China Readiness’ strategy which aims to enhance the holistic experiences of Chinese travellers across the emirate – particularly those who are increasingly seeking personalised itineraries and independent travel solutions. As such, these apps will not only promote the city as a ‘must visit’, and easily accessible holiday destination, but will also provide visitors with an enhanced understanding of Dubai’s history and culture through smart and convenient platforms. Additionally, the audio tours work in line with Dubai’s ‘Smart City’ initiative, which aims to streamline and enhance the visitor experience through the provision of innovative digital services.”

Supported by GPS technology, the tours use audio narrations to guide visitors through Dubai, automatically progressing from one point of interest to the next in real-time, depending on the user’s location. The pre-recorded audios will be available in Mandarin, while each tour will also be available in text form and accompanied by a map to help with navigation.

Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism, said: “The launch of the digital audio tours on ‘Dubai Mini Assistant’ further supports our ongoing strategy to ensure that Chinese travellers are well equipped to make the most of their stay in Dubai. We have curated a selection of immersive tours that allow them to explore the city independently and our partnership with Tencent enables us to assist them with navigation through accurate content and engagement with local tradition. From historical architecture to Dubai’s remarkable gastronomy and iconic desert landscape, we encourage our Chinese visitors to embark on an adventure of their own to enhance their understanding of the emirate’s history and culture., the audio tours allow easy accessibility to many of the city’s hidden gems across a variety of locations, all via the integrated social platform, WeChat.”

Chinese visitors can choose from 10 tours covering several districts across Dubai, including Al Fahidi, Bur Dubai and Deira. Each of the self-guided tours are focused on a dedicated theme, primarily highlighting Dubai’s culture, art and heritage through a unique perspective.

The tours include the Deira Food Tour, inviting travellers to embark on a gastronomic journey to discover the diverse cultures in Dubai. Such a tour has already been created for Deira district, as it embraces the different cultures that have contributed to shaping Dubai as an international city.

The Dubai Desert Tour offers a taste of the city’s unique desert culture with historical facts along the way as users are invited to explore picturesque landscapes set amidst the city’s sand dunes. This includes an introduction to Dubai’s history; insights into how the desert is an integral part of Emirati and Bedouin life; a discussion about the traditional practices, folklore and activities held in the desert; an overview of the desert’s nature; highlights into the significance of camels (in providing food, transportation, shelter, and camel racing); and a list of various activities that they can enjoy while camping in the desert.

The Dubai Architecture Tour focuses on panoramic views of Dubai’s iconic skyline, with a focus on the landmarks of Downtown Dubai and how the city’s history led to this incredibly modern landscape.

The Follow Your Nose sensory tour examines the relationship between the UAE and the art of perfumery, exploring the historic neighbourhood of Deira and its surrounding souks, to the new Perfume House in Shindagha. This tour heavily relies on the sights and smells to highlight the intrinsic cultural element.

Metro Moments 1 and 2 will enable tourists to explore the emirate’s history as they travel on the Dubai Metro, passing through districts that were once covered by sand. These tours cover the metro route from DXB Terminal 3 to the DMCC Metro Station.

The Tales of the Past walking tour, from Bur Dubai to Dubai Gold Souk, helps users explore Deira as a neighbourhood that once stood as the hub of the city’s pearl trade and played a key role in advancing the local culture and economy.

The Al Fahidi Architecture Tour takes visitors through the old neighbourhood of Al Fahidi, helping them explore Dubai’s culture and heritage as well as the Emirati traditional architecture embodied through the collection of sikkas and wind-towers. The walking tour also delves into the city’s maritime past when taking visitors through Dubai Creek.

The Dubai Canal Tour enables tourists to discover beautiful views of the city’s skyline from the Dubai Water Canal and around the coastal landmarks. Part 1 of this tour will travel from Al Jaddaf to Downtown Burj Khalifa areas, themed around both the local history and culture as well as the city’s urban development and architecture.

Finally, the On the Road to Etihad tour is designed to help users understand what Dubai’s modern history means for its communities. This includes an exploration of how the local history and traditions are reflected in various aspects across the city through its wide range of shops, food, and art.

In addition to being highly informative, the audio nature of the guides is also designed to assist visually impaired travellers with making the most of their time in the city, forming part of Dubai Tourism’s commitment to the UAE’s ‘People of Determination Initiative’.

All digital audio tours are now available via Dubai WeChat Mini Program; ‘Dubai Mini Assistant’.

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