With a growing focus on the use of technology to transform the world’s business ecosystem amid the global pandemic, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has partnered with Microsoft to further streamline data-driven services offered to stakeholders, enhance the e-learning platform for Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) and adopt an innovative approach towards showcasing the city as a must-visit destination.
The wide scope of collaboration between Dubai Tourism and Microsoft is largely based on leveraging the Azure cloud platform, which provides a range of services from computing to networking, databases to analytics and artificial intelligence designed to help organisations run their digital systems and processes more efficiently. Dubai Tourism’s goal is to create a strong data analytics platform on the cloud that will help it share valuable business insights via online dashboards to facilitate managerial decision-making and to constantly update public and private stakeholders with critical industry-related information.
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “As we plan for future scenarios, cloud based solutions have emerged as a crucial element of Dubai Tourism’s digital transformation strategy because of the secure, sustainable and scalable nature of the technology. The diversity of our partnership with Microsoft will add to our efforts to embed world class technology solutions to our business systems and further enhance the scope of cutting-edge digital services that we provide our stakeholders in real-time, to help ensure Dubai stays ahead of the curve and also maintain its position at the forefront of the world’s leading travel destinations.”
Driven by the need to make data processing faster and aligning with its vision of progressing from data analytics to artificial intelligence products, Dubai Tourism became one of the first government entities to migrate multiple online dashboards to the state-of-the-art Azure architecture developed by Microsoft within the UAE cloud regions including a dashboard that regularly tracks and provides data on visitor arrivals from key source markets. These dashboards will be hosted on Microsoft’s Middle East cloud regions, based in the UAE, that provides organizations with access to scalable, highly available, and resilient cloud services while maintaining data residency, security and compliance needs.
“Microsoft Azure has been at the heart of the company’s efforts to form several strategic partnerships across UAE’s public and private businesses and accelerate their digital transformation agendas by migrating to the cloud,” said Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft UAE. “Our partnership with Dubai Tourism enables their platform to seek better customer engagement, empower its workforce, optimise operations and reinvent products and services. This is made possible by our two cloud regions in the UAE serving customers across the region to innovate and grow.”
The Azure platform has also provided much needed stability for the Learning Management System of Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), an institution established by Dubai Tourism to provide vocational and tertiary education, specifically for Emiratis and expatriates who are keen to take up a career in tourism. The partnership with Microsoft allows DCT students access to the full Microsoft 365 office suite including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Sway and Teams. As the pandemic led to social distancing measures and less face-to-face interactions, DCT mobilised Microsoft Teams to create a virtual classroom ambience to help students follow the lessons online and successfully conduct courses across its core disciplines - Tourism, Events, Hospitality, Retail and Culinary Arts.
Using the Teams platform DCT was also able to ensure students could complete their internship with industry partners including Hilton through seamless communication, chat and collaboration functionalities. Besides, with Microsoft Video Indexer, DCT was able to move its entire tour guide training platform online in multi-language format, without compromising on the quality of translation.
Essa Bin Hadher, General Manager, Dubai College of Tourism, said: “Dubai College of Tourism established a strong online learning platform even before the pandemic and today the advantages of using such a system have become more important than ever. Indeed, in this challenging environment, we are able to ensure that learning continues and our students are able to successfully complete their courses without disruption. This will not be possible without the support extended by our partners like Microsoft, which has paved the way for students to learn remotely from the safety of their homes.”
In another area of collaboration, Dubai Tourism launched ‘Dubai Virtual Backgrounds’ that allows users of Microsoft Teams to download free images of iconic attractions in Dubai and use them as customised digital backdrops. The initiative was part of Dubai Tourism’s ongoing work with social media and technology partners to sustain interest in Dubai as the destination of choice for travellers from around the world.