Dubai Tourism To Launch Blockchain Encrypted Virtual Market Ecosystem

HE Helal Saeed Almarri - Director General, DTCM
HE Helal Saeed Almarri – Director General, DTCM


  • Dubai aspires to be the first city to democratise travel via an open, real-time, and secure digital B2B platform
  • Fosters innovative sector development by actively attracting new tech solution developers and start-ups
  • Significant direct and indirect economic value for Dubai’s tourism industry driving GDP and employment impact


Dubai will be the first city to embark on the journey of democratising travel through the use of emerging technologies as it adds an additional distribution channel for hotels in its first phase, as its recently announced 10X initiative. Launched at the World Government Summit by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai Government as one of the ‘Dubai 10X’ projects, Dubai Tourism (DTCM) is set to implement this ground-breaking programme within the next 24 months, enabling Dubai to enhance distribution of its tourism inventory through a future-proofed virtual B2B (business-to-business) marketplace for the travel industry.

Explaining the objective of 10X, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said: “Success of governments is determined by their ability and flexibility to re-invent themselves, and upgrade their services to cater to the evolving needs of the community.” Guided by this principle, the tourism initiative goes beyond providing broader access to the global consumer, and opens up the domestic travel industry to new participants and innovative start-ups into the ecosystem – thus delivering value to Dubai in terms of higher and faster visitor conversion, and greater GDP impact.

Dubai Tourism aims to give their global guests direct choice across the breadth and depth of the local tourism inventory, within a highly safe, transparent and real-time environment, while equally attracting even more cutting-edge entrants into the tourism sector, by creating an open market ecosystem that is scale agnostic. Allowing equal opportunity to access the global market for high quality players within the Emirate’s travel and tourism industry regardless of size, by default immediately broadens the distribution of Dubai’s multi-faceted inventory and combats some misperceptions on the limitations and luxury orientation of the offering. As the first mover in the facilitation of this type of technologically advanced, secure and scalable digital solution for the travel industry as a whole, it positions Dubai as a think-tank and innovation leader seeking to truly democratise travel.

The Blockchain Marketplace initiative will deliver four key tangible benefits to Dubai stakeholders among others:

  1. Increased tourist numbers – More of Dubai’s inventory is available real-time, at the right price, with the desired diversity and extremely conveniently to the global market. This means greater potential and higher probability to convert the global traveller and drive much stronger visitor growth at a lower cost of acquisition.
  2. Revenue protection and growth – Increased opportunities for gross value creation for Dubai’s economy by reducing leakage from Dubai’s GDP by limiting the dominance of larger-scale intermediaries and allowing smaller players or direct asset owners to have equal opportunity in attracting the market. Additionally, it will provide increased attractiveness for newer age, proven, and emergent technology providers to enter the tourism ecosystem without the barriers of scale requirement.
  3. Greater employment – Encouraging more participation and companies to enter the Dubai tourism sector, including entrepreneurs – thereby increasing employment within the industry and consequently generating higher indirect and induced economic value for Dubai’s GDP. 
  4. Increased GDP contribution – The long-term effect of this initiative is to secure the future growth of Dubai’s travel and tourism industry, a major employer and a key contributor to GDP at 9.4% in 2016. Tourism in Dubai has been a consistently high growth sector with 2017 bringing 15.79 million visitors – an increase of 6.2% over 2016, reinforcing its ranking as the fourth most visited city in the world. This initiative will seek to accelerate all aspects of the equation, fuelling GDP impact of tourism for Dubai in the medium to long-term.

DTCM will be in close contact with all relevant regulatory authorities in Dubai and partners across government entities as their ongoing support is critical to ensuring the project achieves a successful outcome. Additionally, the project will involve collaboration with stakeholders in the hospitality and the wider travel and tourism sector in Dubai, particularly in planning and the implementation phases to ensure execution of the programme has factored in all practical considerations to ensure smooth roll out with optimal uptake, and widest adoption. Longer-term, the solution is planned to cover the wider tourism ecosystem, e.g. attraction and event providers, tour-op packages, etc., and enable incremental tourism asset owners and operators to distribute their inventory through the platform.

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