Dubai: Dubai on Sunday launched the first Emirati-operated heritage tour programme as part of efforts to promote tourism in historical quarters of the emirate.
“We have trained six Emirati tour guides so far under our specially-created tour guide certification programmme and plan to introduce more as the programme develops, such as introducing it in the languages of Mandarin or German. As the project is new, it will remain under study and will continue to grow and develop on cultural and seasonal events, such as Dubai Shopping Festival or the Emirates Literature Festival,” said Yousuf Ahmad Lootah, Executive Director of Tourism Development and Investments at Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
Lootah said a committee handling Dubai Historical District (DHD) rejuvenation will be overseeing 100 projects over the next four years, as the emirate gears up to receive 20 million visitors per year by 2020. “Part of the projects that will focus on Emirati culture includes the promenade at Al Seef Road and a museum in Al Shindagha,” he said.
Covering 1.5 square kilometres, the heritage tour will be based on the tradition, heritage, trade, and origins of Dubai’s early settlers, which will be narrated by registered Emirati tour guides as they direct visitors through Heritage Village, Shaikh Saeed House and the Spice Souq, in addition to various other landmarks.
“As UAE nationals, our tour guides while growing up were our parents, or our aunts. The idea of this project came from retelling the history of Dubai from the source itself – the citizens,” said Saeed Al Naboudah, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, member of (Dubai Historical District) DHD Rejuvenation Executive Committee.
The ‘Tales from the Past’ tour aims to highlight the importance of Dubai’s historical and culturally rich areas and is part of an initiative launched last year by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to renovate Khor Dubai and other historical neighbourhoods.
The DHD Rejuvenation Executive Committee includes representatives from Dubai Municipality, Dubai Tourism and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA), who are responsible for carrying out the 2015 initiative.
The heritage tour if offered every Monday from 10am-2pm at a cost of Dh350 per person, with a maximum booking for 20 seats. Bookings can be made through Desert Gate’s website.