09/20/2009 05:51 PM
Dubai: Tourists will be able to board the Metro to tour Dubai as soon as they land; however with only ten stations initially opened at the launch, tour operators in the emirate feel they are a long way from losing business.
The Metro will boost the trade, they say, and with the option to jump on and off at various points, seeing the sights accompanied by a tour guide will be much easier.
Excursions will merge an abra ride or a dhow cruise with the Metro and city tours will be available to all once all lines are fully developed.
Chris Crompton, general manager of the Big Bus Company, which organises city tours on double-decker buses to popular neighbourhoods and the main sights, said any activity or feature that will appeal to visitors of Dubai and contribute to the overall good of the city is welcomed.
"The Metro will not have too much impact on our business as we focus on sightseeing tours and the Metro is part of the RTA's masterplan for a mass transit solution. We will continue to promote Dubai as a destination and the Metro will become an invaluable part of the infrastructure that benefits everyone who lives and works here," he said.
Apart from desert safaris and dhow cruises, many tour operators offer airport pick up and transfers; however, with the Terminal 3 station at Dubai airport, visitors to the UAE will be able to get anywhere in the city efficiently and quickly without needing a chauffeur.
Desert Rangers managing director Micky Kanani does not believe this will impact the tourism businesses. "Airport pick ups are a side product to what we offer, they are not the real products or excursions, I don't think we'll lose money," he said. "At the end of the day it will be entirely up to our guest. I'm from London and every time I go there I still get a cab to get to the city [instead of the Underground or express trains]. As yet, we have not included it in our tours because we want to check everything out before our guests go on," he added. "We have thought of it, it will definitely be good to see the sights."
Sathy Anand, excursions manager for Alpha Tours, said plans are in the pipeline to include the Metro in the company's tours. "We plan to have a lot of things going on with the Metro. We want to see if it will be a big rush but we have high hopes to include it in our tours," he said. "We also plan to create Metro tours of the city."