Dubai Airports bets on music, art and fashion to lure more passengers into visiting the emirate

There will be zones for retail, eating and drinking, and themed attractions to cater to the hub's diverse customer base

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Dubai, home to the busiest international airport, is beefing up efforts to woo passengers to visit the emirate rather than just transit through it by introducing experiences at its glitzy hub.

Dubai Airports will transition to a "consumer-led" company from an airport operator under a new brand, it said in a statement on Wednesday. It will seek to transform passenger experience through new offerings from dance to fashion shows.

"Aviation, tourism and travel have been fundamental in Dubai’s growth story and we believe this investment will yield further dividends by encouraging repeat traffic and enticing connecting passengers to visit Dubai," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Dubai Airports.

Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport grew 1 per cent last year to 89.1 million, retaining its title of the busiest hub for international travel. Dubai Airports' announcement comes amid efforts to boost tourism in the emirate by easing visa restrictions and seeking new source markets.

Dubai is planning to turn its airport into a destination in itself through experiences that bring Dubai landmarks into the airport, the operator said.

Dubai International will feature an array of music, art, dance and fashion exhibitions that showcase local culture and highlight diversity, it said.

Airport concourses will also feature zones that cluster together retail, food and themed attractions to cater to customers, according to the statement.

The new brand will "reflect the fresh direction and truly transform DXB into the airport of the future, one that is led by a more customer-centric approach," said Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports' chief executive.

The brand launch event on Wednesday was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed, Mr Griffiths and top executives in Dubai’s aviation industry.

"We are making a clear statement that will ensure DXB continues to be one of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking airports for years to come," Sheikh Ahmed said.