As per Expedia, Bleisure Travelers are Hungry for Sunshine, Sightseeing, and Cuisine. The Perfect Dubai Tourism Mix.
As the world grapples with the integration of work and leisure, popularly known as "bleisure," one city is making significant strides in becoming a global hotspot for this trend - Dubai.
Renowned for its artificial island at Palm Jumeirah, or the highest tower in the world Burj Khalifa, a reputation as one of the safest cities in the world, the city has equally been successful in attracting business travelers attending its Dubai World Trade Centre exhibitions and conferences.
This article will take you through a comprehensive understanding of the bleisure concept, what Dubai offers, and how to best prepare for your bleisure trip to this spectacular city.
Check as well this article for tips to convince your boss to accept your business trip request, and enjoy your next bleisure travel to Dubai and its Dubai World Trade Centre.
1. Bleisure – The Future of Travel
The term "bleisure" is a fusion of business and leisure, indicating a trend that started in the early 2000s and has gained momentum due to the rise of remote work and flexible schedules. Studies show that around 50% of all business trips in 2022 were extended for leisure purposes. These bleisure travelers are often professionals who blend work and pleasure, and are typically more affluent, travel more frequently, and enjoy extended stays.
Interestingly, 60% of American business trips incorporated a leisure component in their travel. According to a survey, after the pandemic, 81% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have engaged in bleisure travel. The number even reaches 90% for millennials, indicating a substantial market for bleisure travel.
2. Dubai - The Bleisure Hotspot
Dubai, known for its iconic skyline, thriving business environment, and vibrant cultural scene, is making waves in the bleisure travel segment, way beyond the Middle-East. The city's world-class infrastructure, along with its diverse cultural and leisure experiences, make it a preferred destination for professionals attending Arab Health, Gitex, Gulfood, Big5 or other exhibitions at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Notably, the Dubai World Trade Centre hosts over 240 events annually in its exhibition halls, attracting more than 2 million delegates, and participants from 160 countries. About $2 billion is estimated to have been generated in direct revenue through spending by DWTC business travelers across adjacent sectors spanning entertainment, accommodation, restaurants, retail trade, transport and government services, the DWTC reported. These events cover a wide spectrum of industries and sectors, from healthcare, medical and scientific, information technology, food, to the hotel industry.
In terms of accommodation, Dubai emirate offers a wide range of options to suit every traveler's needs. From luxurious hotels and resorts to serviced apartments, all are equipped with modern facilities, great restaurants, ensuring a comfortable stay for bleisure travelers.
But more than that, Dubai offers a wealth of leisure and entertainment options, from exploring the historical districts, shopping at the Dubai mall, dining in one of the world's most international restaurant scene, recently recognized by Michelin Guide, to unwinding in pristine beaches or desert safaris.
From Michelin's second Dubai guide edition in 2023, I've handpicked the top Michelin Guide restaurants you should consider visiting during your stay. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a regular business traveller, these top-rated establishments are sure to impress.
In essence, the appeal of Dubai as a bleisure destination stems from its unique blend of professional and recreational offerings. It enables visitors to work efficiently while enjoying a diverse array of leisure activities that help them unwind, making their business trip both productive and enjoyable.
3. Smart Bleisure Travel in Dubai
If you're planning a bleisure trip to Dubai, here are a few tips to ensure a smooth and memorable experience:
Before embarking on your trip, conduct a comprehensive research on the city's cultural norms, local transportation, accommodation options, and nearby attractions. This will help you make informed decisions and ensure your trip runs smoothly.
Make use of travel apps for booking hotels, finding local attractions, and even navigating the city. Dubai has an extensive digital infrastructure, so you'll have no problem accessing these services.
Check To Do Lists:
Refer to key platforms like TripAdvisor Dubai or TimeOut Dubai to identify list of to do activities in Dubai that are of interest to you, from culture to entertainment, restaurants and sightseeing.
4. Understanding the Popularity of Bleisure Travel
The surge in bleisure travel is not accidental. Various factors have contributed to making it a preferred mode of travel for professionals globally. Understanding these factors is crucial, not just for travelers, but also for businesses who wish to leverage this trend.
Bleisure trips often allow travelers to enjoy leisure time in their destination at a significantly reduced cost than if they were to plan a separate leisure trip. This financial incentive is a major draw for many bleisure travelers, who can attend events at the Dubai World Trade Centre and enjoy the city life.
Morale and Employee Satisfaction:
Bleisure travel helps prevent burnout and keeps employees happier, translating into better quality work. In fact, 93% of those who have experienced bleisure travel report a higher satisfaction with their quality of life compared to 75% of those who have not.
The ability to combine personal and professional life when traveling has been reported to significantly improve work-life balance. An impressive 87% of bleisure travelers were satisfied with their work-life balance, as opposed to 64% of regular business travelers.
Empowerment and Cultural Understanding:
Bleisure travel empowers employees, giving them the freedom to plan and organize elements of their trip. This autonomy, coupled with the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture, can enhance relationships with local clients and partners.
You can read more about the Etiquette to adopt while doing business in Dubai in our related article.
By extending business trips into leisure time, bleisure travel can help reduce your carbon footprint, aligning with the sustainability goals of many modern businesses, as you take the opportunity of a business trip to explore a city.
5. Why Dubai Stands Out as a Bleisure Destination
Several factors make Dubai an ideal bleisure destination:
Bucket List Location: Dubai's iconic landmarks, such as Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Mall, make it a must-visit destination.
Easy Navigation: Dubai boasts an efficient transportation system, including subways, buses, taxis, and car rentals, facilitating easy navigation.
Gastronomic Diversity: With a myriad of restaurants offering cuisines from around the world, Dubai is a haven for food enthusiasts.
Array of Activities: From museums and historical attractions to outdoor shopping, adventure sports, and entertainment, Dubai offers a wide variety of activities.
Safety and Security: Dubai is known for its low crime rate, ensuring the safety of travelers, especially solo ones.
Affordability: Despite its luxury reputation, Dubai offers options at different price points to cater to varied budgets.
While choosing Dubai as a bleisure destination, factors like additional personal costs, proximity to the weekend, and the possibility of inviting friends and family should be considered.
6. Profiling the Bleisure Traveler
The profile of a bleisure traveler varies, making it challenging to form a clear-cut description. However, some general patterns are observed. Bleisure is especially popular among travelers working in technology, healthcare, and public administration sectors.
When it comes to gender, research suggests that men are slightly more likely than women to undertake bleisure trips. US-platform InsureMyTrip commissioned a survey that saw UAE’s Dubai ranked first for the world’s best city for solo female travelers, an extra factor for female tourists.
Age also plays a significant role, with younger travelers (20-25 years) more likely to add leisure days to their business trips. Frequent travelers, those undertaking 20 or more trips per year, are less likely to opt for bleisure, while those traveling once a month make up a large portion of the bleisure demographic.
7. Factors Influencing the Growth of Bleisure
The increasing demand for bleisure trips, especially among Millennials, is evident. Despite the rise of digital communication, this generation still prefers face-to-face business interactions, making travel a crucial component of their professional lives.
In 2021, more than one in three business travelers worldwide added a leisure component to at least one of their business trips. Bleisure travel is seen as an opportunity to save on travel expenses, with 66% of U.S. business travelers spending more on leisure activities due to the money saved on travel.
Factors influencing the decision to extend a business trip into a bleisure one include exciting destinations, additional costs required to extend the trip, proximity to the weekend, duration of the business stay, hotel affordability, and the presence of friends or family in the area.
Generally, travelers tend to add one or two days of leisure, with only 23% extending their trip by more than three days. Interestingly, in many cases, the number of leisure days equals (37%) or even exceeds (42%) the business days.
As the boundaries between work and life continue to blur, bleisure travel is a growing trend that perfectly captures this shift. For employees, bleisure travel offers a unique opportunity to balance work responsibilities with exploring new destinations and cultures, thus improving their overall travel experience.
Overall, the appeal of bleisure travel lies in its flexibility and the potential to get great travel experiences. We can expect to see a more profound integration of leisure elements into business travel, further evolving the way we perceive work and travel.
Dubai, as the safest city from female solo travelers around the world, with its mix of sunshine, business opportunities, and a vibrant cultural and restaurant scene, has all it takes to please bleisure tourists from around the word.