12 influential instagrammers from across the globe will visit Dubai over the next four weeks to experience the emirate through the eyes of its residents, each following an itinerary which has been tailor-made for them by another 12 influential Dubai-based instagrammers. Their experiences of Dubai will collectively form the #MyDubai Trip video series, which is being produced in partnership between Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Qabeela New Media, creators of the award-winning travel series Peeta Planet.
The selection of the final 24 instagrammers – global and Dubai-based – was conducted via two competitions, during which 40 international instagrammers campaigned for votes by stating why they should be given the opportunity to visit Dubai and 30 Dubai residents including media personalities Anas Bukash and Nouraldin Al Yousef; food bloggers Samantha Wood and Karen McLean; and entrepreneurs Omar Samra and Muneera Al Tamimi, created day-long itineraries, which were also voted on. The #MyDubai Trip series will uncover the journey of the influential global instagrammers as they discover the emirate of Dubai through following the day-long itineraries. They will be joined by brothers Mohamed and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, co-founders of Qabeela New Media and co-hosts of Peeta Planet, who will guide the visitors throughout their #MyDubai Trip.
South African Instagrammers Gareth Pon and Craig Howesare among the influential instagrammers. Gareth Pon considers himself a dreamer, filmmaker, photo shooter and instagrammer. He has a knack for storytelling and usually tells them in multiples of 1 and 25 frames. “A little over 2 years ago I never would have thought that seeing the world would be a possibility”, said Gareth Pon. “Now I have the privilege to visit unique places, experience awesome moments & touch cultures all around the world! I’m really looking forward to embracing all that Dubai has to offer while hopefully adding a bit of my own creative flair.”
Craig Howes is a professional photographer based in Cape Town; specialising in live events, fashion and special occasions. The 28-year-old Capetonian has become one of the most followed South African on Instagram, with 90,000-plus followers. “I’m looking forward to Dubai. I've visited Dubai about 10 times before, however the most recent trip was about 10 years back. Every time I visited I saw a new development, a new building, a new road, a bridge or even an Island. I was there when the palm and Burj Khalifa was still a vision, so I’m extremely excited to see how all these developments now look. From a photographic point of view, Dubai is at the forefront of modern architecture and construction and cannot wait to capture the city streets, from the old to the new parts of Dubai.” Said Craig Howes
By creating the #MyDubai Trip series, Qabeela New Media is the latest company to join #MyDubai, the initiative launched in January this year by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) said: “The creation of #MyDubai Trip is a perfect addition to the wider #MyDubai initiative, as it has provided the opportunity for Dubai’s residents to showcase our emirate to international visitors, through creating their own personalized itineraries of the best they believe Dubai has to offer. There is no better way to experience a city than through the eyes of its residents and #MyDubai Trip will uncover some of Dubai’s hidden gems and lesser known highlights.”
Mohamed Al Awadhi said: “The #MyDubai initiative has shown the passion that the Dubai community has for our city and we wanted to compliment this by giving another platform through which residents could join the initiative. Social Media has changed the game for the tourism industry drastically and in order to attract travellers today, governments need to rethink and change their approaches to tourism. DTCM fully embraced our idea to work together to create #MyDubai Trip and use social travel to reveal more about the emirate to international audiences. It has been humbling to see how much the Dubai community has taken on the cause of promoting their city to visitors.”
A number of Dubai based entities are supporting the production of #MyDubai Trip, with the instagrammers being hosted by the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah, the JW Marriott Marquis and the Shangri La Hotel Dubai. Commercial Bank of Dubai, is bringing the itineraries to life, facilitating a number of experiences throughout the itineraries; Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) is assisting through the issuance of location permits and providing full support in access to the diverse locations that Dubai has to offer; Uber are providing cars to help transport the instagrammers, around Dubai; Canon is supplying both the instagrammers and crew with some gear for the series; and with Disney on Ice currently taking place in Dubai, The Walt Disney Company provided two goodie bags to thank voters who chose the winning itineraries.
Mr. Paul Boulos, Head of Marketing at CBD said: “We feel strongly about promoting Dubai as a destination so being part of this project was something we immediately wanted to get involved in - after all, there is brand synergy and it’s all in the name! As such, CBD is providing a number of additional opportunities for the visitors to experience our great city during their stay.”
Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission and Managing Director of Dubai Studio City said: “We are delighted to be supporting this exciting initiative, which will showcase Dubai’s beauty, versatility and diverse locations to the world. Dubai has developed into a thriving media hub, with media playing a key role in helping to increase tourism to Dubai, and I am confident that the instagrammers will have a truly memorable experience during their stay here”.
Fully reliant on social media to determine the itinerary for their travels, Mohamed and Peyman are no strangers to the benefits of crowdsourcing. Their first full-scale production- Peeta Planet- is an international, award-winning travel series broadcast on Dubai One to over 50 million TV viewers across the Middle East. The travel series follows the two Emirati brothers as they travel across the world, basing their journeys on recommendations collected on social media. This expertise and know-how will be leveraged and put to the test as they explore their hometown with the #MyDubai Trip series.
Featured international instagrammers include: Danny Zappa and Paulo Del Valle from Brazil, Christina Santoso and Daris Cahyadi from Indonesia, Seo Ju Park, Virginia Navarro and Saul Aguilar from Mexico, Devrim Ates from Turkey, Ahmad El Abi from Egypt and Abdulaziz Al Duwaisan from Kuwait.
Their itineraries have been curated by; Anas Bukash, Managing Partner of Ahdaaf Sports Club, Herald Herrera, network engineer and manager of the @igersdubai community; Ienobu Kaneko, entrepreneur and social media influencer, Kanu Al Kendi, one of the first Emirati stand-up comedians. Curators also include; Karen McLean, blogger at Secret Squirrel Food; Khalid Al Ramsi, IT student and designer; Max Stanton, Consumer Market Knowledge Manager at Procter and Gamble, entrepreneur and social media influencer; Muneera Al Tamimi, Co-Founder of Turba Studios and Co-Founder of Tamashee; Nouraldin Al Yousef, Television presenter and media personality; Omar Samra Founder and CEO of Wild Guanabana, renowned mountain climber and future astronaut; Samantha Wood, freelance journalist, food blogger at foodiva.com and communications consultant and trainer; and lastly, Sharifa Badri, marketing graduate and social media influencer.
The winning instagrammers started to arrive in Dubai from Thursday 11th September for a period of three or four days each, with the last arriving in mid-October. The #MyDubai Trip series is scheduled for online broadcast betweenNovember 2014 and January 2015. All pre-selected itineraries will be available online for local and international tourism purposes, both during and after the #MyDubai Trip series is broadcast, follow here.