Dubai Business Events (DBE), Dubai’s official convention bureau, ended 2015 on a high note, with a significant increase in the number of international meetings, conferences and incentives that were both bid for and brought in to Dubai.
Last year marked a record number of bids and proposals submitted by DBE, totalling nearly 250, of which 75 were won. Some of the most notable wins include welcoming back the NuSkin South East Asia Incentive group in 2017 and hosting the World Tunnelling Congress in 2018, the World Congress of Neurology in 2019 and the World Congress of Emergency Medicine in 2021. In addition, there are a further 100+ conferences in the pipeline which DBE expects to bid for through its Al Safeer Congress Ambassador programme. Through these and many more exciting initiatives under way, DBE’s ambition of growing the emirate into a global knowledge hub through hosting meetings and conferences is steadily being realised.
In 2015, Dubai was proud to host international exhibitions and events including the 23rd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine, the World Free Zone Organisation Congress, the 2015 Dragon Insurance Conference, the IDA Life Insurance Congress, the Jeunesse Global Incentive group and the Airport Traffic Control Conference.
Dubai currently ranks 44th in the 2014 International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) World Rankings – up from 63rd place in 2013, and DBE has the mandate to continue to establish the city as a premier business events destination. By doing so the division of Dubai Tourism is contributing to the emirate’s Tourism Vision for 2020, which aims to double the number of visitors to the emirate from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million per year by 2020. To that end, DBE is working to grow the emirate into a global knowledge hub by showcasing Dubai’s diverse offering across sectors including healthcare, energy, financial services and aviation.
The year was led by solid performance in showcasing Dubai at the city’s dynamic business events offerings. In partnership with Emirates Airlines, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the ever evolving hotel sector and local destination management companies, DBE hosted more than 550 international meeting and conference organisers across 11 study missions to Dubai, including 20 delegates from Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) at the 2015 Dubai Meetings Forum in December. Reflecting on a year of growth and success, DBE also strengthened its strategic partnerships with the likes of Dubai Health Authority, Emirates Medical Association and local universities.
Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Events and Convention Bureau, a Division of Dubai Tourism, said: “The combined efforts of DBE and its strategic partners, and the many initiatives we rolled out over the past 12 months allowed us to leave a strong footprint on international markets. Dubai recorded 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015 which marks a 7.5% increase over 2014. As we look ahead to 2016 we are confident that we will continue to build momentum towards achieving our commitment to grow the city’s dynamic business events offering.”
2015 signalled a year of growth for not only DBE, but also its partners, including DWTC, Emirates, Dubai International Airport (DXB), Dubai’s hotel sector and the Dubai Association Centre (DAC), further evolving Dubai’s business destination offering. Among many exciting developments, DWTC’s announcement to build a 15,500 square metre extension, which will increase exhibition capacity to over 122,000 square metres, stands out as a key growth driver for Dubai’s events industry.
DXB was also named Airport of the Year at the 2015 Aviation Business Awards, while Emirates continued to add new routes to its flight network, making the city even more accessible to travellers from around the world. Further enhancing ease of travel to the city, 46 nations can now apply for a ‘visa-on-arrival’. The city’s ever evolving hotel sector, meanwhile, ended the year with high occupancy rates despite continuing to increase capacity, predominantly among three- and four-star properties, with the total number of rooms expected to reach 100,000 in early 2016.
DAC, established by DBE in 2014, also made remarkable progress in fostering global collaboration, and announced the launch of the Global Association Hubs Partnership together with Destination DC, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau and visit Brussels. Fifty-six per cent of global multinationals currently have a presence in Dubai, and this latest initiative will help grow the international associations space in the city and better serve overseas members by using partner cites and regional contacts to expand global efforts.
Hamad Bin Mejren concluded: “2015 has undoubtedly been a year of growth and success and we’ve made remarkable progress in cementing Dubai’s strong international reputation as a vibrant and diverse destination with great accessibility, first-class infrastructure and a dynamic business events offering. We will continue to showcase the city and push the boundaries on the experiences available for visitors, building on the momentum of the UAE’s Year of Innovation to fully unleash the potential Dubai has in becoming a global knowledge hub, demonstrating the expertise and diverse industries that make up our city.”