From Left: Juan Garcia, ICCA's 1st VP, Nina Pretorius, 2nd VP, President Arnaldo Nardone and Steen Jakobsen, 3rd VP

From Left: Juan Garcia, ICCA’s 1st VP, Nina Pretorius, 2nd VP, President Arnaldo Nardone and Steen Jakobsen, 3rd VP

Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB) hosted a four-day visit event for the International Congress & Convention Association’s (ICCA) Executive Committee. The trip was organized as part of ongoing efforts to bolster the Emirate’s profile as a premier hub for global business events.

DCB Director Steen Jakobsen, who also serves on the ICCA Executive Committee as 3rd Vice President, commented: “With ICCA being the world’s leading global meetings organisation, membership provides the kind of competitive advantage that Dubai Convention Bureau is actively leveraging. We are seeking to raise awareness of Dubai’s incredible events infrastructure as well as grow Dubai’s reputation as the best choice to host international business events of any size or scale.”

Over the course of the visit the committee discussed internal agenda items before turning its attention to building upon the advocacy of the international business events industry in the region. Part of this outreach was an educational seminar co-hosted by the DCB and ICCA today which was well attended by local business events industry members.

The committee also participated in a panel discussion which centred on ways to better position Dubai and the Middle East as an international business events destination. The panel agreed that industry figures in the region need to work on knowing who their competitors are as well as defining and explaining their offer and showcasing how it has worked for organizers in creative ways.

Another key point raised by the panel was that of changing value perception, especially with regards to the UAE and Gulf region. It was noted that people internationally may think this area is very high-end, exclusive and expensive when in reality it has good value propositions for a range budgets.

During their time in Dubai, the group also met with regional and local industry stakeholders as well as Dubai officials. They included H.E. Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), senior officials from Dubai’s award-winning Emirates Airline and a number of other key travel and hospitality industry leaders.

As part of efforts to showcase the Emirate’s events offering, the committee was shown around Dubai by the DCB to showcase the city’s extensive business events and transport infrastructure.