Dubai has announced plans to create a new district in the city to develop its fashion, design and luxury sectors.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said the Dubai Design District will be located close to the Business Bay area of Dubai.
The district is expected to become a full service commercial hub for design industry-related organisations, brands, and supporting enterprises within the value chain, a statement run by news agency WAM said.
It is the latest major announcement by Dubai to further develop its reputation as a global tourism and retail hub.
"It will feature a custom-built creative community that will encompass purpose-built commercial and retail facilities for established and emerging designers, design institutes, waterfront promenade, convention centre and event venues and related academic institutions," the statement added.
The district will be operated by TECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding.
The new district aims to build on Dubai's strengths in tourism, which is expected to double the number of visitors to 20 million by 2020, and in retail, which is estimated to grow to AED151bn in the next two years.
It is expected to be the most connected fashion district in the world, with Dubai being only 8 hours flight time from 90 percent of the countries in the world.
"UAE nationals and expatriates alike are showing a keen interest not just in consuming fashion, design, and luxury goods and services, but also in the development of their own design and creative skills," the statement said.
"One indication of this emergent trend is evidenced by rapid growth in enrolment rates on fashion and design courses at institutions in the UAE. The talents of the UAE's home-grown designers, from those who have already made their mark on the international stage to the stars of tomorrow, will be the vital spark driving this community," it added.
The new district will seek to increase the number of local and regional designers who are currently attaining international distribution and accolades.
The Middle East luxury market saw growth of 10-15 percent from 2011 to 2012, establishing the region as the 10th largest luxury goods market globally.
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