By Joanna Hartley
Convention Centre and Airport Expo Dubai saw 1.1 million visitors, 2008.
Dubai saw a 10 percent increase in the number of people attending conference and exhibitions last year, according to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Figures released by the company show that 1.1milion visitors attended events at DWTC’s two venues, the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) and Airport Expo Dubai, last year.
Last week Arab Health, one of the largest global events for the healthcare industry, recorded a 166 percent rise in visitor numbers.
Cityscape saw a 44 percent increase in footfall from 52,000 in 2007 to 75,000 in 2008, despite the global decline of the real estate markets.
Big 5, which last year was the company’s largest exhibition in physical size since its opening in 1979, covered almost 85,000 sq m - over 30 per cent more than in 2007.
"Our long-term strategy aims to make Dubai the global hub for exhibitions and conferences, and 2008's performance, despite the prevailing global conditions, is evidence of our strong business fundamentals," said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO.
"We are working to sustain our target of 1-1.5 per cent contribution to Dubai's GDP, on par with global benchmarks such as Singapore and Hong Kong in the events and exhibitions sector," Almarri added.
Meanwhile, the meetings, incentives and conferences industry also saw increases in attendees, drawing close to 76,000 delegates to 597 conferences and meetings - a 50 percent increase on 2007.
The exhibition centre’s success was helped by its close working partnership with the Road and Transport Authority and Dubai Police, Almarri said.
In 2008, special buses, taxis and additional routes were made available from key locations, malls and hotels in the city to and from the DWTC.