100 Most Powerful Arabs 2018
Wed 27 Jun 2018 09:18 AM
Helal Al Marri

Company: Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Designation: Director general

It takes a go-getting man to deliver Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020. But Helal Saeed Al Marri has proven he is more than up for the job, having succeeded in attracting tourists from both the GCC and Europe, largely due to extra flights, routes, competitive fares and a rising number of mid-market hotels.

The director general, who has taken the role in 2013, has also been the CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) since 2004, playing a crucial role in positioning Dubai as a global financial and commercial hub. He has also enabled Dubai to become a leading global destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE). In fact, events at the DWTC alone have totalled a record $3.4bn in retained value to Dubai’s economy, making up 3.3 percent of the emirate’s GDP in 2017, according to the latest Economic Impact Assessment report released by DWTC.

Al Marri is spearheading the $135m, four-phase expansion of DWTC funded by export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF). It will see the addition of a new hotel and will generate significant business for the UK, with nearly half of the supplies and services expected to come from the UK.

The fourth phase is being carried out by ASGC UK, which oversees the relationships with UAE-based customers seeking UKEF-supported financing for their forthcoming projects.

The expansion plan comes as the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) announced that it attracted a record 3.3 million delegates and attendees in 2017, up nine percent from 2016.