By Ahmed Alkhaja
New players will have to build on their unique selling points to establish themselves as a serious destination for business events
The tourism sector — both business and leisure — serves as a strong driver of economic growth. The governments in the region are supporting the industry by expanding and improving airport capacity and amenities, encouraging private sector investments, developing new attractions and increasing international promotional campaigns.
The MICE industry depends on the support of the tourism sector and its various ancillaries, particularly the robust development of midscale hotel properties. The two industries are working closely to support each other to present the best value proposition for events and delegates.
As a matter of fact, Dubai is an excellent example of a city that has invested and strengthened its offerings to emerge as a leading international business destination.
Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has led the evolution of the MICE sector in the region by establishing itself as the Middle East’s leading venue in terms of the size, diversity of events and the economic impact generated through its events.
In 2015, DWTC contributed a record $3.27bn in retained value to Dubai’s economy and the international participation at events within the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, representing 3.1 percent of Dubai’s GDP.
We live in an inter-dependent and inter-connected world. The MICE sector’s growth in the region will also rely on the overall health of the global economy. The newer players in the MICE sector will have to build on their unique selling points in order to establish themselves as a serious destination for business. However, governments are strategically investing in the tourism industry, which is already an immense boost to the sector.
It is important to constantly innovate and explore dynamic and engaging ways of diversifying offerings to appeal to a larger base of exhibitors and attendees. As more cities emphasise their MICE offerings, there will be intra-regional competition, which is a positive development, as it will force all those involved to be at their best at any given point in time.
DWTC is focussed on driving economic growth through knowledge and innovation in line with UAE Vision 2021. Our events calendar is diverse and covers a range of subjects from sustainable economic development to B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) technologies. More than 350,000 visitors attended our technology events alone this October, cementing our position as the leading regional hub for ICT (information communications technology) development and innovation.
Through events such as GITEX Technology Week and the GITEX Global Startup Movement that connected over 400 start-ups and 1,000 entrepreneurs, we are definitely at the forefront of industries that appeal to today’s millennials and tomorrow’s leaders.
The 2017 calendar is brimming with exciting events and programmes. DWTC has won a strategic bid to host eight new international congresses from 2017 to 2020 at the venue. These congresses focus on key growth sectors such as healthcare, energy, engineering and environment, and are expected to attract tremendous interest and the world’s top minds in these industries.
Our signature mega shows such as Gulfood, Arab Health, GITEX Shopper, GITEX Technology Week, Dubai Sports World, Big 5 will return with a whole slew of attractive announcements.
We also look forward to expanding our leisure and entertainment offerings through enhanced live events and experiences, in our expanded available space, and to present the leading musicians, artists and performers from the region and beyond.
Ahmed Alkhaja, Senior Vice President — Venues, Dubai World Trade Centre