Dubai’s stature as a global meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) destination continues to soar, with the city registering a strong year-on-year growth of 44 per cent in business event bid wins in the first half of 2023. The outstanding growth in the number of global events being hosted by the city contributes further to its economic growth in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 goals.
Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau and part of the Department of Economy and Tourism, worked with partners and stakeholders to win 143 conferences, congresses, meetings and incentives in the first six months of 2023. These events will take place over the coming years and are expected to bring over 94,000 additional visitors to the city, including global experts and leaders in their respective fields.
The surge in event wins serves as a testament to the dynamic momentum of growth witnessed within Dubai’s business events sector and across its broader economy in recent years. The events captured include 24 association conferences, congresses and meetings, which are set to contribute to driving Dubai’s knowledge economy forward. Renewed growth from China, alongside ongoing momentum from India, contributed to 84 incentives won by the city.
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said: “Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, our focus on capturing business events that bring value to the city continues to deliver strong results. Dubai’s robust proposition, built on world-class business events infrastructure and facilities, expertise across all key sectors, and a growing knowledge economy, resonates effectively with meeting professionals and decision-makers globally.
“Every bid won is a testament to the culture of collaboration that has seen DBE work with industry stakeholders and key public and private sector entities across the city to identify, bid for and capture major business events. Recognising the impact hosting business events can have, by bringing major associations and organisations to the city and putting it at the heart of global developments in their respective fields of expertise, our partners are showing a strong commitment to engaging with DBE on bidding activity.”
Announced earlier this year, the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 has outlined a series of ambitious targets to grow trade, develop key sectors and boost innovation and sustainability across the economy. To cement Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities, business events are set to play a key role at the intersection of business and knowledge development and contribute to incremental growth in visitation. Key D33 objectives also include boosting innovation, making Dubai a global hub for higher education and increasing FDI inflows.
Ahmed Al Khaja further said: “With D33 setting ambitious targets over the next decade, we expect Dubai’s business events sector to drive and contribute to economic growth, bringing increased focus and expertise to the city and creating new business and knowledge development opportunities. As key sectors and industries in Dubai continue to advance, the business events sector will also be a beneficiary, with more international associations and organisations expected to take advantage of the opportunity to be part of this growth story.”
Association events set to be held in Dubai over the coming years, thanks to successful bids in H1 2023, including IATA AGM 2024, World Library and Information Congress 2024, Critical Communication World 2024, Million Dollar Round Table Global Conference 2024 and International Trademark Association’s Annual Meeting 2026. Key corporate meetings and incentives coming to Dubai are Cardano Summit 2023, Perfect China Incentive 2023, WCAworld Annual Conference 2024, Brand Experience World 2024 and Nu Skin Global Team Elite Incentive 2024.
DBE’s collaborative efforts have played a vital role in winning bids for these prestigious events. DBE created a strong proposition for event organisers by working with its network of business events stakeholders across the city, including hotels, airlines, venues, professional congress organisers and destination management companies. The Al Safeer, Congress Ambassador Programme, further exemplifies DBE’s commitment to collaboration. This unique initiative harnesses the expertise and leadership of professionals and industry leaders in key sectors and industries to identify, bid for and capture major international business events.
DBE’s year-round engagement programmes in the emirate and across the globe in the first half of the year significantly enhanced Dubai’s appeal among meeting planners, association executives, and key decision-makers in the industry. Working with its offices in major source markets and with support from business events stakeholders, the DBE team conducted sales missions across Europe, North America and China. Additionally, DBE organised inbound study missions, inviting meeting planners worldwide to experience Dubai’s impressive capabilities.