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Dubai registers strong 29% increase in business event bid wins in H1 2018

Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, has reported strong results for the first half of 2018, with 125 successful bids to host business events, reflecting a 29 per cent increase from the same period last year.

Conferences, meetings and incentive programmes secured in the first six months of the year, including from bids submitted in previous years, are poised to attract over 65,000 delegates from around the world, resulting in an expected economic impact of approximately AED 500 million, further cementing Dubai’s position as a leading global business events destination.

Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “Dubai’s success in attracting an increasing number of business events is a testament to the city’s ability, across the public and private sectors, to coalesce together to position it on a global stage. Dubai Business Events has worked closely with stakeholders to ensure the city is able to optimise its bidding opportunities, highlighting not only the tourism and events infrastructure, but also the knowledge exchange possibilities in Dubai. We thank all our partners and look forward to working with them to build on our collective efforts to contribute to our ambitious tourism targets.”

Key business event wins in H1 included: Pro-Health China Incentive (2019), World Chamber Congress (2021), International Congress for the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (2021), World Congress of Gastroenterology (2021), as well as Asia Pacific Congress of Cardiology (2023).

During the first half of 2018, DBE also ramped up efforts to highlight the city’s offering to international audiences and strengthen strategic partnerships to help grow the business event sector in Dubai. DBE representatives attended over 70 trade events where it showcased Dubai’s dynamic business events offering and services to more than 9,000 international meetings, events, and incentives industry professionals. At IMEX, DBE, along with 24 key stakeholders, including Emirates Airline, Dubai World Trade Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai and Jumeirah Group, demonstrated a strong focus on transforming Dubai into a global knowledge hub. DBE also facilitated 14 site inspections for 30 clients and hosted four in-depth study missions for a total of 136 hosted buyers in the first half of the year. During the first half of 2018, the bureau also organised three roadshows in key markets across Europe, South East Asia, and North America, attracting more than 400 business events planners. The roadshows acted as a platform to meet and engage with key decision makers, educate them, and showcase the city’s capabilities, as well as services offered by DBE.

Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events, said: “The growth in bid wins in the first half of 2018 is a strong demonstration of the positive reception globally to Dubai’s business events proposition. As we continue on our path towards further strengthening Dubai’s reputation as a premier host destination for business events, we have an exciting set of initiatives and activities planned for the remainder of the year. This will include participation in key trade shows and in-market activities, as well as bringing more meetings industry professionals to the city to show them Dubai’s latest developments and capabilities.”

Dubai Business Event’s Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme has contributed measurably to the city’s success in bidding for international events. The programme features a network of 300 prominent experts from diverse sectors, including science, academia, finance, and healthcare, who are based in the UAE. Since January, the programme contributed to securing a total of 18 business events for the city.

Major business event bid wins from previous years, such as the 57th International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Congress and the World Heart Federation are set to take place later this year. Further study missions in 2018 will come from North America, Southeast Asia, and India, while DBE also will build on its participation in major trade shows with significant presence at IMEX America and IBTM World, both of which are taking place towards the end of the year.


Photo: Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events. Photographer: Atti Soenarso.