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Dubai association centre provides strong platform for recovery and growth
  • Dubai Association Centre (DAC) has supported its associations through the challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
  • DAC now has 69 licensed associations following the opening of the centre’s new headquarters in One Central, Dubai World Trade Centre, with more lining up to join over the coming months.


Dubai Association Centre (DAC) is poised to see a strong uplift in new licensed associations through the rest of 2020, having supported its registered associations through the global Covid-19 pandemic. And with the challenges faced globally putting a renewed spotlight on the need for knowledge sharing and collaboration, DAC’s ability to bolster the contribution being made by associations in key professions and sectors to the development of the city’s knowledge economy is set to be more important than ever before.

Established in 2014 as a joint initiative between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), DAC now has a total of 69 licensed associations from different industries. Newly joined associations in 2020 include: The International Chamber of Commerce – UAE Chapter, Arab Association of Surgical & Medical Aesthetics, Sharia Professionals Association and International Council of Museums – UAE Chapter.

A further eight associations are already set to join by the end of 2020, with ongoing conversations with more prospective members. Interest has continued to grow following the successful second edition of the Dubai Association Conference that took place in December 2019, and the inauguration of DAC’s new headquarters in One Central, Dubai World Trade Centre. The new DAC headquarters aim to offer registered associations a fresh new space from which they can service members across the region, ensuring access to ecosystems that can support their growth and success. The platform also offers associations the opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing, in an effort to further boost progression across industries and create a positive social impact.

Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “At DAC, we recognise that associations play a significant role as catalysts for knowledge transfer and industry growth and we would like to take this opportunity to welcome our newly licensed associations and look forward to seeing them benefit from and contribute to the numerous opportunities Dubai has to offer as a global knowledge and business events hub. We look forward to building relationships with more associations – both from around the world and those already with a presence in Dubai – and to give them a better understanding of the benefits of registering with DAC.”

Among DAC’s initiatives over recent months has been a series of virtual round tables, providing updates on Dubai and the UAE’s efforts to fight Covid-19, the impact of the global pandemic on the association sector and how associations can deal with the disruption caused, and testimonials from DAC-registered associations on their experiences and efforts.

Another round table provided an update on the re-opening of various economic sectors in Dubai, including the travel and tourism sector, and a panel debate on how associations had been navigating the new norm. Participants included: David Macadam, CEO, The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres & Retailers (MECS+R); Alaa Al Boali, Director, Middle East Facility Management (MEFMA), Dr. Yasser Farahat, Secretary General, Arab Association of Urology and Mohammed Bin Sulaiman, Senior Manager - Business Relations, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & industry. The Panel debate was moderated by Ajay Bhojwani – Managing Director MCI Middle East.

Over the coming months, DAC is set to continue with efforts to support both its current registered associations and outreach to associations and organisations both already present in Dubai and around the world that may be considering joining. The centre is also highlighting thought leadership in the associations space through a series of specially commissioned videos featuring insights from experts based both in Dubai and around the world.

Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Associations around the world have shown resilience as they responded to the changing needs of their members in the wake of Covid-19. Here in Dubai, we have seen the association community really come together to tackle new challenges, share knowledge and become more efficient as they shift activities to digital channels.

“The ability of the Dubai Association Centre to grow its membership during difficult circumstances is a testament to Dubai’s reputation as a preferred hub for international and professional associations. We are closely watching economic developments and their impact on the emirate’s association sector and exploring new ways that we can support DAC members and help them prepare for a post-Covid-recovery.”

Mahir Julfar, Executive Vice President, Venue Services Management, Dubai World Trade Centre, said: “The opening of DAC’s new headquarters in DWTC’s One Central development at the end of 2019 was another important step in fostering a strong association community in the city, providing registered associations with an environment which allows them to deliver the best possible service to their regional members and giving them access to vital networks that support their growth. Existing and newly registered associations continue to take advantage of the enabling platform that DAC offers and that DWTC facilitates through its modern facilities and well-established business and knowledge ecosystem, and the growing interest from associations around the world is a further testament to Dubai’s enduring appeal as an international business destination.”

The Dubai Association Centre was formed to support and license regional and international associations in setting up their presence in Dubai. DAC functions as a platform for dialogue and education for associations interested in exploring opportunities in the Middle East Region. Through this initiative, the entity aims to contribute towards building an association community that drives the knowledge economy in the United Arab Emirates and the wider region.


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