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November 11, 2009

Dubai Metro to boost meetings industry

One of Dubai’s biggest infrastructure developments came online in September, when the first train of the Dubai Metro entered operations at 9pm on September 9, 2009.


Officially launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, the new transport system began with ten key stations on the Red Line.


The remaining Red Line stations will be opened in phases over the next few months.


Already the new transport system is being heralded as a much needed boost to the city’s infrastructure by leaders in the meetings and incentives sector who recognise that the metro provides them with a new point of difference for meetings and events bids.


“The metro will play a key role in winning bids. All of a sudden the airport, Dubai World Trade Centre and hotels are all connected by one transport mode. Add to this the taxis, bus systems and water taxis and there are plenty of transport options for delegates. For European and North American congress planners being green is also important, and the Metro offers this,” Jerad Bachar, director, Dubai Convention Bureau told meetme.


Alexandre Loillot, manager for Congress Solutions International, also agrees that the new metro system will help strengthen Dubai’s bid.


“We have been pitching for world congresses since 2006 and showcasing Dubai for 2010/2011. Not having enough transport has been a black spot but now it is easier and eco friendly. The metro is one of safest metro systems in the world,” he remarks.


The next phase of stations opening will see services connecting the new Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) extension, further impacting the meetings market.


“We anticipate that the metro will be a tremendous value-add for our delegates. Estimates indicate that approximately 30 percent of our visitors are likely to utilise the train link to access the DWTC venues once the metro station is operational,” explains Abdulla Qassem, senior vice president of venues, DWTC.


“The world-class high speed transport system linking the airport directly to our venue will be fast and cost effective for delegates providing doorstep access to our facilities as well as linking back to key city destinations, entertainment areas and hotels etc. and alleviating any concerns with regards to traffic bottlenecks and parking during peak hours.”


Helal Al Marri, CEO, DWTC, believes that the new system will not only ease transport but will also translate into increased visitors and business.


“The metro is a tremendous boost to the industry and will lead to an ultimate increase in number of visitors, which will see the number of exhibitors increase. It’s a circular, upward movement,” he remarks.


The Metro service runs from Saturday to Thursday from 6.00am up to 11.00pm, while on Friday the metro service starts from 2.00pm to 12.00am (midnight).


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