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June 2, 2015

Middle East: Dubai World Trade Centre Saw 2.45 Million Business Visitors in 2014

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Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) has recorded a 10 percent year-on-year growth in visitor volumes over 2013 to deliver a new high of 2.45 million in annual traffic.

“Our 2014 double digit growth across key performance metrics is testament to the committed efforts to lay a strong foundation and build on it with regular strategic alignment of our plans with the wider Dubai Plan 2021,” said HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, DWTCA and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). “DWTC has delivered consistent year-on-year growth in the scale of our MICE calendar, not only in the number of events we host, but also in the variety and the quality of traffic we attract. Moving forward, we have invested in venue expansion to allow for the continued growth of our high-performer events as well as provide opportunity for new entrants into our calendar.”

DWTC’s meeting and event portfolio now showcases more than 435 trade events – including 49 new additions across international conferences and exhibitions – marking an impressive 16 percent growth in number of exhibitions and a 40 percent year-on-year increase in the number of association meetings and congresses. This is in addition to double digit growth in the live entertainment and consumer events portfolio.

“Over the past three years, we have systematically evolved and strengthened the portfolio of trade fairs and conferences to reflect sector priorities for Dubai’s economic agenda,” said Almarri. “In tandem, we have been broadening our calendar mix with more leisure-entertainment events that have yielded greater venue utilisation and limit seasonality swings. The impressive 2014 results are a consequence of steadfast and unwavering progress on implementing against our planned strategic programme in close collaboration with industry organisers and government partners”. 

A goal to make DWTC’s more attractive to international participants has also has a positive effect. Indeed, delegate attendance to meetings and conferences nearly doubled in 2014 compared to the previous year. Across all types of business event, DWTC welcomed more than 901,000 foreign attendees, representing 39 percent of the overall trade participant numbers. 

Aligning itself with airline partners and tourism related authorities, as well as leveraging direct airlift into Dubai from key destinations, has helped to make Dubai more competitive as host destination for planners around the world. Key international source markets for trade visitors during 2014 included Saudi Arabia, India, Oman, United Kingdom, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Jordan, closely mirroring the top 10 markets for wider business tourism traffic into Dubai. 

“DWTC, and consequently the MICE sector, are critically interlinked with the fast growing reputation of Dubai as the international gateway to high-yield regional and international markets, and the emirate’s positioning as a business and event hub,” said Almarri. “Working closely with our organisers, corporate tenants and exhibitors, as well as with our public and private sector partners, we expect 2015 to further accelerate growth in our established shows and new-to-market events, ultimately delivering returns for our clients, increasing attractiveness to domestic and international organisers and attendees, and amplifying economic value for Dubai.” 

The recent establishment of the new Dubai World Trade Centre Authority as a Free Zone entity further strengthens DWTC’s ability to deliver a logistically efficient, business-conducive regulatory environment, offering global enterprises a flexible base from which to service new growth opportunities across continents.

Looking to the future, DWTC is set to add a 15,500 square metre extension to its current indoor complex space. This will take the available multipurpose indoor event and exhibition capacity to over 121,984 square metres, when it becomes operational from Q1 2016.

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