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January 29, 2014

Middle East: New DCEB chief sets out key goals

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The newly-appointed head of the Dubai Convention and Events Bureau (DCEB) has revealed the organisation’s ambitious strategy for positioning the emirate as a leading business events destination in the world. 

Steen Jakobsen, Director of Convention and Business Tourism at DCEB, a division of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), has outlined a three-pronged approach to winning more business, with the focus on congresses in particular. 
“Business events are a very important part of Dubai’s 2020 Vision,” said Jakobsen, referring to the DTCM’s target 20 million visitors by 2020 – a figure predicted to increase to 25 million now the emirate has won the bid to host World Expo 2020. 
“Part of the vision is that business events account for a bigger number of international visitors to Dubai and we will pursue a strategy focused on three pillars,” Jakobsen said, adding that the first pillar was to attract more existing rotational international events to Dubai. 
“We need to position Dubai to attract as many of them as possible and we will do this through our sales work and bidding for international congresses,” he said. 
The second pillar, Jakobsen said, was to “grow the number of visitors taking part in existing Dubai events” and the third was to “develop new events that fill a gap in the market”. 
“These are events that may start off as local or regional events, staged in Dubai, and have the potential to grow into global events,” he explained. 
“They could be in any sector, but what we are noticing internationally right now is the trend for events that cross over traditional sciences - for instance, cardiology and obesity, or obesity and diabetes.”
 Jakobsen, who prior to joining DCEB in October, headed the Copenhagen Convention Bureau for seven years, said the new role appealed to him because of Dubai’s “ambitious business events strategy, all steered by the 2020 Vision”. 
“Where else in the world is there an opportunity to be part of such a strategy and an organisation mandated to implement that strategy? That once-in-a-lifetime opportunity appealed to me,” he said, and added it was “important to work as a team” if big congress business is to be won. 
“There is already strong teamwork in Dubai, but we need to expand that further because it gives meeting and conference planners trust in Dubai. A critical success factor in being able to deliver is having a team of stakeholders that work together who know the business, making sure there are no unnecessary crossovers.” he said. 
Jakobsen also felt it was important to demonstrate Dubai was a destination that “offers growth opportunities to businesses, organisations and associations that want to take their meetings here”. 

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