United Arab Emirates Updates

Record year for Dubai Business Events

City bureau reports 62 per cent boost in business event arrivals in 2018.

Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, secured a total of 261 successful bids for meetings, conferences and incentives in 2018, which are set to attract an additional 153,640 delegates to Dubai over the coming years.

The number of event bids won represents a 24 per cent increase from 2017 and will deliver an estimated economic impact of approximately AED1.2 billion (USD327 million) to the city. This success also marks a 62 per cent increase from the previous year in the number of delegates set to visit Dubai due to event bids won, signifying a shift towards larger-scale events.

Throughout 2018, Dubai submitted 557 business event bids, up from 354 in 2017.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, the destination has become a “flourishing business events destination and knowledge hub”.

“Our strategy will continue to align with Dubai Tourism’s Vision and in 2019 our goal is to build on this momentum and attract events that leave a lasting legacy for delegates and the city,” Kazim adds. “To achieve this, we will continue to engage with business events professionals globally, while working with stakeholders and partners in Dubai to identify and pursue opportunities to bid for major business events.”

Key bid wins from 2018 include the World Congress of Gastroenterology, set to take place in 2021 with a total of 6,000 delegates in attendance, the Mary Kay China Incentive, set to take place in 2019 with 800 delegates in attendance, and the World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, set to take place in 2020, with 1,000 delegates. Other notable wins in 2018 include the World Chambers Congress, which will take place in Dubai in 2021 with 1,500 delegates, and the Congress of the Societe International D’Urologie that will bring in 2,000 delegates to Dubai in 2021.

Steen Jakobsen, assistant vice president of Dubai Business Events, said: “One of Dubai’s strengths when it comes to reaching out to event planners and creating compelling bids for major events is the close team work and collaborative approach taken by stakeholders across the city.

“The monumental growth in the number of delegates set to attend business events in Dubai as a result of 2018 bid wins is testimony to the Emirate’s increasing appeal as a global business hub. 

“Business events hosted in the city play an important role in the development of our knowledge economy and are a crucial part of our wider tourism strategy and contribution to Dubai’s GDP growth.”

Last year Dubai also hosted the 57th ICCA Congress, which saw 1,156 meeting industry professionals from 79 countries gather in the Middle East for the first time to share knowledge, discuss key challenges and opportunities. The event, which took place from 11-14 November, was the largest ICCA Congress ever held outside of Europe.

Main image: IIA International Conference, May 2018