Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) announced its 2017 results, which overshot the 3-million visitor milestone for the
second consecutive year
. Welcoming a
record 3.3 million delegates and attendees in 2017
, up 9% from the previous year, the region’s largest trade venue hosted
353 MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) and business events
– a formidable
18% increase over 2016
- including 103 mega-events. The top performing events reflected strong sectoral alignment with the UAE’s economic diversification strategy that targets creation of an optimal balance between industries, ensuring sustainability and delivering new business opportunities.
year-on-year footfall increase
has been driven by the calendar’s ability to attract high quality visitors, delegates and attendees from 185 countries – and participating exhibitors with 56,360 exhibiting companies from 154 countries. With 39,202 exhibitors from overseas markets, DWTC registered a strong 10% increase in this base over 2016 on the back of proven participant ROI for foreign firms. The 2017 results are testament to DWTC’s ability to consistently attract increased and repeat foreign participation, and is a strong endorsement of the organisation’s reputation as a world-class business catalyst, and destination by the global community. DWTC’s impressive results further reiterates the impact of its diversified content-rich calendar of MICE and business events, as it continues to grow its contribution to Dubai’s economy and positioning as an influential global business hub.
also posted a steady increase, as DWTC hosted over 1.1 million foreign business travellers in 2017, representing 42% of overall participant volumes and 6% annual growth. The rise in number of international exhibiting companies and the continued concerted efforts to market Dubai’s MICE proposition in key visitation markets contributed to the rise in international business visitors to Dubai. China, Germany and Turkey made their debut in the top 10 source markets, while dominant mainstays Saudi Arabia, India, Oman, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Iran and Egypt, completed the list of top 10 business visitor markets.
“DWTC is driven by the future-focused vision of the UAE’s leadership, which has implemented the ambitious UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial 2071 to diversify the country’s economy and develop a competitive knowledge-based society to guarantee sustainable prosperity for its citizens. The strong increase in the number of key MICE and business events reflect sectors that are strategically aligned with Dubai Plan 2021 and the goals of building an innovation-led economy that contributes to the development of the UAE and Dubai. Our strategic innovation agenda is propelled by the vision set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into a global platform for industries based on knowledge, innovation and sustainability, and is inspired by the success of the UAE’s competitiveness as it achieved top rankings in 50 global indices including the IMF’s Ease of Doing Business Report and INSEAD’s Global Innovation Index, as well as the 10X growth vision for Dubai to be 10 years ahead of other competitive cities. We are committed to future-proofing DWTC’s businesses by sourcing smart solutions and integrating smart technologies that offer safe, secure and seamless experiences, setting the gold standard in digital innovation to attract more new and repeat international business visitors to Dubai, as the city accelerates towards the 20 million tourists target by 2020,”said His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Growth Across Key Sectors Aligned With National Diversification Agenda
The DWTC calendar added 29 new entrants including five exhibitions, nine associations and 15 conferences. Its
attracted 2.6 million participants
and 91 of the top-tier exhibitions recorded an average traffic of 28,132 attendees per event
. DWTC witnessed steady visitation growth rates across its calendar of MICE and business events, across a range of high-performing sectors including healthcare, medical and science; food, hospitality and catering; ICT, business and finance; energy and environment; industrial manufacturing; and property, development and real estate.
Healthcare, Medical & Science
Dubai’s strategic objective to promote and develop the city’s niche proposition as a medical tourism destination, and the Dubai Health Strategy aimed at reforming the industry across the public and private sector – have collectively resulted in the emergence of a competitive healthcare marketplace and increased global interest in the sector. DWTC hosted 26 events in the healthcare, medical and science sector in 2017, including seven new events. Total visitor participation at events hosted at DWTC in this sector grew by 30%
from 322,525 in 2016 to 419,217 in 2017 with a 16% surge in foreign participants
, boosted by a
in the number of exhibiting companies - from 9,089 in 2016 to 13,041 in 2017.
, the largest medical exhibition and conference in the Middle East, topped the sector’s figures with 102,666 visitors and 4,072 exhibiting companies. The
UAE International Dental Conference and Arab Dental Exhibition
35% increase in the number of visitors
, with a 33% growth in foreign visitors and
Dubai International Pharmaceuticals and Technologies Conference attracted over 22,000 visitors
Hospitality, Food & Catering
DWTC added two new events to host 10 events in the hospitality, food and catering sector, which collectively witnessed a robust double-digit surge in the number of participants,
276,113 in 2016 to 325,438 in 2017
. As always,
, the largest annual gathering of food business professionals and suppliers, retained its ascendancy in the sector and attracted
, representing a
5% year-on-year increase and 58,454 foreign visitors - an 8% increase
. Visitors to
, which brings together the regional and global F&B manufacturing industry,
increased by 11%
to 36,125 out of which 16,979 were from international source markets. The new entrants for the calendar included the inaugural
, hospitality equipment and food service expo powered by Gulfood, which attracted significant interest with an impressive
, reinforcing the tremendous potential for DWTC to develop more niche spin-offs within various high-performing sectors to support scale up, capitalising on international demand.
Building on Dubai’s brand as a coveted city for the world’s largest hotel brands and hotel management organisations, as well as the emirate’s sustained positioning as the 4th most visited global city, the
sector’s signature events, Arabian Travel Market Exhibition and The Hotel Show benefited from impressive increases in their visitors, particularly from outside of the UAE.
Arabian Travel Market Exhibition
with a 7% increase in international visitors reported, while the
19% increase in visitors with over 20,000 attendees
Information Communications & Technology
accounted for 12 shows in the calendar recording
12% growth in the number of participants
across events – from 202,950 in 2016 to
226,708 in 2017
. The impressive growth in attendance reinforced Dubai’s role as an internationally reputed destination for future technologies and research and development, aligned with the Dubai 10X vision that urges entities to embrace solutions and disruptive innovation that are design-thinking-based, customer-focused and replace traditional business models. The sector was helmed by flagship mega-show
GITEX Technology Week
GITEX Future Stars
, a trailblazing innovation event showcasing game-changing technologies that convened a record
147,705 industry professionals, out of which 47,266 were foreign visitors with 4,700 exhibiting companies
Energy & Environment
Driven by the UAE’s commitment to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the headliners of the energy and environment sector, the 19th
WETEX and 2nd Dubai Solar Show
, a regional showcase of the latest developments in conventional energy and renewables held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, reported 2,000 exhibitors, a 33% increase, and 31,000 visitors – a 37% increase over 2016.
Middle East Electricity Exhibition
grew by 7% and attracted an impressive 62,567 visitors of which nearly half were from international markets.
Commenting on the evolution of Dubai’s MICE calendar and its significance in enabling continued economic growth, Almarri said: “DWTC’s events calendar is strategically focused on organising and curating exhibitions, events and shows that are aligned with the Dubai government’s sector diversification policies. Our scalable, flexible and content-rich calendar facilitates long-term show growth, stimulates trade activity with the wider region, and increases quality networking, to ensure that all participants – organisers, exhibitors, delegates and visitors derive from the highest ROI and see tangible value of Dubai as a global business hub.”
Diverse Portfolio Drives Future Growth & Innovation
“Building on DWTC’s success in 2017, aligned with Dubai’s progress towards a knowledge-based economy, we will further capitalise on our international reputation as a mega-event organiser and venue to accelerate growth and innovation across our diverse portfolio. Today, we are already demonstrating greater agility and versatility in our ability to upgrade our offerings, to anticipate and respond to consumer needs, and to feed the demands of the discerning global customer that is accustomed to service on demand. Yet this is an ongoing journey that needs us to adapt to the continuous and dramatic disruption across sectors and user behaviours – one that we not only recognise but are striving to build into our future-proofing solutions. With this goal in view, we remain committed to expanding and enhancing Dubai as the international platform that fosters creative thinking in business for the MENA region and beyond, as we deliver the ultimate, integrated, game-changing business destination experience,” Almarri said.
The DWTC Authority, a free zone offering onshore and offshore licenses for businesses, is ably complemented by One Central, a world-class lifestyle and entertainment development at the heart of Dubai's central business district, which is currently in Phase 3 and 4 of its development. Phase 2 was delivered ahead of schedule at the end of 2017, and continues to see a high level of activity within Dubai’s commercial property segment, due to its prime location and Grade A commercial assets.
The masterplan also comprises diverse hospitality offerings including the first 25hours hotel outside of Europe and residential sites which are collectively aimed at strengthening Dubai’s enduring appeal to regional businesses, international corporations and investors.
DWTC’s historic legacy expands to the Expo 2020 site with the development of the Expo Village, and the new Conference and Exhibition Centre (COEX). The COEX and Expo Village will push the boundaries of smart technology and sustainability, and extend DWTC’s successes across Dubai by establishing a new residential and business hub in the emirate.
“As we look ahead in this Year of Zayed, our series of strategic initiatives are aimed at spurring future growth, innovation and competitiveness to establish DWTC as the global innovation leader in the MICE sector. Guided and inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai’s leadership and unwavering support to DWTC, we will relentlessly pursue an ambitious agenda that contributes to the UAE’s rise in competitiveness as the leading international business destination,” said Almarri.