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Dubai “Not There Yet” As A Global Conventions Hub, Says Expert

Dubai “Not There Yet” As A Global Conventions Hub, Says Expert

The International Congress & Convention Association shares global business events expertise in preparation for Expo 2020.

Dubai is not currently seen as an international hub for business conventions, according to Nina Pretorius, vice president of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA).

Speaking to local business leaders in Dubai, she said: “I think you know that you have to work together, I don’t think you’re there yet.” She emphasised however that although Dubai was not yet an international player, the emirate was a key regional hub with over 50 per cent market events in the local business share.

The event concluded a four-day visit by the ICCA, organised as part of ongoing efforts to boost Dubai’s profile as a hub for global business events. The event attracted groups such as Jumeirah, Emaar and Emirates, and included a programme that focused on positioning the Middle East as a business events hub in the context of Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid.

Arnaldo Nardone, ICCA president said that the Expo 2020 event could be used as a powerful marketing tool to develop business, but that Dubai also needed to “re-angle itself” to expand in the meetings market and had to learn to treat the tourism industry and meetings industry as “completely different markets.”

Hala Ghandour, deputy managing director of the UAE’s Expo bid said that she envisioned the 2020 event as providing a “gateway” for business from emerging markets and a platform for global trade.

Director of DCB, Steen Jakobsen also commented on the first stage of hotel development in preparation for 2020, highlighting the 10,000 new rooms being built across 35 hotels by 2015 including a small number of projects that were originally put on hold after the economic downturn in 2008.

Although Jacobsen was unable to comment on the MICE facilities in the new hotels, Martin Sirk, ICCA CEO said it would be “absurd” for hotels to develop in Dubai without substantial MICE infrastructure.

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