Record breaking impressive number of business events captured, with 49% growth in 2023, substantially exceeding pre-pandemic levels
Achievement underlines the consolidation of Dubai’s status as a competitive hub for international business events
submitted by Rahul Odedra, Manager, Dubai Economy and Tourism
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Dubai further consolidated its status as a major hub for international business events in 2023, with the city winning a record 349 bids to host prestigious international conferences, congresses, meetings, and incentive travel programmes. Driven by Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, the wins reflected a robust 49% increase in successful bids compared to 2022. These events captured in 2023 are set to attract over 191,000 international delegates.
Under its business events and delegate boosting strategy, DBE brought an impressive citywide offering to the global market that resonated with the core needs of the business events industry. Positioning Dubai as the foremost destination for international business events and increasing appetite among associations and corporates to conduct meetings in the city, DBE worked closely with stakeholders across the public and private sectors to covert interest into confirmed events. While some of these already took place within 2023 itself, others are confirmed for coming years, joining wins from previous years, with Dubai’s strong appeal driving a pipeline of impactful events as far as 2029.
Bidding activity and success has continued to accelerate since the global Covid-19 pandemic with the number of bid wins in 2023 exceeding the previous record of 295 bids registered in 2019. The events secured for the city will play a vital role in driving trade, investment and attracting global talent – all critical pillars to build a stronger, more productive, and diverse economy – in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33. Importantly, business events also plays a role in creating new advocates for the city further enhancing Dubai’s appeal as a leading destination for business events.
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said: “Driven by the leadership and vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the city’s business events ecosystem continues to play a vital role in wider tourism and economic development, in line with the priorities of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33.
“Business events have consistently proved to be an important catalyst for the city’s development, driving knowledge growth and contributing the evolution of key sectors and industries. Dubai’s success in securing major international conferences, congresses, meetings and incentives in 2023 was a reward for the robust efforts of all stakeholders across the public and private sectors. The events captured and taking place over the coming years will bring business leaders, innovators and changemakers together in Dubai, with the whole city and emirate benefitting from our fast-growing knowledge economy, further contributing to our collective momentum.
“To keep the momentum going, we have charted ambitious plans for the year ahead and are working closely with all stakeholders – from hotels and event organizers to attractions and venues – to attract the biggest and most prestigious events and congresses to the city and raise the profile of Dubai as a year-round global business events destination. Throughout 2024, the DBE team and partners will engage with meetings professionals and potential clients around the world, further elevating the city’s positioning and competitiveness.”
Prominent among the most noteworthy successful bids in 2023 are association events such as Critical Communications World 2024 with 3,800 delegates, the WCA Worldwide Annual Conference 2024, with 4,500 delegates, the International Trademark Association’s Annual Meeting 2026, with 10,000 delegates, and the Million Dollar Round Table Global Conference 2024, with 10,000 delegates. This is in addition to an impressive line-up of corporate and incentive events coming to the city, including TOKEN2049 and Nuskin Elite, both taking place this year with 4,000 and 1,000 delegates respectively, as well as Amway ESAN 2025, which is expected to bring 3,500 visitors to Dubai.
DBE partnered with hotels, venues, professional congress organizers (PCOs), destination management companies (DMCs) and other service providers across the city to secure these wins, also collaborating with local associations, businesses and other entities to develop comprehensive proposals to showcase Dubai’s capabilities as a business events destination. As a result of DBE’s continuous efforts to drive the business events sector, Dubai was voted the top meeting and MICE destination in the Middle East by Cvent for 2023. Dubai was also named the Middle East’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2023 by the World Travel Awards.
In addition to working with various service providers, DBE leveraged its role as one of the co-founders of the Dubai Association Centre (DAC) to support its mission to build relationships with international associations and attract them to Dubai, with 60% of delegates set to come to Dubai as a result of bid wins visiting for association conferences and congresses. Additionally, DBE’s Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme played a critical role in identifying and supporting local UAE-based key opinion leaders and government representatives, including doctors, scientists, professors, teachers, government officials and businesspersons, to attract international business events to Dubai in 2023.
DBE has already kicked off its year-round calendar of industry engagements, with a series of sales missions in target markets and participation in major trade shows, including IMEX Frankfurt, IMEX America and IBTM World. DBE also is working closely with industry stakeholders to host meeting planners in Dubai for a series of study missions that will allow them to experience Dubai’s business events and tourism infrastructure and its rapidly growing knowledge economy.
Visit www.dubaibusinessevents.com to find out more.