Dubai Is Not Slowing Down

Developments are always new and always exciting in this destination

Skydive Palm Jumeirah island

For a destination known as a luxurious getaway, Dubai is not one that slows down, particularly when it comes to new developments for meetings groups. The most popular city in the United Arab Emirates "has built a strong reputation for offering a diverse range of experiences to appeal to the tastes and interests of visitors from around the world," notes Steen Jakobsen, director of Dubai Business Events. He adds that a particular focus this year will be "building on Dubai's growing status as a knowledge hub and leveraging that to bring more events to the city."

Part of that focus will be factoring more meeting and convention space into Dubai's infrastructure. The Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) is already the largest purpose-built convention and exhibition center in the Middle East, playing host to international trade fairs, conventions, and consumer shows. Meetings space at DWTC has been joined by that of Madinat Jumeirah (which saw the opening of the Jumeirah Al Naseem last December), Atlantis The Palm, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, and, most recently, Al Habtoor City; but the building boom is far from over.

Jakobsen also affirms that this is expected to be a strong year for incentive travel. "We have many large groups lined up, including companies such as Nu Skin, Amway, and Usana Health Sciences," he says. These groups can expect an amazing array of heritage attractions, such as group desert safaris, falconry, and camel riding; the Gold and Spice Souks; the Al Fahidi Historical District; and the new Etihad Museum. Also opened this year: The Qasr Al Sultan, a dining and entertainment venue that is themed around traditional Arabian hospitality.

The newly opened Dubai Parks and Resorts is the region's largest integrated theme park resort, featuring Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai, and Bollywood Parks Dubai. Many of its attractions can be used as event venues, and it has in-house, fully licensed catering services, says Julien Munoz, vice president of sales. "Our meeting and events team can truly transform any private or corporate event into an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Adding to the mix is the recently announced Marsa Al Arab, two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah which is expected to feature a convention center with an attached business hotel; and a new 592,000-square-foot convention center under development near Dubai Creek that will include a 10,000-seat hall.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]

This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.