Dubai seeks to grow business market by 50%

Dubai seeks to grow business market by 50%
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Australia has been identified as a key focus for Dubai as it homes in on international MICE and business travel markets in an effort to double its visitation to 20 million arrivals per year by 2020.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is confident it can grow the international business tourism segment by 50% over that period to hit three million annual visitors, with the remainder accounted for by leisure.

“MICE has traditionally been very successful for Dubai,” DTCM's new director general Helal Al Marri told The Nibbler. “The Trade Centre runs at capacity most of the year”.

To cope with the substantial growth, there are plans for a new convention centre at Jebel Ali if Dubai’s bid for the 2020 World Expo is successful. There are also substantial conference facilities at several hotels such as Atlantis and the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis which will have capacity for 1000 delegates when its second tower opens in the fourth quarter.

However, with hotel occupancies running high at an average 86%, Dubai Convention Bureau has to work closely with hotels and venues to ensure function guests can be accommodated. There are currently 100,000 additional hotel rooms in Dubai's pipeline due for completion by 2015.

“We are also looking at how we can make it easier for business travellers to come to Dubai,” Al Marri revealed, with touches like SIM cards upon arrival and infrastructure improvements being considered.

Events will also play a role, with portal Dubai Calendar now absorbed into DTCM and the intention to strategically plan events around large international meetings in order to tempt visitors to stay longer.


Meanwhile, the new alliance between Qantas and Emirates is expected to fuel MICE growth to the emirate from Australia, according to DTCM Australasia director Julie King.

“MICE hasn’t been a major player in what done so far – we’ve been focused on building leisure traffic up,” she told The Nibbler. But she revealed that the next seven years will see DTCM work with the Australian corporate market to establish more companies in Dubai which will also grow the MICE and business travel sectors.

“We work mainly with targeted partners, using a more direct approach which is all about relationship building and giving organisers the tools to plan events in Dubai,” King said.

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