Beyond swathes of golden beaches, world-class shopping, dining and nightlife as well as spectacular events and sporting championships, Dubai is one of the world’s most exhilarating MICE destinations with its well-developed infrastructure, excellent accommodation options and versatile venues for meetings and conventions, and much more.
A cosmopolitan city strategically located between Europe and Asia, Dubai is one of the world’s most diverse and dynamic MICE destinations well known for its sophisticated infrastructure, excellent flight connectivity, and reputation as a regional business, knowledge and leisure hub that provides experienced industry support and a wide range of entertainment options, heritage sites, natural attractions and cultural experiences for incentive activities.
Constantly driven by a quest for excellence, Dubai is more ambitious than ever when it comes to sharpening its edge as a MICE destination. Having welcomed 10 million visitors during the course of a year for the first time in 2012, Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020 aims to welcome 20 million visitors a year by 2020 and treble tourism’s contribution to the economy. One year later, having won the bid to host the World Expo in 2020, Dubai has been busy upgrading its infrastructure to get ready for upcoming mega event, such as the construction of mid-range hotels and the first phase of the ‘Dubai Trolley’, the world's first hydrogen-powered trolley system that just opened in Downtown Dubai this May.
“Hardware” aside, Dubai has an “It” factor that cannot be found in most destinations. A visionary city where tradition meets ambition, Dubai manages to combine the old and the new by offering a fascinating kaleidoscope of contrasts - a distinctive blend of Modern City that provides the comfort and convenience of the western world and an exotic destination with charming Arabic hospitality, heritage and culture.
A metropolis built from a small fishing village in the middle of a desert, Dubai takes pride in daring to dream big. It’s truly amazing to think that just 50 years ago the city still sat in darkness without electricity, but has since been transformed into the modern, multicultural, dynamic metropolis that it is today at an astounding pace.
Global aviation hub
With more than 100 different airlines flying into Dubai (including low-cost carriers like flydubai) and all the major hotel chains very well represented in the city, Dubai offers an exceptional portfolio of some 625 hotel establishments (April 2014) with a growing mid-range hotel segment featuring three- and four-star hotels. Regardless of their star status, hotels in Dubai are committed to accommodating and catering events of any size and type with exceptional meeting facilities.
Besides state-of-the-art conventional venues such as Dubai World Trade Centre, why not plan a meeting amidst the majestic sand dunes in plain nature or at the Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world? Beyond the conference, why not impress your incentive group by taking them to a friendly game of camel polo or an adrenalin-packed round of sky diving? The endless possibilities in Dubai would leave you spoiled for choice when it comes to planning your events and incentives.
Listed by the New York Times as one of the “must-visit” places in 2014, there are always many new things on the horizon in Dubai – from shopping and dining to outdoor adventures and cultural opportunities. Let it be air connectivity, hotels, venues, activities or events, visitors have them all in one city at a high standard of quality without breaking the bank for it. The fact that Dubai delivers great value for money keeps visitors coming back year after year.
More than just leisure, these hotels offer some of Dubai’s most impressive meeting facilities by combining business with finesse and style.
Closely located to the Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Mall, Grand Hyatt Dubai hosts 17 multi-purpose and high-tech meeting rooms and two pillar-less ballrooms – the opulent Baniyas Grand Ballroom, which offers 1,950 sqm of pillar-less function space that can accommodate about 2,000 guests, and the divisible Al Ameera Ballroom, which can hold up to 800 guests theatre-style and 700 for a banquet. There are also 11 multiple-purpose meeting rooms and two boardrooms.
The new opening of a pioneering residential-style multi-event venue called Al Manzil, encompassing over 600 sqm of flexible event space, is a godsend for those seeking a creative alternative to a traditional meeting space.
As the world's tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis delivers service levels and product quality to match its stunning height. Located in Business Bay in downtown Dubai, the hotel boasts over 1,600 guest rooms and suites spread out across its 72 floors with panoramic city views, as well as 86,004 sq ft of indoor and outdoor space with 32 event rooms.
Another luxury venue that is certain to impress is Conrad Dubai, situated in the financial district of downtown Dubai. It offers a splendid setting for events of all kinds with 11 flexible and dynamic conference rooms, 3 boardrooms and 2 grand ballrooms. Particularly renowned for its lineup of fine dining restaurants such as Marco Pierre White Grill, Conrad Dubai also features a superb range of fitness facilities including a Spa and Fitness Centre.
Located in the famous Dubai Marina overlooking turquoise waters, Grosvenor House Dubai consists of two glittering towers offering luxurious accommodation and meeting facilities. The conference centre, served by a separate entrance, boasts a multi-use ballroom, boardrooms and syndicate meeting rooms. Other amenities include a gym, terrace pool, 16 inspired restaurants, and access to the private beach at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa.
It’s not often that we find a hotel where visitors can swim with dolphins and discover fun-filled marine adventures while having their meetings in top-notch facilities. Mixing business with pleasure has never been easier at Atlantis the Palm, perched at the very tip of the crescent on Palm Jumeirah. A family destination in its own right, the resort offers 1,539 hotel rooms, 21 restaurants and bars, 5,600sq m of meeting space (14 meeting rooms, three ballrooms and two boardrooms), a spa, a nightclub, 1.4km of private beach, an aquarium, a lagoon for swimming with dolphins, as well as the awesome Aquaventure waterpark. Here is a place where vacationers and conference delegates rubs shoulders, and it feels so right doing so.
Another family favourite is Jumeirah Beach Hotel, ranked as the number one family hotel in TripAdvisor’s Traveller Choice Awards 2014. Its free access Wild Wadi Waterpark explains its popularity, but the hotel is also a prominent meeting venue in its own right. With its striking wave-like design, the hotel features a flexible, elegant ballroom that can sit up to 1,500 guests; a Club Executive Pool Terrace, where up to 200 guests can enjoy idyllic views of the Arabian Gulf in an outdoor event; and an auditorium with a seating capacity for more than 400.
Also located Palm Jumeirah off a private sandy beach, Sofitel Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort and Spa has seamlessly combined business and pleasure with their chic guest rooms, suites and apartments complemented by Polynesian island-themed tropical decorations and sophisticated meetings facilities and equipment, including a ballroom that can accommodate up to 800 people, and seven intimate meeting rooms.
No venues can bring business under one roof quite like the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). As the region’s largest MICE venue with over 30 years’ experience and more than one million sqm of multi-purpose space, the colossal DWTC hosts more than 500 events across international trade fairs, mega consumer shows and high-profile conventions.
On the other hand, the state-of-the-art Conference Centre of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is designed for world-class organisations and well-travelled executives. Located in the heart of Dubai within 2-5 minutes of walking distance from anywhere in the financial district, the Conference Centre enjoys easy access to a complete range of business and lifestyle facilities like offices, restaurants, retail shops, and luxury accommodation such as the Ritz-Carlton.
Those seeking a unique racecourse experience should look no further than the Meydan, home to the Dubai World Cup and many other spectacular events. The horse-racing venue adds a certain “wow” factor to your event featuring a portfolio of world-class conference facilities and amenities including a trackside hotel and an array of high-quality restaurants.
Hosting incentive groups has never been the same for Dubai since Nu Skin China Enterprises brought over a record-breaking number of delegates during 6-17 April 2014 for what turned out to be the single largest corporate holiday trip in UAE history. The statistics alone are sure to impress: some 14,500 attendees travelling from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan needed to use 71 Emirates Airline flights, two chartered Emirates A380s, around 40,000 room nights in 40 hotels, and more than 450 luxury coaches.
The direct-sales organization, which specializes in beauty and nutrition products, conducted the “Nu Skin Success Trip” to celebrate its 30th anniversary. After an intense six-month bid process, Dubai was chosen over Macao, Seoul and Singapore. It was not hard for Steen Jakobsen, Director of Convention and Business Tourism at Dubai Convention Bureau, to figure out why. “We can make anything you’re looking for possible here. The shopping, leisure activities here are unique, for one thing. It’s very important for [Nu Skin] to have some sort of alignment between the vision of the company and the destination they go for. Nu Skin is trying to communicate to its delegates that if you work hard and dream, incredible things can happen, and that’s what created Dubai, which has evolved to become the metropolis it is today with a lot of hard work and strong leadership.”
Hosting the group was not only a milestone for Dubai, but also showcased its growing appeal as a business and leisure hub with its capability to host events of similar size and scale.
Led by Dubai Business Events – the Official Convention Bureau, Dubai’s leading hotels, tour organisers and a broad spectrum of tourism stakeholders including Emirates Airline and Arabian Adventures worked closely together to host the mega 10-day incentives trip. The group were taken on a huge city tour to experience Dubai’s attractions and landmarks, including the Dubai Mall, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building; the Burj Dubai, the world’s largest mall; and Bastakiya, a historic district located in the heart of the city.
A total of 450 luxury coaches were required to escort the guests to different sites of interest and activities in Dubai and beyond, such as a Dhow Cruise, the Grand Mosque, Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Islamic Museum and the Blue Souq. Another 40 limousines were also provided for the company’s senior management and VIP guests.
The group also attended training workshops and enjoyed two gala dinners (for 7,500 delegates), each held over two days at Dubai’s Meydan Events Arena near Bab Al Shams. The lavish Arabian-themed banquet dinner was prepared by more than 300 chefs, featuring a fireworks display and a wide selection of culinary delights such as more than 300 ouzie, the Arabian Gulf region’s signature slow-cooked whole lamb dish, as well as 70,000 pieces of mezza appetisers, more than 2,500 kg of rice, 21,000 kebab skewers, 3,400 kg of shawarma meat and 4,600 kg of beef and chicken.
Aside from the “hardware”, the DECB used social media to generate intense interest among the Chinese delegates throughout the trip by encouraging them to act as ambassadors for Dubai by posting photographs of their trip. A competition was run on the Sina Weibo platform to see which one got the most ‘shares’.
Thanks to the trip’s tremendous success, Dubai not just enjoyed an economic impact of around USD$80 million, but also highly boosted its reputation as a leading MICE destination with its exceptional commitment and professionalism later recognized by the Crystal Award from the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE).
HOW TO GET THERE
Convenience, speed, and new, modern facilities are just some of the advantages offered at Dubai International airport and Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central. With over 7,000 weekly flights operated by 125 airlines from 260 destinations on every continent (except Antarctica), you have a wide range of options to choose from when flying to Dubai. It’s easy to find a carrier to fit any budget or itinerary.
The official airline of Dubai, Emirates is an award-winning airline with an extensive, modern fleet offering daily non-stop flights from 140 destinations to Dubai. Visit emirates.com to learn more and to book a flight.
Looking for low-cost, flexible fares and a great flying experience? Check out flydubai.com
Flydubai flies to and from more than 80 destinations with new ones added all the time.
Dubai metro is a world-class, fully automated, driverless Railway System. The Dubai Metro is split into two branches: The Red Line and the Green Line. Most of the Metro is above ground, offering great views, but in congested parts of the city, the lines run underground.
Dubai Tram runs from Dubai Marina to Al Sufouh in 42 minutes. Stations along the line include Jumeirah Beach Residence 1, Jumeirah Beach Residence 2, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, Marina Towers, Mina Seyahi, Media City, Palm Jumeirah, Knowledge Village and Al Sufouh. Two stations — Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers —link to the Dubai Metro, allowing for a smooth interchange for passengers between the two systems.
ON THE WATER
Whether you’re on an abra, waterbus, water taxi or ferry, travelling by water allows you to sit back and enjoy breathtaking views.
The waterbus plies Dubai Creek as well as Dubai Marina, providing a modern water transit service.
Water taxis have more privacy than other forms of waterborne transport and often have amenities such as premium seating. There are water taxi stations along the coast, from Al Mamzar to the Atlantis Resort on the Palm Jumeirah.
Dubai Ferry service
Dubai Ferry travels between Al Ghubaiba and the Marina Station, and all the boats boast the latest in navigation systems. In addition to creating an important link to our transport system, they give passengers and tourists a great view of the Dubai coast and skyline.
… and if that’s not enough biking and taxi driving are of course also an option.
Helping associations set up in Dubai and opening them to the Middle East community is all what the Dubai Association Centre is about. An initiative designed to facilitate the licensing of associations, whether local, regional or international, is - at least to me - a first and must be applauded and studied.
Dubai offers competitive advantages many of you are already familiar with: a leading international centre for business, commerce, industry and tourism, it boasts a dynamic workforce while the government is constantly investing in strategic infrastructure and transportation projects to ensure a prosperous economic future. The Emirate prides itself on its business-friendly policies. Always a trading society, it has brought its ‘open doors’ spirit into the modern world, attracting foreign business and investment through free-trade zones, zero income tax and VAT, and a favorable corporate taxation policy.
When it comes to hosting associations and making it easy for associations, Dubai is a pioneer, opening its doors wide to organisations looking to establish a Middle-Eastern presence. Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which was signed earlier this year, the Dubai Association Centre (DAC) offers assistance for the establishment of international non-profit, professional associations and trade bodies in Dubai. Once set up, the associations have access to the UAE and GCC markets, as well those in the wider Middle East, Africa and Asia. This allows for a formal environment where associations can form a membership-based community or open a regional representative office to conduct business in the UAE and beyond, the Middle East region being a relatively untapped market for international organisations.
The Dubai Association Centre is a joint initiative of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DTWC). When asked about the underlying idea behind Dubai Association Centre, His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and head of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), said: ‘It is our aim to ensure that doing business in Dubai is made as easy as possible and to grow Dubai into an international hub for associations. This centre offers a professional and supportive environment in which worldwide associations can base their headquarters. DAC will foster the development of scientific knowledge and professional education in the Emirate.’
Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events (DBE) adds: ‘Dubai today is an international centre for hosting major global events, exhibitions and conferences and is the world’s next door neighbour at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. We offer easy access to many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies. The associations will benefit from economies of scale, experience in the association marketplace, flexibility and adaptability, increased buying power and centralised facilities at the centre.’
A DAC license enables associations to open an office at the DWTC’s Sheikh Rashid Tower in Dubai and enjoy use of the complex’s numerous facilities. In terms of services, DAC has partnered with MCI, a leader in association management and congress organisation. With a proven record of helping associations grow in a sustainable manner, MCI staff is at hand not only regarding day-to-day operations and business development, but also to plan a strategic vision and define the best way forward when expanding in the Middle East.
Home to more than 200 nationalities, Dubai has a (short) history of welcoming individuals of all backgrounds and faiths and a pleasant and cosmopolitan lifestyle. With the establishment of the Association Centre, it continues the path and enlarges its vision of a multicultural, across-all-trades society.
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From couture cocktails and meticulous meetings to outdoor gatherings and sophisticated dinners, Dubai boasts an unrivalled range of venues in different locations and settings at the highest standards of hospitality and service imaginable.
Overlooking the Burj Khalifa and located in the heart of Business Bay just minutes from Dubai Mall, The Oberoi, Dubai is a contemporary hotel with an elegant grand ballroom that can be used in its entirety or divided into three sections, with nine meeting rooms and an executive boardroom with a private terrace. Located in the Old Town Island in Downtown Dubai, The Palace Downtown Dubai is a five-star premium hotel looking out onto The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa on one side. Their Royale Ballroom that can accommodate up to 300 guests, ideal for medium-large corporate events.
The new Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach features a conference venue for 12 to 360 guests, encompassing 112,900 sqm of event space. The ballroom and meeting rooms are all conveniently grouped in a grand beachfront setting, open to a terrace and lawn, offering a sense of urban sophistication uncommon among Dubai beach resorts.
The supply of four-star hotels is getting more and more abundant as the city is busy developing the mid-market sector. Their quality is so high that they might be mistaken for five-star properties. Media One Hotel offers stylish trendy accommodation in a convenient location, just 2 km from Dubai Marina with views of the Arabian Gulf, featuring seven flexible meeting rooms and a business centre.
Another stylish offering is Manzil Downtown Dubai Hotel, only a few minutes’ walk from Dubai landmarks such as Burj Khalifa. Featuring 197 rooms overlooking views of the Manzil gardens, the pool, or the iconic Burj Khalifa, the hotel prides on offering luxurious accommodation with traditional Arabian hospitality at affordable prices.
Also located in the proximity of Burj Khalifa (a 10-minute walk away), Vida Downtown achieves the optimal balance between business and comfort by providing guests an oasis of calm and MICE amenities including four meeting rooms.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, why not have your meeting surrounded by the grandeur of the majestic desert? Located in the Dubai Desert Reserve, Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa offers guests the opportunity to experience the Arabian Nights in an authentic Bedouin setting while providing versatile meeting rooms such as Al Majlis Boardroom, protected from the sun by palm trees and shrubbery in which Arabian oryx and gazelle are frequently spotted grazing.
Also in the Reserve is Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, an exclusive low-rise resort nestled in the dunes of Dubai surrounded by gently sloping dunes and natural desert landscape, featuring a variety of Arabia-themed versatile meeting rooms and exquisite restaurants.
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.