Projects with innovative concepts, the most conducive investment-friendly climate as well as a robust exhibitions and events sector have collectively shaped Dubai as one of most thriving destinations for business tourism.
Reaffirming the status of the emirate, the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives (SITE) in its recent report said Dubai is one of the most popular destinations in the world for companies organising overseas meetings and incentive travel. SITE is a not-for-profit, international professional association devoted to the pursuit of excellence in incentives, a multi-billion dollar global industry.
Such endorsements by international organisations assume enormous significance in the light of the forthcoming 8th Global Travel and Tourism Summit to be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, from 20-22 April at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.
The summit is a platform for leading businessmen and decision makers from around the world to discuss latest trends in the travel and tourism sector.
The choice of Dubai for the summit is a global affirmation of the major strides the emirate has taken in travel and tourism, validating the vision and policy direction of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015.
Dubai is a logical choice for investors and businesses to set up operations as a major gateway to regions such as the Middle East, Africa, South and Central Asia. More than a quarter of Fortune 500 firms have made Dubai their regional base due to its excellent infrastructure and business environment.
Rather than resting on its laurels, Dubai's leadership is further augmenting the emirate's status as a regional business hub. With the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, unveiled in February 2007, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed cast Dubai as a model for economic diversification for the region's oil-rich countries, emphasizing on investment in non-oil and gas sectors. Tourism services (both direct and indirect) figured prominently in his plan, standing out as drivers in the emirate's economic development.
World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) President Jean-Claude Baumgarten said: "Dubai has always been characterised as a place to trade and conduct business, a place where markets and merchants come together. This characteristic element gives Dubai the momentum to thrive while defining a new, modern emirate.
"Dubai's travel and tourism sector continues to grow at an impressive rate. Hundreds of thousands of business visitors and exhibitors increase the demand for accommodations, restaurant services, transportation and other related amenities."
The trend of increasing business tourism comes as no surprise when the growth in Dubai's tourism industry is taken into consideration. According to the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department, the total number of tourists booking into hotels in Dubai increased to 6.44 million in 2007 from 5.42 million in 2004.
Today, meetings, conferences and exhibitions have become a major component of the Dubai's business and tourism expansion plans. Dubai alone hosts over 100 major international exhibitions making itself the region's leading destination for conferences, seminars and events. Some of the major trade events that have evolved with Dubai include GITEX, CABSAT, The Big 5, Arab Media Forum, Arabian Travel Market, DIFC Week, and Dubai International Boat Show.
Over two days of intensive presentations and discussions, the Global Travel and Tourism Summit will address key global challenges facing the industry, such as infrastructure, industry and government partnerships, economic influences as well as environmental and social concerns. Participants will also seek to unlock the potential for sustainable and responsible growth.
WTTC is the forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry. With Chairmen and Chief Executives of one hundred of the world's leading Travel & Tourism companies as its Members, WTTC has a unique mandate and overview on all matters related to Travel & Tourism.
WTTC works to raise awareness of Travel & Tourism as one of the world's largest industries, employing approximately 238 million people and generating nearly 10% of world GDP.