Dubai World Trade Centre remains focused on growth and expansion

Dubai's premier business event centre created 69,000 jobs last year

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Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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Crowds at an exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre. According to DWTC’s recent Economic Impact Annual Report (EIA), in 2023, total economic output reached Dh18.3 billion from 76 large-scale exhibitions. — File photo
Crowds at an exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre. According to DWTC’s recent Economic Impact Annual Report (EIA), in 2023, total economic output reached Dh18.3 billion from 76 large-scale exhibitions. — File photo

Published: Mon 17 Jun 2024, 5:23 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Jun 2024, 11:30 PM

Building on its successes of large-scale events in 2023, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) remains focused on growth and expansion this year, a senior official said.

“At DWTC, we have continued our trajectory of driving substantial impact for Dubai’s economy. Aligned with the Dubai Economic Agenda’s (D33) aim to secure the city’s status as one of the top three global destinations for business and travel by 2033, we continue to spearhead sector diversification efforts, reinforcing the city’s stature as a leading global business hub,” Mahir Julfar, executive vice president at the DWTC, told Khaleej Times in an interview.


According to the DWTC’s recent Economic Impact Annual Report (EIA), in 2023, total economic output reached Dh18.3 billion from 76 large-scale exhibitions, international association conventions, and industry conferences out of a total of 301 events. “Notably, Dh10.53 billion of this output was retained as Gross Value Added (GVA) to Dubai’s GDP, representing 58 per cent of the total economic output being reinvested in the local economy,” Julfar said.

Key sectors such as ICT, healthcare, medical and scientific, and food, hotel and catering led the way, collectively generating Dh6.27 billion in GVA and attracting a significant portion of total event attendees. “The accomplishments of 2023 demonstrate DWTC’s resilience and growth potential, further reinforcing Dubai’s position as a powerhouse of economic activity and innovation,” Julfar said.


DWTC is a global leader in the MICE industry, serving as a cornerstone of Dubai’s vibrant economy. The significance of this sector is profound as it catalyses growth across multiple business sectors, including hotels, aviation, transportation, retail, and restaurants, all of which are integral to the city’s economic vitality. “We are continuously undertaking active measures to maintain our position as a key contributor to the broader business and innovation ecosystem of Dubai, leveraging synergies with other key sectors such as technology, finance, and education to create a holistic environment for growth. These initiatives are designed to solidify Dubai’s reputation as a dynamic centre for business and innovation, driving sustainable economic growth,” Julfar said.

In 2023, DWTC’s events have also supported over 69,000 jobs, further generating Dh3.36 billion in disposable household income into the local economy.

Mahir Julfar, executive vice president at Dubai World Trade Centre
Mahir Julfar, executive vice president at Dubai World Trade Centre

“Notably, the number of international participants at our events soared by 53 per cent in 2023 compared to the previous year, with 1.54 million attendees traveling to Dubai for these events. International visitors had a greater economic impact, spending an average of Dh10,313 per event — 6.2 times higher than the expenditure of local participants,” Julfar said.

The success of DWTC’s own events and exhibitions such as GITEX Global and Gulfood, which generated Dh7.22Bn in economic output and Dh4.15Bn in GVA – a 53 per cent increase over 2022 – “reflects DWTC’s unparalleled expertise in delivering world-class events that resonate with global audiences”, Julfar said. “The sector drives economic activity across adjacent industries such as hotels, aviation, transportation, retail, and restaurants, highlighting its vital role in Dubai’s socio-economic development,” he added.

Dubai’s status as a premier international MICE destination, coupled with the DWTC’s robust events calendar, has been instrumental in drawing the global business community in record numbers to the city. “The number of international participants at our events have seen a notable increase of 53 per cent in 2023 compared with the previous year, with 1.54 million international visitors traveling to Dubai to attend. These visitors create a positive impact on the greater economy through an average spend of Dh10,313 per event, which translate to 6.2 times higher than the local expenditure of participants,” Julfar said.

With an ambitious eye on what lies ahead, Julfar said that the DWTC remains committed to shaping the future of Dubai’s business tourism and trade by driving innovation, growth, and global collaboration. “We are focused on sustainable development and sector diversification to reinforce Dubai’s position as a leading global business hub,” he added.

A key element of this strategy is the Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) at Expo City, spanning over 58,000 square metres with six halls that can be configured into 14 different setups, capable of hosting up to eight events simultaneously. “This addition plays a crucial role in maintaining a vibrant event calendar, boosting repeat visitation, and increasing the length of visitor stays,” Julfar said.

The appetite for growth and the promising developments in our sector signal a bright future outlook, ensuring that DWTC continues to be a cornerstone of Dubai’s economic journey, he added.



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