New figures reveal that 2007 was officially the busiest year in the history of Dubai World Trade Centre The company’s year-end results show consistent growth across all of its businesses, with the DWTC Venue, Exhibitions and Hospitality divisions in particular recording strong growth and the Real Estate division achieving key strategic milestones.
As a group, DWTC grew by over 25% in 2007, increasing headcount from just over 1,000 employees in 2006 to 1,255 employees today. This rapid expansion was fuelled by the ongoing industry growth and the consequent need to provide DWTC with the human capital required to achieve its aggressive vision of making Dubai the world’s leading destination for all major exhibitions, conferences and events.
Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, DWTC, said: ‘We are steadily scaling the curve of growing our business ‘five times in five years’ in line with our strategic vision. The fact that 2007 has showcased consistent and aligned progress across all our business lines demonstrates that we are on-track and reinforcing our position as the catalyst for business in the region.’
Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) welcomed over one million (1,000,000) visitors across exhibitions, events, conferences and other shows in 2007, recording a 25 percent increase over the previous year. In total, the venue hosted 97 exhibitions and 9 confexes (conferences with significant exhibition components). 2007’s prestigious Diabetes and Annual World Dental Congresses hosted at DICEC surpassed prior records in delegate traffic, attracting 12,500 and over 25,000 visitors respectively.
Within the fast-growing meetings sector, DICEC was also the venue for over 250 congresses, seminars and workshops, which in turn attracted a further 50,000 business delegates to Dubai.
‘Breaking through the one million visitor ceiling is a monumental achievement for DWTC and provides the group with an important platform for growth in 2008. It demonstrates how effectively we are promoting Dubai to the international market and also underlines our capacity and capabilities for hosting major business events,‘added Al Marri.
DWTC also took steps towards ensuring that it can maintain this momentum going forward and can continue to drive growth in Dubai’s business tourism sector. The DWTC Real Estate Division oversaw groundbreaking on the first phase of its Dubai Trade Centre District (DTCD) project - the high-end commercial development that will create a new central business quarter at the heart of the UAE.
In addition, 2007 also saw the beginnings of the Dubai Exhibition City project - a 7 Sq. Km. development aimed at creating a dynamic and integrated commercial destination anchored by one of the world’s largest, state-of-the art exhibition facility dedicated to major trade fairs.
Both projects are designed to be unique lifestyle environments that promote global business tourism with networking opportunities and world-class infrastructure, enabling Dubai to host the most prestigious conferences, exhibitions and events.
Hospitality Division Growth
DWTC’s award-winning hospitality team significantly expanded its operations in 2007. The hospitality division provided catering for 1,789 events throughout the year, including 298 weddings. Catering for events and exhibitions grew by 35% over the previous year. Additionally, DICEC was one of the more popular wedding venues in the UAE, registering a 50% increase in the number of weddings hosted over the previous year.
DWTC Food & Beverages department served over 1.1 million covers across external and internal events in 2007, making it one of the busiest catering teams in the Middle East
‘The strong growth achieved by the hospitality division underlines the importance of the role that DWTC plays in the community. We have invested to ensure that we can offer world-class hospitality with quality and service second to none, and we are seeing that investment being rewarded by increased uptake of our services,’ said Al Marri.
Exhibition Sector Registers Double Digit Expansion
Trade exhibitions and shows continued to register double-digit growth throughout 2007, attracting the highest volume of business visitors to Dubai yet.
Growth in total exhibition space rented by DICEC for tradeshows in Dubai was fuelled by a 27% rise in the average space growth per show compared to the previous year. Fifteen of the largest shows surpassed the average figures with a record 35% increase in size. Increase in the size and the total number of exhibitions, conferences and other events hosted at DICEC contributed to parallel growth in the visitor traffic relative to 2006.
Real Estate Division Achieves Milestones
2007 saw DWTC make important progress on its two key real estate projects: Dubai Exhibition City (DEC) and Dubai Trade Centre District (DTCD).
The group successfully broke ground on the DTCD project at the start of 2007, and also appointed Jones Lang LaSalle as the exclusive office leasing agent for the development. DWTC also signed agreements with four major hotel operators for the 1,150 rooms and 500 serviced apartments being developed within the property.
Development work on Dubai Exhibition City also progressed, with high levels of international interest in the unique concept. Preparatory work was completed for the state-of-the-art event venue at the project’s centre, Dubai Exhibition World.
In September 2007, DWTC and the National Bank of Dubai signed an Dhs800m short-term loan facility, as the first stage of funding for the groups development plans.
Al Marri concluded: ‘All of DWTC’s business divisions showed record growth, achieved strong performance and accomplished significant milestones in their specific sectors during 2007. What is even more exciting is that this collaborative effort takes us a step closer towards our vision of making Dubai the world’s leading destination for all major exhibitions, conferences and events, in line with Dubai Strategy 2015.’