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Dubai to become top event destination, says DTCM chief

Dubai: Dubai is expected to become one of the world’s top events destinations, Helal Saeed Al Merri, Director General of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said in a statement on Thursday.

Dubai has already positioned itself as a major events city in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region through hosting a range of events and entertainment activities.

“We want to move from being the regional events hub to a world leading events and entertainment destination and central to this is facilitating improvements in event organisation,” Al Merri said in the statement.

According to him, achieving this goal is possible if the public and private sectors continue to work together. “Winning the Expo 2020 bid showed us that when the public and private sector work together, and with the support of the UAE population, we can achieve anything,” he said.

Christopher Hewett, senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting, told Gulf News that Dubai’s infrastructure supports the city’s goal to be a leading events destination.

“With its expanded network, Emirates Airline can bring people from any corner of the world; Dubai has extensive facilities already, with Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC); an extensive number of hotels have facilities for conferences; and there are a wide range of leisure facilities and activities that help supplement an event agenda,” Hewett said.

DTCM’s strategy is to continue developing its annual calendar of business and leisure events, as well as festivals, according to Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Strategy and Tourism Sector Development at DTCM.

In September, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, issued a decree to create an online system for licensing and ticketing for all major events in Dubai.

The online system, managed by DTCM, will take care of all procedures related to event ticketing, including the collection of ticketing fees and the distribution of tickets. The system will be used by event organisers, venues and ticketing outlets. Hotels, airlines, tour operators, and travel agents can subscribe to the system.

“We have commenced work on a fully integrated events licensing and ticketing system which will make it even easier to stage, promote and sell an event in Dubai. The system will facilitate greater efficiency for event organisers and for the government entities responsible for granting permits, in addition to enabling the creation of a comprehensive database of all events taking place in Dubai,” Belhoul said.