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ON LOCATION | Dubai, UAE 52 JAN-FEB 2018 meetings & conventions • Dubai's vision as a premier business events destination targets three key areas: science, technology and innovation. Its high-tech focus will drive strategies that create a successful knowledge economy. The city has aligned itself with the UAE's National Innovation Strategy and will focus on cutting-edge industries that are pivotal to the economy. Hosting global business events relevant to these industries are key to the city's success. Dubai enjoys a current UIA ranking in 10th place with 181 meetings. According to Steen Jakobson, director, Dubai Business Events, the top three factors that give the city a strong advantage are accessibility, safety and value for money. "Dubai's central location between East and West makes it an easily accessible business destination from major markets around the globe – one-third of the world's population can reach Dubai by plane in under four hours, and two-thirds within eight hours," says Jakobson. Dubai International Airport (DXB) serves 90 airlines flying to more than 240 destinations across six continents. It is projected to cater to a passenger traffic of 103.5 million by 2020. Jakobson added that Dubai also ranks among the safest destinations in the world, with the UAE ranking second place for tourism safety, according to the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017. "Dubai also offers incredible value for money, with world-renowned high- quality services. With more than 106,000 hotel rooms, Dubai has a wealth of choice available throughout the city that caters to all budgets and requirements," says Jakobson. THE BIGGER THE BETTER The city is expecting large-scale conferences such as the 2018 World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health with 10,000 delegates, and the highly anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai, which is expected to attract 25 million visitors over six months. A new convention centre is already being built to host the Expo. The 55,000 sqm centre will house two hotels, offices and halls that can accommodate 10,000 people for concerts, seminars and conferences. There will be five other smaller multipurpose halls, each being able to accommodate 1,000 people. "Located at the Expo 2020 Dubai site and a key part of its post-event legacy, the new conference and exhibition centre will increase the city's existing capacity to host large- scale global events at the same time," says Jakobson. Driven by brain power Words Esther Faith Lew Dubai stays focused on innovation and technology that attract international talents and world-class conferences Top left: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre offers 115,000sqm of flexible space; Below: Dubai Opera, has a theatre floor that transforms into a banquet space for gala dinners

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