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Dubai World Trade Centre. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: The Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) has unveiled a series of measures to aid sustainability of businesses within its ecosystem in the wake of recessionary pressures triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Deputy Chairman of the Board of DWTCA, announced a comprehensive support programme covering key sectors associated with its portfolio — Meetings Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions [MICE], Free Zone [FZ], Retail and Commercial Real Estate — providing help to tackle the challenges faced by clients and vendors.

Commenting on the initiative, Sheikh Ahmed said, “Dubai’s economy is built for resilience in scenarios of extreme global volatility and unprecedented uncertainty.”

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“DWTCA has been working actively with all stakeholders over the past weeks to support sectoral needs, and these latest measures are an enablement of broader financial relief to enable business continuity, and operational sustainability for entities housed within the FZ complex”.

“As a foundational pillar of the emirate’s business tourism industry, we seek to assist our stakeholders navigate the COVID-19 circumstantial risks, preserve financial viability, and manage operational sustainability for the interim until conditions normalise,” Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said.

The measures unveiled are designed to significantly subsidise the cost of doing business within the DWTCA free zone complex for those most impacted — especially the smaller players and those in the MICE ecosystem, offering assistance to our clients, partners and suppliers, he said.

The support plan covers various categories of actions, to provide timely assistance, especially to small-scale businesses, and core sectors across business tourism and events. To ensure accelerated return to normality, many of the measures outlined have already been activated:

MICE BUSINESS:

1. For organisers
Zero cancellation and/or rescheduling fees;
No penalties for late payments;
Allow carry forward of prepaid fees as credit to 2021.

2. For exhibitors (DWTC-owned exhibitions)
Full refund on cancelled events and where new schedule is not feasible for participants

RETAIL TENANTS:

1. Up to 6-month rent-free on base rent [April — September 2020] for retail tenants in the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and One Central, impacted by mandatory public lockdown restrictions — Eg. Government enforced cancellations, and/ or temporary facility closures.

SMEs and START-UP TENANTS:

1. Up to 3-month base rent deferment for DWTCA commercial tenants [April-June 2020]

FREE ZONE BUSINESSES [effective for 3 months starting April to June 2020]:

1. 70% rebate on annual fees for all category-specific business registrations and licenses [new and renewal];
2. 50% rebate on annual fees for general trade licenses and registrations; and
3. 0% administration fee on all visas — new, transfer and renewals