2023 proved to be another strong year for Dubai and DWTC to sharpen its credentials in the MICE sector. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai World Trade recorded 2.47 million visitors passing through its exhibition halls during 2023, which is a 25 per cent increase on 2022 and helped by strong attendance for the likes of Gitex and Gulfood events. The total was also boosted by a 23 per cent increase in MICE events – adding up to 301 in 2023 - organized at the destination.

International visitor numbers too surged as Dubai benefited from an expanded calendar of events and signature events. “The surge in foreign business attendees furthers the aspirations of the D33 Agenda, to propel Dubai to be a Top 3 global economic city by 2033,” said a statement issued by DWTC.

Through 2023, DWTC on its organised 20 exhibitions and events, attracting 519,000 attendees, for a 42 per cent year-on-year increase. Of these, 265,000 were overseas attendees, which helped with a 108 per cent lift. These own events attracted over 17,000 companies exhibiting, up 45 per cent.

Flagship events such as Gitex Global and Gulfood maintained ‘leadership positions’, experiencing year-on-year growth in visitors by 44 per cent and 31 per cent respectively. (Gitex Global added ‘Expand North Star’ as a satellite event and held at Dubai Harbour)

“The past year has been shaped by extraordinary momentum across the entire business and trade ecosystem, with DWTC emerging as a catalyst for agenda-shaping discussions and actionable agreements,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority.

“Culminated by successful hosting of COP28, Dubai remains a frontrunner in the global events and exhibitions landscape, supported by DWTC’s leading role on the international stage in alignment with the government’s 2033 strategic economic goals.”

Higher tenancies

Outside of the MICE events, the DWTC Authority Free Zone issued 601 new licenses, bringing the total number to 1,900. Its real estate and asset management business had another solid year, with One Central attaining a 95 per cent occupancy rate.

“DWTC is steadfast in its commitment to advancing Dubai’s economic objectives and the D33 agenda, ensuring the emirate remains a forward-looking hub for emerging industries and technologies,” said Almarri. “The notable increase in international participation underscores the global recognition of Dubai’s significance. Looking at 2024, we’re committed to building on these successes, driving forward our mission to position Dubai as a hub for pioneering ideas and transformative initiatives.”