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Dubai: The Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) hosted 1.98 million delegates with a robust visitation growth of 29 per cent compared to the previous year, according to its 2022 annual results.

Home to a diverse portfolio of business and trade events, DWTC said its 2022 results were driven by 244 Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) and business and consumer events. Of these, 97 Exhibitions and Conferences attracted 1.18 million attendees, of which 38 per cent were overseas visitors.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of DWTC, said, “We will build on this momentum by reinforcing Dubai’s position as the capital of the MICE industry and continue our contribution towards achieving Dubai Economic Agenda D33 goals.”

The return to form for the MICE industry in 2022 reflects DWTC’s ability to attract over 37,000 exhibiting companies (a 50 per cent increase from 2021), of which 72 per cent were international. Moreover, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) Free Zone doubled by issuing 926 new licenses in 2022.

DWTC’s flagship events, GITEX Global and Gulfood, attracted 337,000 visitors, registering 20 per cent annual growth. The combined portfolio of events attracted 12,000 exhibiting companies, an increase of 35 per cent.

GITEX Global attracted more than 170,000 attendees and generated Dh 2.6 billion worth of total economic output, with 57 per cent retained within the local economy, according to DWTC’s GITEX GLOBAL 2022 Economic Impact Assessment Report.

Meanwhile, the 27th edition of Gulfood saw a 50 per cent increase in participation. Healthcare, Medical and Scientific was the top-performing sector with 17 events (compared to 12 events in 2021) and attracted 202,000 participants, led by a duo of region-leading healthcare exhibitions: Arab Health and AEEDC.

Consumer and leisure events also bounced back, with over 790,000 visitors. They were led by Dubai Sports World with a record attendance of 308,000, representing a 53 per cent increase over 2021, and Dubai Run with 193,000 participants in 2022.