Dubai Design District is a major destination for creative professionals Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai’s cultural and creative sector contributed 4.02 per cent of Dubai’s total economic output in 2019.

Dubai’s creative economy generated revenues of more than Dh37 billion in 2019 and employed more than 108,000 individuals, with the creative sector contributing 3.6 per cent of the total number of jobs in the emirate. Meanwhile, the design industry contributed more than Dh15.6 billion to Dubai’s GDP in 2019.

These are some of the highlights of a new report titled ‘Creative Dubai: Dubai’s Growing Cultural Industries’, launched by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

The report provides a comprehensive overview of Dubai’s cultural sector and charts a roadmap for its growth by proposing a strategy focused on seven enabling factors.

The report outlines Dubai’s potential to become a global cultural hub and a pioneer in cultural innovation.

‘Creative Dubai’ was developed as part of Dubai Culture’s efforts to implement projects that support the objectives of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish Dubai as the capital of the global creative economy by 2025.

The report identifies key cultural and creative sectors in the emirate and examines their ability to support the city’s economic diversification and shape its future. The report provides readers, ranging from industry experts, policy makers and community members, with insights into the future prospects of the emirate’s creative sector based on its history.

Other highlights

The report cited that the demand for cultural activities in Dubai is steadily increasing and household spending on cultural activity has been rising faster than the increase in total household spending since 2014.

There are more galleries in Dubai than in any other city in the MENA region.

The UAE’s innovation performance ranks 34 out of 131 economies globally in the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Global Innovation Index 2020.

Dubai ranked among the 10 most influential cities globally in the FutureBrand Country Index 2020.

Strategic importance

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Member of the Dubai Council, stressed the strategic importance of launching the Creative Dubai report at this important stage in the emirate’s journey to document the size of the creative and cultural sectors’ contribution to Dubai’s economy and the emirate’s GDP.

HH Sheikha Latifa-1638868966189
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Image Credit: Supplied

The report identifies growth mechanisms for the sector that can help it contribute to economic prosperity in the emirate, she said.

Sheikha Latifa said 2021 has been a special year in the country’s journey as it celebrated its 50th anniversary and hosted Expo 2020 Dubai, noting that Dubai Culture will continue to harness all efforts to support the UAE’s sustainable development journey in the next 50 years.

“Recognising the importance of the creative economy as one of the catalysts for sustainable economic growth and driving innovation, we launched this report to provide a reference that will guide the development of Dubai’s cultural sector and anticipate its growth opportunities over the next decade,” she said.

Path and enablers

Hala Badri, director-general of Dubai Culture, said: “The report provides a solid basis and clear framework for detailed future studies and assessments on various creative industries. Additionally, the report also helps the government develop a deeper understanding of key industries and stakeholders and factors essential to advancement. This will allow policy makers to develop more effective legislation and incentives.”

The report proposes a set of seven enablers or growth accelerators, which include: Infrastructure, Education, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Talent Attraction, Funding, Regulation, and Public Participation.

Dubai’s strategic plan

Badri explained that the report provides specific strategic recommendations for each of the six main sectors examined. “A comprehensive sectoral report, ‘Creative Dubai’ contains an unprecedented level of detail on the cultural sector in Dubai. Stakeholders in the public and private sectors will benefit from its research-based recommendations that enable them to make informed decisions on policies and initiatives that can be adopted within the framework of the emirate’s larger strategic plan.”

“The statistics and data featured in the report on the performance of the cultural sector in Dubai are an indication of the creative industries’ ability to shape the emirate’s future and attracting talented creatives to live, work and thrive in the city,” Badri added.