When you think of hosting your meeting or incentive trip in Dubai, what comes to mind? Is it technological marvels or architectural wonders like the world’s tallest building and a man-made palm-shaped island? Perhaps it’s the beauty of the untouched desert with its iconic all white Sheikh Zayet Grand Mosque in the neighboring city of Abu Dhabi. Or maybe it’s the glitz and glam of high-end fashion, luxury resorts, and exclusive shopping.
Having recently visited Dubai, I can confidently say it encompasses all of this and more. A truly immersive shock of the senses in nearly every way that still has me buzzing even after a few weeks back home. Everywhere you turn, there’s something grander and more dazzling to behold. The diversity of culture, people, and experiences makes it one of the most extraordinary places I’ve ever encountered.
As meeting planners and event consultants, it’s essential to understand the underlying factors that drive and support the constant innovation in this remarkable destination. Integrating these findings into our decision-making process will guide us in selecting the next perfect destination for your group.
Safe and Geopolitically Stable
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers a safe and geopolitically stable environment for hosting your group. Despite being a relatively young country, founded in 1971, it has earned the distinction of being the 2nd safest country in the world according to the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Development Index. The UAE couples the promise of safety with an impressively stable economy – the exchange rate hasn’t changed in years and is pegged to the US dollar at a fixed rate – and strong diplomatic relations with other nations.
The country itself is an active player in the larger global economic story being a leader in key economic sectors ranging from industries such as healthcare, financial services, information technology, construction and manufacturing, trade and logistics, education, and of course tourism and events. Their economy is stable and diversified with steady GDP growth and inflation under control and they were even named the 24th happiest country in the world according to the World Happiness Report. Considering these factors, the UAE becomes an attractive meeting and incentive travel destination.
Sustainability and Technology
Sustainability is a trending topic in the travel, tourism, and events industry. Dubai is at the forefront of integrating technology to help advance its sustainability initiatives, specifically in its approach to public transportation. For instance, they boast the world’s longest driverless metro line and a fleet of over 5,000 hybrid taxis already in operation; perfect for helping your attendees get around at leisure.
Looking ahead, Dubai aims to further establish sustainable transportation by targeting a goal of 25% autonomy across all forms of transportation by 2030. These remarkable efforts contribute to a greener future and make the city highly connected and easily accessible for visitors during their stay.
Proposing Dubai as a corporate incentive or meeting destination may bring about some skepticism. Let’s address some common misconceptions about the destination to clear the air and put your executives at ease.
Yes, alcohol is permitted here; there are plenty of bars and nightlife options for guests to enjoy during their free time, like other typical incentive destinations. For group functions, the sole limitation is working with government-regulated entities.
Another common misconception – I was surprised to see most clothing styles were similar to Westernized cultures. Like European destinations, the main restriction is to cover yourself upon entering religious buildings such as Mosques.
There is a misconception about the oppression of women; however, a significant number of women hold active roles in the government, and over 75% of women in the city have higher education degrees.
With almost 80% of the population being expats, inhabitants are free to practice their preferred religion. The city is known for it’s diverse population with people from different belief systems living harmoniously and has a strong partnership with Jerusalem, a renowned holy city for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities.
By addressing these misconceptions, we can gain a more accurate understanding of the destination and appreciate its cultural diversity and openness.
Food and Beverage
Due to its location, most might discount Dubai’s gastronomy options, but I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse and eclectic cuisine available. The city’s population diversity contributes to unique culinary offerings from all around the world.
During my site visit to the Madinat Jumeirah properties, I tasted some of the best black truffle rigatoni, which rivals dishes I tasted in Italy during truffle season. The food was not only vibrant and flavorful but also incredibly creative, which, as a food enthusiast, I absolutely loved. It’s not just my palate that agrees! Dubai is the first city in the Middle East to earn a Michelin Guide star ranking, with 11 Michelin-starred restaurants in the area.
We are seeking to break through some common misconceptions about Dubai to give your executives and travelers some peace of mind and to open passports to a whole new world of exploration. Dubai is not just a destination with plenty to offer for all types of groups, but it also provides a safe, welcoming, stable, and culturally diverse environment for hosting meetings or incentives.
Special thanks to Dubai Business Economy and Tourism for providing valuable statistics and facts, and to Dubai Business Events for their commitment to growing and establishing Dubai as a leading destination for the MICE Industry. Stay tuned for part two of our blog series on Dubai, where we will provide recommendations on accommodations, activities, and more event logistics to ensure a successful event in this incredible city.
Are You Ready to Start Planning?
With its remarkable attributes, incomparable service at its luxury properties, and an array of thrilling excursions, Dubai emerges as a top contender for your next incentive travel program. Our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you in seamlessly coordinating all the logistics, guaranteeing your group an unforgettable experience. Discover more about the exceptional services we provide or get in touch with us today to begin planning your extraordinary Dubai program!