Dubai owns the rights to many superlatives — the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest man-made island, and the world’s largest mall. These milestones attract millions of tourists every year, but visitors who look a little deeper will find that this forward-thinking city is also setting the bar within a number of important industries, from health care to technology to sustainable energy.
In late September, the United Arab Emirates released the UAE Strategy for the Future, calling it a “comprehensive roadmap that will take the nation to the next era of development.” Setting forth long-term growth plans for seven major sectors, the initiative aims to push the UAE to the top of the Global Innovation Index’s list of the world’s most innovative economies as well as increase its research and development expenditure threefold by 2021.
Major strides have already been made. For example, the Science, Technology and Innovation policy will reposition the UAE for success in a post-oil world. The policy, launched under the umbrella of the UAE National Innovation Strategy in 2015, calls for new investment in order to diversify the sector, more resources to expand the workforce, and initiatives to help generate new ideas and technologies, enabling the implementation of programs like the Dubai Future Accelerators program (more on that below).
This is the mindset that spawned so many of Dubai’s past innovations, and it is why attendees will be inspired to reinvent the wheel every time they meet here. Read on for 10 more reasons why this knowledge hub can kick start big ideas among your attendees.
1. The world’s crossroads.
Dubai’s geographical location between the east and west draws plenty of businesses looking for a convenient global headquarters, but it’s also an ideal spot for international meetings looking to draw attendees from all around the world.
2. Crazy connections.
Dubai already ranks first in the world in terms of air connectivity, but with the Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central undergoing an expansion in order to accommodate 240 million passengers a year, its accessibility is set to grow even more.
3. The Silicon Valley of the Middle East.
Dubai has one of the largest ICT hubs in the region, with companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter setting up offices in Dubai Internet City. Over the course of 16 years, the city has grown from 100 to 1,400 technology companies.
4. Friendly to big ideas.
Dubai is made up of more than 20 tax-free zones, which allow expats to own companies here without having to pay corporate or income taxes, among other benefits. International associations can also set up a headquarters or regional offices in Dubai via the newly established Dubai Association Centre.
5. Always something new.
As of September, Dubai has the world’s largest indoor theme park, IMG Worlds of Adventure. Dubai Parks and Resorts, the largest joint theme park in the Middle East, recently opened motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park.
6. An incubator for ideas.
Cultivating talent is important. For example, the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) program, which kicked off this past fall, will fund the development of ideas from 30 companies aimed at solving challenges related to health care, education, energy, and other fields.
7. A new focus on sustainability.
In September, Dubai Tourism signed an agreement with Etihad ESCO, Dubai Carbon, Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), and Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF to reduce the carbon footprint of Dubai’s tourism industry. The Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative will encourage local hospitality partners to track their impact and implement new sustainability management methods.
8. Rooms to spare.
Earlier this year, Dubai hit a new milestone with the completion of more than 100,000 hotel rooms, firmly cementing its position as one of the world’s top 10 cities in terms of hotel inventory.
9. No fear of heights.
Dubai is a city that’s not afraid to aim a little higher. It has more of the world’s tallest skyscrapers than any other city, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai is also home to the world’s tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai; the tallest residential building, the Princess Tower; and by 2020, the world’s tallest commercial tower, the Burj 2020.
10. Big plans for the future.
Big things are happening in and around Dubai in anticipation of Expo 2020. Plans call for a nine-mile extension of the city’s metro network, and many new attractions will open during the next few years, like the Middle East’s first Six Flags theme park in 2019.
For more information on Dubai Tourism, visit visitdubai.com.
Brought to you by Visit Dubai