UAE VP, PM and Dubai’s Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a new law establishing Dubai World Trade Centre, the region’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) venue operator as a freezone.
The decree comes in an effort to boost Dubai as a hub for regional and international exhibitions while also attracting local and international investments, state news agency WAM reported.
The law also established Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) to govern the freezone and stated that it will be part of Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the investment vehicle of Dubai.
The DWTCA’s responsibilities include establishing and managing infrastructures within DWTC, managing various business activities, licensing companies within the zone and overseeing construction work undertaken in the freezone.
The law also authorises DWTCA to establish companies independently or jointly and invest in such companies, WAM reported.
The DWTC’s geographical domain includes the current facilities of Dubai World Trade Centre, the facilities under development and the Dubai World Trade Centre at Jebel Ali.
The decree also appointed Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum as DWTCA’s chairman and Helal Saeed Al Marri as the authority’s director general.
The transformation of DWTC into a freezone follows a massive expansion plan by the MICE venue operator.
In April, DWTC announced plans to build a 15,500 square metres extension to its current indoor complex space after strong year-on-year growth in events.
The extension will expand the available multipurpose indoor capacity to over 122,000 square metres, catering to the next five years of portfolio growth and accommodating Dubai’s growing business tourism traffic, the operator said.
Adjacent to the existing Zabeel Hall complex, three new halls – named Zabeel 4, 5 and 6 – will form the extension beyond Halls 1, 2 and 3. The new space is expected to become operational from Q1 2016.
This infrastructure expansion will improve the venue’s ability to host more events concurrently.
A key component of Dubai’s business tourism strategy, DWTC hosts major tradeshows such as Cityscape Global, Arab Health and Gulfood as well as smaller events all year round.
According to a recent study by events organiser Pacific World, the UAE, and Dubai specifically, emerged as one of the most popular destinations for MICE in Europe, Asia and the Middle East in 2014.
By Mary Sophia
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