The first six months of 2022 were a busy time for Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, as Dubai Business Events (DBE), Dubai’s convention bureau, as the two destinations collaborated to procure 99 event bookings over the coming years.

These events, which include Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries’ Annual Convention and Incentive later this year and IBM Best in Tech in 2023, are scheduled to bring more than 77,000 delegates and more than 330,000 room nights.

“During the rest of 2022, we will highlight the power of in-person business events and Dubai’s strong value proposition to associations executives, corporate meeting planners and other decision-makers. And we continue to welcome opportunities to work with stakeholders to identify and bid for events that align with our strategic objectives,” said Steen Jakobson, associate vice president of DBE.

Dubai’s ability to book this number of events are credited to the success of the country’s Expo 2020. “Bidding activity through the first six months was driven by the collaborative approach taken by DBE in working with partners across the public and private sector, including government departments, local associations and societies, universities and other institutions, as well as business events stakeholders, including venues, hotels, destination management companies and professional congress organizers,” a press release by DBE reads.

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“The success of Expo 2020 Dubai provided a platform to showcase the city to decision-makers, conclusively demonstrating Dubai’s ability to effectively host events of all sizes and meet the demands of an international audience.”

Travel Rules in Dubai

Dubai has been accepting visitors since August 2020. While one of the quickest to begin accepting travelers again, they haven’t been quick to drop Covid protocols, like many destinations, airlines and cruises have done in recent months.

Travelers going to Dubai are still required to followed relatively strict Covid-19 protocols, such as presenting a valid vaccination certificate, including a QR code, with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the UAE, or providing a negative Covid test by an approved health service provider within 48 hours from the time the test was taken. If requested, passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival and quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

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In Dubai, and the UAE in general, enforcement of mask wearing in restaurants, bars and event facilities is still in place. According to The Supreme Council for National Security, failure to wear a mask in public can result in a fine of Dhs3000 (US $816).

Where to Meet

two men looking at dubai from the burj khalifa

Dubai has no shortage of ultra-luxurious and spacious properties, replete with plenty of indoor and outdoor space for events. The city is home to absurdly tall buildings, in the form of hotels, residences, offices and more.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, in the Business Bay area, is the second tallest hotel in the world (while The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong is the first, it doesn’t occupy the entire building like this JW Marriott does) and features 1,608 guest rooms and more than 15 restaurants, bars and lounges. The hotel’s more than 86,000 sq. ft. of meeting space is spread across 32 rooms.

The 350-room Sofitel Dubai Downtown has prime positioning. The property is linked to The Dubai Mall via air-conditioned skywalk and is also next to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, the Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai Opera and City Walk. Sofitel Dubai features 12 naturally lit meeting rooms, the 450-person Diamond Ballroom and two outdoor venues.

Some of the world’s largest events have been held at Dubai World Trade Centre since it opened in 1979, bringing in more than 3.3% of Dubai’s annual GDP. Dubai WTC features more than 430,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across multiple ballrooms, halls, lounges and outdoor pavilions.

JA The Resort is Dubai’s largest resort, with 800 rooms across three separate hotels: JA Palm Tree Court, JA Beach Hotel and JA Lake View Hotel. Sitting in front of the property is a 2,624-foot strand of sand, where groups can sit back and relax.

The property features two dedicated conference centers, outdoor spaces that can accommodate up to 5,000 guests, as well as 25 restaurants and bars, and 40 opportunities for group experiences: aviaries that feature bird shows, shooting and archery, and horse riding, for example.