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Katching the Wave: the UAE's Incredible Transformation Into an Epicentre of International Events

by Ashraf Ibrahim | 22nd January 2024 | Communication,Food and Beverage,Hospitality,Public Relations
Dubai skyline image

With its strategic location, robust infrastructure, and diverse government initiatives, the country is setting new benchmarks in hosting groundbreaking events on a much wider scale

The UAE today is the premier destination for global event hosting. This remarkable ascent to the world stage has long been inbound, beyond the magnificent Expo 2020, the country’s event scene spans multiple sectors in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. At Katch International, we are lucky to be the PR partner for clients hosting some of the region’s most extraordinary events, contributing to the country’s incredible success in becoming a renowned epicentre for international affairs.

A Centric Location at the Heart of 3 Continents

The UAE's strategic position has been a cornerstone in shaping it into a bustling events hub. Located in the Middle East, the country serves as the central point connecting the world’s most populous continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. With flights available around the clock, visitors are always a few hours away from the UAE, making it a convenient destination where business trips feel more like an exciting social adventure.

UAE location

Being home to many regional offices of global companies and over 200 nationalities, the UAE is the epitome of diversity. Known for its long history of stability, events in the UAE can be planned years in advance, while the country’s welcoming environment encourages visitors to freely participate in business, social, and cultural gatherings.

Advanced Infrastructure Catered to Every Need

The UAE has become a symbol of innovation and development, boasting top-class infrastructure in every sector. Dubai’s main airport, which is the world’s busiest, utilises its impressive terminals and advanced technology to facilitate flights around the clock. Abu Dhabi is expanding its infrastructure as well to handle the increasing number of visitors and has recently opened a new spacious terminal in its primary airport.

The UAE’s top airlines, Etihad Airways and Emirates, are continuously raising the bar of luxury air travel, are among the top 10 worldwide, and are a pillar of the country’s efforts to provide unrivalled service to visitors. Dubai’s advanced public transportation system, with the metro being directly linked to the airport, also helps in moving to the city centre even during rush hours. The roads are wide, clean, and organised, and taxis and car rental companies are available at the click of a button, adding to UAE’s versatile transportation options.

UAE national airlines

Multi-purpose Venues with a History of Hosting Grand Events

The UAE’s modern venues, districts, and arenas are perfectly suited to host conferences of different sizes and in various sectors. From the Dubai World Trade Centre, which hosted 120 international events in 2021, to the Dubai Design District, an urban hotspot and home to many cultural summits such as Dubai Design Week, the country has the perfect venue no matter the occasion.

Dubai’s historic hosting of Expo 2020 showcased the country’s incredible capability of welcoming millions of visitors from all over the world. Building on this stunning success, Expo City Dubai has emerged as a cultural crossroads and will soon host Break the Block, a street-food musical extravaganza that embraces the power of Dubai’s vibrant youth. In February 2024, the city will also welcome UNTOLD Dubai, a phenomenal musical festival bringing in international talents from around the world and becoming the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Last year also witnessed the launch of Atlantis The Royal, which is now referred to as the global phenomenon of the decade. Lasting for 3 days, this spectacular opening was all the world could talk about, featuring A-List celebrities, famous chefs, brand launches, and much more.

In Abu Dhabi, Yas Island is topping the charts when it comes to hosting the best music and art events in the region. This bustling island has hosted shows for some of the world’s most iconic artists and celebrities, featuring a plethora of extravagant musical concerts and side-splitting comedic performances. The remarkable list of dazzling shows includes the rock legends Guns N’ Roses, and the charismatic comedian Trevor Noah, in addition to a toe-tapping concert from the captivating Backstreet Boys, which saw exceptional demand with the tickets selling out in only 6 hours.

Etihad Arena

Other international music sagas from Live Nation Middle East also took place in Abu Dhabi, including Wireless Festival, the world’s most popular rap and urban music concerts, while Scorpions, one of the most iconic hard rock bands, is set to perform in Yas Island later in 2024.

On a more local note, a range of events are organised annually to embrace the rich tradition and culture of the UAE, including LIWA Village 2023, a magnificent 24-day desert celebration hosted last December, and Mother of the Nation Festival, an annual gathering which features captivating live entertainment, delightful culinary experiences, exciting pop-up shops, and much more.

Unmatched Hospitality and Culinary Options

The UAE boasts the world’s most diverse and exquisite array of hotels. From local brands such as Address Hotels + Resorts and Rove Hotels to international chains like Double Tree by Hilton, Rixos Hotels, and W Hotels, visitors can find accommodation options that best fit their needs. Whether you are seeking luxurious stays, a lifestyle-orientated environment, a family-friendly ambience, or more affordable options, the country’s unlimited selection of hotels caters to every preference and budget.

Complementing the unparalleled hospitality are world-class culinary destinations with choices that suit every palate, reflecting the welcoming nature of the UAE as home to international residents and guests. Events attendees can embark on a new gastronomic journey through many of the county’s amazing venues, including Michelin-starred fine dining establishments like Armani/Ristorante, Multi-cuisine restaurants like TABŪ, and Nazcaa for some Japanese-Peruvian fusions. For a more vibrant nightlife experience, there is Lucky Voice, a lively bar known for its upbeat vibes and karaoke booths, and Belgian Beer Café, which is the perfect place to tuck into some delicious pub grub while catching up on all the live sporting action.

Food at Belgian Beer Cafe

This impressive diversity has also transformed the country into a culinary hotspot, hosting food-related events such as the Dubai Food Festival, a 17-day fair of activities and promotions featuring chefs from all over the city, and Taste of Abu Dhabi, gathering some of the capital’s most acclaimed restaurants.

The Government’s Efforts to Elevate the Country’s Events Appeal

The UAE’s position as a global hub is not only a result of its developed infrastructure and thriving businesses but also a consequence of proactive government initiatives. Government entities, notably Dubai’s Department of Economy & Tourism and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture & Tourism, continuously promote the country as the go-to place for any occasion while actively helping and supporting various stakeholders to ensure successful event hosting.

By recognising the economic and cultural benefits of attracting international events, the UAE has made tremendous strides in updating its infrastructure, refining regulatory frameworks, and making sure that visiting the country is a memorable experience for each individual. The UAE’s visit visa, especially in Dubai, is among the easiest and fastest to secure in the region, streamlining entry for millions of visitors every year.

The government is also a pioneer in adopting technology, providing easy services by embracing digitisation and offering plenty of websites and apps in English and Arabic. The country as a whole has become a fertile ground for innovation, fostering an environment where entrepreneurs, artists, and creative minds can grow and blossom.

The UAE’s thriving status as a destination for international events is a testament to the synergy of its strategic location, continued innovation, and relentless government efforts. With an increasing number of visitors coming and going every year, the country is working to further solidify its place on the global stage, with Dubai itself aiming to host over 400 events annually by 2025.

For more related updates and to Katch us covering similar topics, watch this space!

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