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MIDDLE EAST

From technology consumer to creator

Hyperloop One cuts traveling time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes. The UAE Vision 2021 moves the emirates closer together, and the Expo Dubai will shift global focus on the region. Its motto "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" is a perfect theme for conventions.

H
yperloop One is specified to transport passengers from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in only 12 minutes. Travelers use an app to order their capsule to a way station, from where they are catapulted through a vacuum tube at sonic speed. Hyperloop One and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) are currently investigating construction of the transport system. "With Hyperloop One, we will create a new means of transportation, keeping our region at the forefront of transportation technology and innovation”, said RTA-Chairman His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer. “This is an opportunity to help transform the UAE from a technology consumer to a technology creator, incubating expertise for a new global industry, in line with the UAE’s Vision 2021."

UAE Vision 2021 was initiated by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. The plan is to transform the seven emirates Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain to knowledge-based economies in time for the 50th National Day in 2021. 
The World Expo 2020 in Dubai
 will act as catalyst for this process. Its motto "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" with the focus on Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability in the time from October 20, 2020 thru April 10, 2021 wants to mobilize some 200 nations and organizations as well as 25 million visitors to find sustainable solutions to global problems. As approximately one third of the world's population lives no more than four flight hours away, seven out of ten visitors are expected from abroad.

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This is how a station of Hyperloop One may look like: In 12 minutes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi?
PHOTO: HYPERLOOP ONE

The Expo 2020's masterplan provides for a 438- hectare site in Jebel in Dubai South, with sustainability as design imperative: 90% of the materials used for erecting the buildings will be recyclable, 50% of the electrical power will be gained from alternative energy sources, and water consumption will be cut by 25%. That's a commitment made by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) as Official Sustainable Energy Partner. The Sustainability Pavilion will carry on its educational mandate as »Exploratorium« after the World Expo, which will also leave behind an art exhibition center, academic and research institutions and a technology cluster.

Transformation to a knowledge-based economy is supported by Dubai Business Events (DBE). This past year, the Convention Bureau won 129 bids, a 79%-plus as compared to the preceding year. The economic effects are estimated to be worth USD 110 million, around 75,000 delegates are expected to show in the next six years, e.g. at the World Congress of Cardiology 2018 or World Down Syndrome Congress 2020. The "Al Safeer Ambassador Programme" with 350 scientists, business people and government officials provides substantial impetus here. Dubai Business Events joined forces with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Emirates Airlines and hotels to reel in the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE). "Not only does the annual event provide a crucial platform for knowledge sharing among oil and gas professionals", said Steen Jakobsen, Director Dubai Business Events, "but it also had a positive economic impact on the city. With over 7,500 attendees from 91 countries, it was estimated that the event generated over USD 30 million in revenue for the city."

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Expo 2020 Dubai has launched Youth Connect; an annual forum designed from the youth for the youth.
PHOTO: WWW.EXPO2020DUBAI.AE

ATCE 2016 was the first Middle East edition of this event staged by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, industry leaders such as Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Saudi Aramco, Shell and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation met at the DWTC from September 26 thru 28, 2016. Plenary assembly and panels elaborated on the conference's subject matter "Exploration & Production 2.0 – Transforming and Shaping the Future" with 540 papers at 58 technical sessions. "Dubai’s convenient location ensured that we exceeded the number of expected attendees. The state-of-the-art facilities at the Dubai World Trade Centre provided a central platform for knowledge-sharing with massive space for technology exchange and plenty of opportunities for people to learn about companies, innovations, latest technology, and meeting friends", is how Nathan Meehan summarized the outcome. For the SPEPresident, ATCE 2016 was a testament to the region’s global energy leadership.

That leadership was also manifested in the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) held in January 2017. The leading show at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) with 30,000 visitors from 175 countries and 639 exhibitors is dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technology and is staged in context with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. Even though Abu Dhabi possesses ten percent of the world's oil reserves and five percent of its gas deposits, the largest of the Emirates with its 2.8 million inhabitants is readying itself for the post-oil era. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, summarized 
Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030
 in a few words: “For Abu Dhabi to continue to create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open and globally competitive economy." In plain terms: the non-oil share of the economy is supposed to rise from 40% to 60% of GDP. To achieve this goal, the government will drive nine sectors including sustainable knowledge-based economy, international relationships, education and healthcare.

“INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES ARE ONE OF THE KEY DRIVERS”

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PHOTO: DUBAI BUSINESS EVENTS
Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events

tw: The UAE Vision 2021 aims to make the United Arab Emirates amongst the best countries by transitioning to a knowledge-based economy. Why are international congresses important to achieve this goal?
Steen Jakobsen:
International congresses are one of the key drivers of the UAE’s overall transition towards a knowledge-based economy. Hosting international meetings, conferences and exhibitions strengthens Dubai’s position of being at the forefront of innovation, knowledge-sharing, and ultimately global industry growth. International congresses also play an important role in attracting global experts and scientists to Dubai, and will contribute hugely towards the target of 20 million visitors a year by 2020, as outlined in Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020. Establishing Dubai as a knowledge hub is a leading factor in attracting more business events. Dubai is home to significant industry clusters within healthcare, education, technology, transport, clean energy, water and space that can provide support, knowledge, and expertise to these business events, therefore fostering a mutually-beneficial environment of knowledge-sharing and industry development. We are aware that the effect of these events goes far beyond the immediate economic impact of delegate spend while in Dubai.

Expo 2020 Dubai could be a catalyst in this context. Do you think that corporations and associations will link their conferences to the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and its subtitles “Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability”?
As we enter the next phase of preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai, we’ve already seen a growing interest from businesses, conference organisers towards Expo 2020 Dubai, its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and how they can seamlessly fit within this synergistic business eco-system that’s being built to host the world. Many business events taking place in Dubai are already hosting panels and forums on the subject for attendees, and are working towards goals and strategies that they aim to achieve in the run up to, and during Expo 2020 Dubai. Such is the significance of the Expo and its impact is felt across industries, not only within the confines of the nation, but globally too.


What is Dubai’s room capacity, and what is it expected to grow by 2020?
Dubai has over 102,000 rooms across its expanding hotel and hotel apartment inventory, and this plays a key role in supporting the growth of meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibition bookings in the city. Currently, there are plenty of rooms and venues that can cater to the business events market in Dubai and with 134,000 rooms expected by the end of 2018, planners will have no shortage of choices.

KERSTIN WÜNSCH




In this context, Sultan Hamad Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri explained, "Abu Dhabi aims to be a medical meeting hub".
The Acting Executive Director, Tourism Sector Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority proudly referred to the International Diabetes Federation 2017 Congress, which will attract 15,000 delegates from 170 countries to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The high-level participation of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi indicates clearly the significance this issue has to the Emirate. The International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) is delighted with the region's commitments and activities and referred to Abu Dhabi and the Middle East as one of the fastest growing regions 2016. The fact that Abu Dhabi has advanced to position 73 in the ranking of international destinations is a direct consequence of successful bidding for 14 congresses with more than 35,000 delegates.

“2016 was a record-breaking year for Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau with the largest number of conference wins to date”, emphasized HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Tourism& Culture Authority. "These conferences have a highly beneficial economic impact on Abu Dhabi, bringing millions of dirhams of business into the emirate." The major bids won include the 2018 World Roads Congress and World Energy Congress. 
The program "Advantage Abu Dhabi"
 is designated to support conferences matching the "Abu Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision" theme and covering future strategies related to energy, transport and logistics, telecommunication, tourism, health and education. The Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau analyses all applications and provides advice in the planning phases.   KERSTIN WÜNSCH 

www.visitdubai.com/enwww.abudhabi-cb.ae
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, summarized Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 in a few words: “For Abu Dhabi to continue to create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open and globally competitive economy.“
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi
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