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Mice Asia Net : October 2008
dubai all that glitters is dubai story By braD FoSter f you read the rhetoric on Dubai you are led to believe that it will be one of the world’s major centres for tourism within the next 15 years. But it’s hardly rhetoric. Serviced by one of the most successful and aggressive airlines in the world – Emirates – and with what appears to be almost limitless financial support, Dubai is well and truly on the way to being just what it wants to be. The Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 puts in place strong intentions that covers all bases – everything from developments to preserving local culture, and ensuring the destination’s longevity. It is a masterplan that replaces previous visions which, incidentally, punched well above their weight in every regard. For the MICE market, Dubai is a destination lined in pure gold. Everything the savvy convention or incentive travel planner could want is there: quality venues, great activities “beyond the ballroom”, sumptuous food, and ease of access, especially from Asia. No wonder that it continues to climb up the world rankings in terms of hosting events. Possibly the best way to understand the progressive nature of Dubai as a modern-day, innovative centre is to take a look at what it is doing or is planning over the next decade. Already it has far surpassed what many imagined was possible in terms of new infrastructure. Who, for example, would ever consider extending their coastline by building a series of islands that resemble a palm tree? Dubai did, and that vision – Palm Island – is now becoming a reality after many years of engineering excellence. But what else is there? To the convention and incentive travel planner, thankfully plenty. Always looking for something new and unusual, Dubai delivers without question. So here’s a small sample of what’s just around the corner that will surely whet the appetite of the MICE market: I DubailanD This is a plantation polo and equestrian club that includes a five-star boutique hotel complex, air conditioned deluxe stabling provisions for 800 horses, an equestrian and polo Dubai has grown from a Middle East trading centre to one of the world’s busiest tourism hubs. academy, a fully air-conditioned indoor riding area, five polo fields, an international showjumping arena, club houses, restaurants, and retail outlets. The country club will include a dedicated 40,000 square foot health club and fitness centre, and 110 colonial-manor houses, no doubt with million dollar price tags to match. Dubai SportS City This mega-complex will include multi- purpose stadiums for hockey, soccer, tennis, rugby, sports academies, a golf course, soccer school, stadium hotel, boutique hotel, schools, mosques, commercial and community centres, and a sports-themed shopping mall. Motor City will include an autodrome, formula one theme park, a kart dome, racing school, auto mall, a business park, residential houses, hotels, cafes, restaurants, a community centre and retail outlets. KEY CONTACTS Dubai Convention Bureau www.dcb.ae DMCs Arabian Adventures E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.arabian-adventures.com Gulf Dunes E: email@example.com W: www.gulfdunes.com miceAsia.net 51