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Photo: Zabeel House Hotel, Dubai

Dubai raises profile as “affordable MICE destination”

As the latest MICE Arabia Congress gets underway this week, Dubai is keen to stress that it’s not as expensive as it seems.

The seventh edition of the MICE Arabia Congress gets underway in Dubai this week, attracting meetings, conferences and incentives players from around the world to make connections and explore relevant trends and future technologies.

But the emirate’s message in 2019 is that it is a surprisingly affordable destination for MICE groups.

At the congress, which opens on Tuesday and continues into Wednesday at the Rixos Premium Dubai, more than 300 attendees will be meeting over 50 suppliers for an estimated 1800 one-to-one meetings.

One of the aspects being discussed is that contrary to perceptions about Dubai being a luxury travel destination, it is not as expensive as it seems.

“Dubai is very focussed on vacation travel, but there are lots of opportunities for companies holding meetings, events and incentive trips there too. Dubai is an affordable MICE destination,” Katrin Gert Nielsen, chief executive of the Nordic representation agency Atlantic Link told Standby Nordic at the Matka travel fair in Helsinki last month.

“It is a six-hour flight from the Nordics with direct connections from each of the Scandinavian capitals, facilitating access for MICE groups,” she added.

Dubai is not just about luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, flashy artificial islands and the 830m-tall Burj Khalifa.

Nielsen gave examples such as the three-star Zabeel House Hotel in the marina area as affordable accommodation for groups of visitors. “Three stars in Dubai is like four stars in Scandinavia,” she said.

Expo 2020
Visits to the UAE next year could coincide with a major global event like Expo 2020, to be hosted by Dubai from October 20, 2020.

“Dubai is very authentic, so there are many things for visiting groups to do. In July and August it’s admittedly a little hot, but from late September to April or May temperatures are ideal and there is air conditioning even on the terraces,” Nielsen enthused.

“It’s a city surrounded by beaches, and where only 10% of the population is indigenous which makes it incredibly multicultural, and it is very safe to explore.”

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