May 25, 2024

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) Achieves Remarkable Milestone with 2.47 Million Visitors in 2023, Driven by Surge in International Attendance

 Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) Achieves Remarkable Milestone with 2.47 Million Visitors in 2023, Driven by Surge in International Attendance

Activates city-wide presence, hosting events at DWTC, Dubai Exhibition Centre and Dubai Harbour
DWTC hosted 301 exhibitions and events in 2023, up 23% year-on-year.

Exhibitions attracted nearly 54,000 companies, with 78% being international.

DWTC added 33 new events to its events calendar, attracting nearly 95,000 participants.

DWTC’s own flagship exhibitions, led by GITEX Global and Gulfood witnessed 42% growth in attendees, collectively contributing to one third of all MICE attendees.

Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) hosted over 220k attendees, headlined by the prestigious Blue Zone at COP28.

DWTC grew global presence, with KAOUN International organising events overseas, including debut editions of GITEX Africa and Saudi Food Show in 2023.

DXB Live, DWTC’s experiential agency, recorded its best year-to-date supporting over 500 events, locally and internationally.

DWTC’s Free Zone issued 601 new licences, with its commercial real estate developments nearing full occupancy.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 14 March 2024

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the global events and exhibitions industry powerhouse and a leading business enabler, has unveiled its 2023 results with outstanding performance, offering an insight into Dubai’s unprecedented economic growth and its position as a powerful international convening platform for business and trade enablement. Home to a diverse, economy-shaping roster of business and trade events, DWTC welcomed 2.47 million participants in 2023, marking a remarkable 25% increase in visitation compared to the previous year. The results were driven by 301 Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), business and consumer events, a notable 23% rise year-on-year.

The impressive increase in visitors reflects the strength of DWTC’s diversified content-rich calendar, led by 107 Exhibitions and International Association Conventions and Industry Conferences. These eventscollectively attracted 1.56 million attendees, marking a substantial 33% increase compared to the previous year. Of these, over 722,000 were international attendees, representing an unprecedented 60% growth year-on-year. These industry-leading events and exhibitionssaw a participation of 53,789 exhibiting companies, representing a remarkable 45% increase over last year. An unprecedented 78% of these exhibiting companieswere international (41,864), further reinforcing DWTC’s ability in consistently drawing both new and repeat international participants. The surge in foreign business attendees furthers the aspirations of the D33 Agenda, to propel Dubai to be a top three global economic city by 2033.

The diversity of DWTC’s robust events calendar was further reinforced with its consumer and leisure events portfolio growing last year to host a total of 35 entertainment, live, and leisure events collectively attracting over 850,000 visitors.

Helal Saeed Almarri

Commenting on the outstanding results, H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: “DWTC’s increasingly diverse exhibitions and events portfolio, along with its allied businesses, continue to go from strength to strength. Our results underscore the robust dynamics of the emirate’s thriving economy and strategic focus on key industry sectors, reinforcing Dubai’s leading status as a global hub for knowledge, innovation and business. The past year has been shaped by extraordinary momentum across the entire business and trade ecosystem, with DWTC emerging as a catalyst for agenda-shaping discussions and actionable agreements. Culminated by successful hosting of COP28, Dubai remains a frontrunner in the global events and exhibitions landscape, supported by DWTC’s leading role on the international stage in alignment with the government’s 2033 strategic economic goals”.

DWTC further solidified its appeal as the venue of choice with 33 new entrants to its events calendar, including 17 Exhibitions, 9 International Associations Conventions and 7 conferences. These events collectively attracted nearly 95,000 participants and over 2,000 exhibiting companies. Some of the prominent new additions were World of Coffee, World Police Summit, International Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies – IFOS 2023, Seatrade Maritime Logistics Middle East, and Asia Baby Children Maternity Exhibition.

New highs for DWTC-organised exhibitions and events

In 2023, DWTC organised 20 exhibitions and events, attracting a staggering 519,000 attendees, marking an impressive increase of 42% year-on-year. Of these, 265,000 were international attendees, recording a massive jump of 108% year-on-year. DWTC’s own events attracted over 17,000 exhibiting companies, up by a solid 45%. Of these, over 13,000 were international, marking an impressive 68% increase.

Flagship events such as GITEX Global and Gulfood maintained their leadership positions in their respective sectors, experiencing notable growth in visitors by 44% and 31% respectively.

GITEX Global expanded to a city-wide scale, with Expand North Star serving as a satellite event, held at Dubai Harbour, a strategic move to accommodate the event’s unprecedented growth. The world’s largest tech showcase attracted a remarkable 245,000 attendees and hosted over 7200 exhibitors demonstrating increasing popularity.

Gulfood, renowned as a crucial platform for food and beverage producers, welcomed more than 134,000 trade visitors, while boasting an impressive showcase of 5,200 exhibitors.

DWTC’s global expansion endeavours, through KAOUN International, saw the successful launch of the GITEX Africa and Saudi Food Show in 2023. GITEX Africa held in Morocco made a ground-breaking debut as the largest tech and start-up show in Africa, attracting attendees from 128 countries, including representatives from 46 African nations.

Top-performing MICE sectors

In 2023, DWTC continued to demonstrate its ability to meet the demands of the global MICE sector across a range of high-performing sectors including healthcare, science, Food&Beverage, hospitality, technology, consumer goods, leisure and travel, transport, energy and environment.

The Healthcare, Medical, and Scientific sector emerged as the top performing industry at DWTC, with 24 events that attracted 275,000 attendees, representing one fifth of all exhibitions and conventions held at the venue. The number of events in this sector grew from 18 in 2022, with total participation increasing by 29%. Key highlights included major events such as AEEDC and Arab Health.

The Information Technology sector came in second, attracting 260,000 attendees, a 17% share of the MICE category. This sector was dominated by GITEX Global and its associated events, with participation up by 41% YoY.

The Food, Hotel, and Catering sector followed closely, attracting 226,000 attendees, a 14% share of MICE events. Led by Gulfood and Gulfood Manufacturing, this sector experienced a substantial 42% increase in participation compared to 2022. 

The top five industries are rounded out by Consumer Goods sector which attracted 96,000 attendees and Building, Construction and Facility Management sector, with 93,000 attendees. Notably, China Home Life and The Big 5 emerged as the leading events in their respective sectors. Other notable exhibitions and events making it to top 10 in terms of participation were Automechanica and Beauty World.

H.E. Almarri: “MICE sector fuels Dubai’s growth.”

H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri said: “DWTC is steadfast in its commitment to advancing Dubai’s economic objectives and the D33 agenda, ensuring the emirate remains a forward-looking hub for emerging industries and technologies. The notable increase in international participation underscores the global recognition of Dubai’s significance. Looking at 2024, we’re committed to building on these successes, driving forward our mission to position Dubai as a hub for pioneering ideas and transformative initiatives”.

DXB LIVE experiences robust growth locally and internationally

In 2023, DXB LIVE, the experiential agency of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), demonstrated remarkable expansion, managing a diverse portfolio of 500 events, including exhibitions, conferences, public entertainment events, concerts, weddings, graduation ceremonies, and more, the agency showcased its versatility and proficiency. Among these events, DXB LIVE served as the primary contractor for 65 exhibitions, including flagship events like Gulfood, GITEX Global, GISEC, CABSAT, and the Dubai International Boat Show. Throughout 2023, the experiential agency built 300 exhibition stands, collectively spanning over 145,000 square metres – a doubling of previous year’s figures. As part of its international expansion plans, DXB LIVE produced exhibition stands in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Riyadh, Marrakech and Hisar in India. As well as exhibition pavilions for the UAE Ministry of Economy in Russia and South Korea.

DWTC Free Zone and Asset Management records strong performance

DWTC Authority Free Zone, Dubai’s leading driver of global competitiveness, known for fostering innovative SMEs, issued 601 new licenses. This brought the total number of licensed companies within the free zone to 1,900, underscoring its pivotal role in driving economic growth and entrepreneurship.

Additionally, DWTC’s real estate and asset management business delivered robust performance in 2023. Notably, One Central, DWTC’s flagship development, achieved an impressive 95% occupancy rate. This accomplishment, solidified DWTC’s position as a highly sought-after destination for nurturing growth and innovation within DWTC’s Free Zone.