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Clear focus: Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020

Dubai Design District

The Emirate's latest "Dubai Design District" will have its first phase completed by 2015.

June 10, 2013 9:03 by



In May, Dubai announced its Tourism Vision 2020 – which seeks to welcome 20 million visitors per year and boast AED300 billion in annual revenues by the year 2020. The goal – approved by HH Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai – is also in line with the emirate’s Expo 2020 bid and its ambition to further cement the city’s position on the global map.

“We are aware that such goals are ambitious, but more important than ambition is realising these goals in reality,” His Highness said at the time.

A month and several major project announcements later and it’s become apparent that Dubai has no intention of slowing down and has already made substantial advancements towards fulfilling its vision. Over the past few days, plans of two major developments have been revealed.

The first will see The Dubai Mall, already boasting the status of being the world’s largest, undergo massive expansion – the first phase of which will see the complex expand by one million square feet. In 2012, the mall welcomed roughly 65 million visitors (versus New York’s annual 52 million) and its goal is to receive 100 million each year, strengthen its fashion portfolio and enhance the city’s high-end retail offerings.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, says: “The Dubai Mall expansion project builds on Dubai’s new Tourism Vision 2020 announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and the city’s focus on offering high-end retail and leisure attractions for residents and visitors from around the world.

The second is the announcement of “Dubai Design District”, a dedicated industry community devoted to developing the Emirate’s fashion, design and luxury sectors. Announced by Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum and developed by TECOM Investments (member of Dubai Holding), the first phase of the district should be completed by 2015 – with 10 buildings already under construction.

TECOM is investing AED4 billion in the first phase of Dubai Design District, which marks the start of what will become a world-class creative community for the Middle East that promotes and nurtures local and regional designers. It will also be home to some of the world’s leading brands and talent.

The district is expected to become a fully serviced commercial hub for design industry related organizations, brands, and supporting enterprises within the value chain. It will feature a custom built creative community that will encompass purpose-built commercial and retail facilities for established and emerging designers, design institutes, a waterfront promenade, convention centre and event venues, and related academic institutions.

During the first phase of the construction period, businesses and individuals looking to be licensed within Dubai Design District can secure licenses to operate in any of TECOM’s nine other purpose-built free zone business parks.

“In the same way that we have supported IT companies in Dubai Internet City – the region’s first knowledge cluster – and media companies in Dubai Media City, we want to give design and luxury goods companies a platform for growth and an appropriate base for their operations in Dubai,” said Dr Amina Al Rustamani, group chief executive officer at TECOM Investments.

Ahmed Bin Byat, CEO of Dubai Holding says that thanks to the UAE’s resilient and growing retail and tourism sectors, several of the world’s top design and luxury brands have already found Dubai an attractive location to set up their regional headquarters.

“To further strengthen Dubai’s knowledge-based economy and ensure its sustainability, we must create an environment that would produce and nurture future business leaders and entrepreneurs,” he said. “Dubai Design District will be a dedicated home to the growing and increasingly popular local designer community who are emerging onto the global stage.”

He says that once the district is developed, he is confident that it will play an integral role in diversifying the emirate’s economy even further.



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