Dubai – MENA Herald: The Dubai Association Centre (DAC) organised a seminar Going Global: Prospects for Growth at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry head office on Sunday urging global associations to make Dubai a base to enter the region through the emirate which rightly serves as a gateway to the Middle Eastern region with access to many key emerging markets.

Attended by over 25 delegates from US-based Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and representatives of business groups and councils operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber, the seminar highlighted the pivotal role played by the Center and the facilities it provides to attract international associations to Dubai.

Commenting on the organisation of the seminar, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said that the emirate is a fine example of a sustainable city that harnesses technology in the process of its economic growth, adding that Dubai is moving fast towards its goal of becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the world in line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice-President, and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

H.E. Buamim pointed out that Dubai’s strategic location and the strong performance of the emirate’s leading economic drivers including trade, tourism and financial and logistics services are attracting international companies to set up base here and to expand into emerging markets in the GCC region, the African continent and Asia with a consumer base of up to 2 billion end users.

He lauded the role of the Dubai Association Centre which he said was set up in 2014 to license and offer assistance for the establishment of non-profit, apolitical and nonreligious professional associations and trade bodies in Dubai and now has 14 licensed associations as members, and has recently received 9 new applications which clearly shows the global associations’ desire to make their presence felt in the region by operating out of Dubai while enhancing the emirate’s reputation as a global centre of business and finance.

H.E. Issam Kazim, CEO Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing spoke about Dubai’s rise as the most visited city and a destination of choice as the emirate is looking forward to attracting 20 million visitors under Dubai Vision 2020.

Kazim added that Dubai has grown from strength to strength with 2013 visitor numbers increasing 8.2% in 2014 and year-to-date figures for 2015 rising 9.6% year-on-year. Now the aim is to see the emirate grow not only as a business centre, but to shine as a vibrant and innovative knowledge hub as part of the emirate’s commitment to innovation and to make Dubai the most innovative city globally in the next seven years.

He further added that the idea behind the establishment of Dubai Association Centre along with our partners is part of a long-term plan to attract international associations to set up shop in the region and consequently strengthen Dubai’s role as a knowledge hub across all sectors.

On her part, Mary Pat Heftman, 2016 Chair Elect, PCMA, said that PCMA is a 7,000 member-strong association that acts as a definitive authority in education, business networking and community engagement for leaders in the global meetings, convention and business events industry.  With 17 chapters and membership in 39 countries, the Association serves 50,000 plus customers while driving innovation through risk taking, research and data driven decision making.

Ms Heftman added that the growth of population in megacities are to be served quickly by associations and PCMA looks forward to collaborate with associations outside of the US and discuss opportunities with their regional counterparts as the Middle East region has huge growth potential.

“This study mission will allow us to educate our members, mostly from North America, about the region and the opportunities available here as their membership will be well placed in Dubai to reach out to the regional markets,” she said.

The two panel discussions, held on the sidelines of the seminar, included prospects for associations in international markets and sustaining growth by preventing sector stagnation.

During the visit, the delegates will get a first-hand account of the business activities of the multicultural businesses, attend business to business meetings with various association members based in Dubai at the serviced office accommodation in Rashid Tower, Dubai World Trade Centre, and will also tour the emirate’s cultural and historical sites.

The Dubai Association Centre was established earlier this year under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Dubai World Trade Centre, with the aim to provide assistance to trade and business associations to set up office space and develop their activities and membership in Dubai and beyond.

Being the region’s unique model, the Centre provides assistance to trade, scientific and business associations to set up office space and develop their activities and membership in Dubai and the wider Middle East region.

DAC allows a formal environment where international non-profit, professional associations and trade bodies can form a membership-based community or open a regional representative office to conduct business in the UAE and beyond.

For associations, the advantages of setting up in Dubai go beyond the obvious attractions of a well-developed city at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and all the prospects for new business this creates.

DAC provides practical support, in the form of serviced office accommodation in Sheikh Rashid Tower and access to the networking facilities of the World Trade Club, both located at Dubai World Trade Centre – the region’s leading events and exhibition venue.