Dubai to set up 50 international offices to boost tourism

New offices across five continents to help promote Dubai's commercial, tourist and investment opportunities

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, chairs the second Dubai Council meeting on Tuesday. Courtesy Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Twitter
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Dozens of Dubai government offices will be set up across the world in an effort to boost tourism and investment in the emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the plans along with new non-oil trade targets, a Dh1 billion fund and plans for subsidised housing for entrepreneurs on Tuesday during a Dubai Council meeting.

"We ... gave direction to enhance Dubai's international presence, through establishing 50 offices across five continents," Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.

He said the offices would "promote Dubai's commercial, tourist and investment opportunities, while boosting our commodities, cultural and creative exports and our human talent."

During Tuesday's meeting, the council also launched Dubai Future District, a new space "dedicated to the development of the future economy."

Dubai will become the world's capital of the new economy

Dubai Future District will connect DIFC, Emirates Towers and Dubai World Trade Centre by a bridge, making the area the Middle East's largest district future economy-focused district, Sheikh Mohammed said.

He said it would include a future economy research centre, incubators and accelerators and a space for future economy pioneers to grow their businesses.

With the announcement of the new district, the council also approved the establishment of a Dh1 billion Dubai Future Economy Fund to support new economy companies who can "power Dubai’s future growth" and promote the emirate as a preferred destination to establish future economy companies. These companies will operate from the new district and must have the "potential and foresight to drive Dubai’s new economy."

Other incentives include special five-year residency visas for future entrepreneurs and reduced housing prices that will allow entrepreneurs to rent homes in District 2071 at less than Dh3,000 per month.

Other economy-related announcements included instructions to raise Dubai's volume of non-oil foreign trade to Dh2 trillion by 2025. This will be supported by the 50 new offices that will each be tasked with promoting trade, tourism and investment offerings through intense external marketing efforts.

"To achieve this, we have assembled a team to set-up a new logistical and legislative framework to open new markets, as we prepare to become the capital of the new economy," Sheikh Mohammed said.

This new economy will be a major focus of the 50 goals agenda that Dubai Council will present in less than two months and seek to achieve in the next five years, he said.

Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World, was made responsible for overseeing the Dh2 trillion trade goal. He will lead a new committee that must present a plan in 30 days for opening new foreign markets for the emirate, develop a logistics system and enhance the competitiveness of local exports.

At the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed said the 50 international offices will also act as unified centres to serve global investors, innovators, businessmen and tourists. They will work to enhance Dubai’s international presence, reduce foreign operational costs, double global promotional efforts, boost the emirate’s commodity, service, cultural and creative exports, increase the emirate’s touristic, investment, financial and knowledge revenues, and attract talents and students.

The international offices are also part of wider efforts to increase tourism to Dubai. This month, the UAE Cabinet unveiled the country's first multi-entry five-year tourist visa to encourage more visitors.

Dubai did not hit its target to attract 20 million visitors by 2020, despite a strong performance in boosting the number of Chinese, Omani and Filipino visitors recently. The most recent figures showed it was on course for about 16 million, having hit 12 million in the first nine months, after recording a fall in Indian, British and Russian visitors.

Expo 2020 is expected to bring a rush of tourists to the emirate when it opens in October, however.

Since its establishment on January 4, Dubai Council has accomplished much in its two meetings. The council was formed by Sheikh Mohammed with the purpose of set in in motion robust plans that will allow the emirate to meet its development targets over the next 50 years.

"The Dubai Council's work will dramatically increase in the coming months," Sheikh Mohammed said on Tuesday.

"2020 will be a year of significant change and real transformation on our journey over the next decade. My message to the strong-willed among us is: prepare yourself for a new era full of possibility."