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News & Updates

From New Year Fireworks To Dubai Expo 2020 - Why Managing Major Events Challenges is a Must for the Region

19 Dec 2017

In just about two years’ time, more than 25 million visitors will descend on Dubai for Expo2020;  how will they be kept safe?

Major events play a significant role in the development of every city; fromelevating the happiness and economic indexes  to fuelling a sense of community and providing opportunities for employment and revenue-generation; yett these events also pose great challengestrequiring law enforcement authorities to plan extensively in order to ensure security while remaining hospitable and enjoyable to the participants

With the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries also hosting major international events and developing multiple iconic venues, the industry requires sharing experience of both past lessons and best practice to ensure success. GCC countries are implementing a clear agenda, toward becoming the world’s most preferred event destination, initiated more than 10 years ago when Doha hosted the Asian Games in 2006, the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2007, and the very significant decision for Dubai being elected to host Expo 2020.

Thanks to mega-projects such as the UAE’s Bluewaters Island, Expo 2020 Dubai, and the Warner Brothers theme park, the Mena region’s $4 trillion construction market is the world’s fastest-growing, according to reports by BMI Research and PwC.

Now established as one of the world’s fastest-growing live event markets, The UAE has the potential to leapfrog established European and North American markets in using the latest audiovisual innovations to transform the visitor experience,” said Dan Bolton, president of the International Live Events Association Middle East.

These major events are just few of a number of large events that will be hosted in the expanded region over the next five years, as per shown in the below list.

Major events in the expanded region (2017-2022)

Top Major Events in the Region Category Location Occurrence Frequency Date
New Year’s Eve celebrations Entertainment Worldwide Yearly Event 31st December 2017
Hajj Season (Islamic Pilgrimage) Religious Saudi Arabia Yearly Event 19 - 24 August 2018
Subject to moon sighting
Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Sports Abu Dhabi, UAE Yearly Event 22 - 25 November 2018
GCC Olympic Games 2019 Sports Kuwait One Time Event 2019
Asian Football Cup 2019 Sports UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah & Al Ain) One Time Event 2019
Expo 2020 Cluture/Entertainment Dubai, UAE One Time Event Oct 2020 - Apr 2021

*Events' dates & locations are subject to change.

The United Arab Emirates, An Iconic Role Model

It is public knowledge that UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda aims to make the UAE the safest place in the world.  The country has invested heavily in its homeland security and infrastructure to reinforce its citizens’ sense of security and has affirmed a strong commitment to achieving leading positions in the areas of emergency preparedness, reliability of police services and road safety.  As the UAE is constantly evolving, so too are its safety and security needs and thus the need for innovation and knowledge sharing in the industry has never been greater.

Meline Eolmezian-Soulie the Group Exhibition Director of the Security & Safety Portfolio at Reed Exhibitions the organizing company of ME3S stated: “ME3S fills a content gap in the market globally and aims in particular to support the regional stakeholders to get testimonials of those who have been in leadership roles for previous projects and internationally recognized subject matter experts in this dedicated sector”.

Additionally, the UAE will be developing significant projects where many of the same skills and solutions are required for operators and therefore bringing additional commercial opportunities for companies catering to major events’ safety & security industry. Examples include unique infrastructure, leisure and business facilities and various large-scale developments such as Saadiyat Island Cultural District, Yas Island, Meydan One, Jumeirah Central, Dubai Parks & Resorts and Al Maktoum Airport expansion to name a few, which all support the long-term growth strategy of moving the economy beyond oil.

One of the most important implications for hosts of events is how to mitigate the risks regarding safety and security because both a positive and/or negative experience can have significant reputational impact and therefore global economic consequences, specifically regarding tourism, an important trade to the region.