Seize New Opportunities: How Event Management Businesses Can Thrive in the UAE

Seize New Opportunities: How Event Management Businesses Can Thrive in the UAE

October 16, 2023

Event management

Ever wondered how to take your event management business to the next level? The UAE is bursting with opportunities if you know where to look. You’ve spent years honing your craft, building an impressive portfolio of corporate and private events. But now you’re ready for a new challenge in a fast-growing market. The UAE’s event industry is booming, with a seemingly endless calendar of conferences, exhibitions, festivals, and sporting events. There are more than 500 event management companies in the UAE, yet demand continues to outstrip supply.

The UAE’s vision is to become a global hub for business, tourism, and events. Billions of dollars have been invested in world-class infrastructure, from exhibition centres to stadiums, attracting major international events. The UAE’s location and infrastructure make it an ideal gateway between the East and West. Its diversity and cultural tolerance appeal to a global audience. If you want to take your business to the next level, the UAE is the place to do it. The opportunities are real if you have the vision and determination to seize them.

This blog covers:

The UAE's Booming Event Industry

The UAE's event industry is booming, and for good reason. This glamorous country attracts both business and leisure travellers from around the globe, hosting everything from small conferences to massive exhibitions.
As an event planner, the opportunities here are endless. International congresses, product launches, music festivals, sporting events, award shows - you name it, the UAE has it. The country has state-of-the-art venues equipped to handle any type of gathering.

The government actively promotes the events sector through several initiatives. Tax-free living, luxury accommodation, and a vibrant nightlife scene all add to the appeal for event attendees.
Culturally, the UAE is a diverse, forward-thinking country that welcomes creativity. As an event professional, you'll have the freedom to organise innovative events that push boundaries. You'll also gain exposure to different types of international clients with big ambitions.

Of course, competition is fierce, with many experienced event management consultants in the market. To succeed, focus on a niche area of expertise, build strong relationships, and stay on top of the latest technologies and trends. With hard work and persistence, your event management business can thrive in this exciting Emirati environment.
The opportunities for growth in the UAE are real. Take a chance, seize new opportunities, and start planning your next big event in the heart of the Middle East!

Key Growth Drivers Creating Opportunities

Increase in business tourism
The UAE, which hosts several global events, attracts millions of business tourists each year. As more international conferences, exhibitions, and trade fairs are hosted here, demand for professional event planning and management services will rise.

Government support
The UAE government actively promotes the MICE industry, which covers meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. Major initiatives like Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020 and Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 prioritise business events as a key economic sector. Government funding, infrastructure development, and policy changes all signal a supportive environment for event management businesses.

Diverse, international client base
The UAE’s cosmopolitan population and status as a global business hub mean event management companies have access to a diverse, international client base. You can work with local Emirati organisations as well as multinational corporations across many sectors like finance, technology, healthcare, and energy.

Growth of the “experience” economy
There is increasing demand for memorable, shareable event experiences. Event management companies that can deliver creative, innovative, and interactive events have a competitive advantage. The UAE’s pioneering spirit and futuristic vision also make it an ideal testing ground for the latest event technologies and experiential marketing techniques.

MICE Tourism in the UAE

One of the key contributors to UAE’s tourism industry is MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions). 

Meetings: The UAE is a global hub for international meetings and conferences. Cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi boast state-of-the-art conference facilities, making them ideal destinations for business gatherings. Whether it's a corporate summit or an industry conference, the UAE provides the infrastructure and logistics to support such events.

Incentives: Incentive tourism in the UAE takes a unique twist. Companies often reward their employees with all-expense-paid trips to the UAE as an acknowledgement of their hard work and achievements. The country offers a blend of luxury, adventure, and cultural experiences, making it an enticing incentive destination.

Conferences: The UAE has hosted a myriad of global conferences that range from healthcare to technology. These events draw participants from all over the world, thanks to the country's strategic location and world-class amenities.

Exhibitions: The UAE is renowned for its grand exhibitions and trade shows. Dubai, in particular, is home to some of the world's largest and most influential exhibitions, making it an attractive spot for businesses to showcase their products and services.

Event Trends to Capitalise on in the UAE

The events industry in the UAE is booming, with many exciting trends you can capitalise on.

Experience-focused events: People today want more than just attending an event - they want an experience.Curate events that engage all the senses and create lasting memories. Interactive events, immersive experiences, behind-the-scenes access, and customised or personalised elements are hugely popular.

Short-form events: With short attention spans and packed schedules, short-form events are on the rise. Think flash talks, pop-up dinners, short film festivals, speed networking, and flash sales. These bite-sized events are easy to attend but still meaningful.

Health and wellness: There is a growing focus on health and well-being in the UAE. Yoga festivals, meditation retreats, organic food shows, and fitness events are in high demand. Tie events into the latest diet or exercise trends to attract interest.

Sustainability: Eco-friendly events are becoming more mainstream as people aim to reduce their environmental impact. Choose sustainable venues, reduce waste, offer eco-friendly transportation options, source local organic produce, and highlight environmental causes or charities.

Hybrid events: As technology improves, hybrid online-offline events enable broader reach and accessibility. Live stream keynotes or panels, offer virtual attendance options, and integrate social media. Hybrid events open up more sponsorship and revenue opportunities.

Keep an eye on emerging technologies like virtual reality, live streaming, and online networking platforms. The events industry is constantly evolving, so stay up to date with trends to keep your business on the cutting edge. With the right combination of experience, convenience, health, sustainability, and technology, your event management company can thrive in the UAE.

Tips for Event Planners Looking to Enter the UAE Market

As an event planner looking to break into the UAE market, there are a few tips to keep in mind. The events industry in the UAE is booming, but the competition is fierce. With strategic planning and persistence, you can gain a foothold in this exciting market.

Build a Local Network
Connect with other event pros already working in the UAE. Join industry organisations like the Association of Event Organisers to make valuable contacts. Try to find a local partner or mentor to help guide you through the intricacies of doing business in the UAE.

Offer Unique, Memorable Experiences
Emiratis and expats in the UAE have high expectations and access to world-class events. To stand out, focus on creating unforgettable, Instagram-worthy experiences. Use interactive technology, striking decor, gourmet catering, entertainment, and more to wow attendees.

Understand the Culture
Learn about Emirati cultural traditions, religion, and business etiquette. For example, understand that the week runs from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday as the weekend. Ramadan is a month of fasting and altered business hours. Dress conservatively, especially for business meetings. These cultural insights will help you avoid faux pas and connect with clients and partners.

Build Your Online Presence
Having an attractive website and social media profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn is essential for promoting your business in the UAE. Focus on stunning visuals and videos to showcase your creative capabilities. Pay to boost key posts to reach new potential clients. Engage with your followers and local influencers to increase visibility.

With an understanding of the culture, a unique offering, local connections, and digital marketing skills, you’ll be poised to thrive as an event planner in the exciting UAE market. Success may not happen overnight, but with persistence and patience, you can establish your business in this fast-growing event hub.

How UAQ FTZ commercial and consultancy licences can help event management companies

The UAE is an exciting place for event management companies to do business. The UAE has a thriving events industry, from large festivals and expos to corporate conferences, gala dinners, and weddings. There are many opportunities for event planners in the emirates.

One way for event management companies to establish themselves in the UAE is by obtaining a commercial licence or consultancy licence from the Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ). These licences provide several benefits:

  • Low costs. The application process is straightforward, and licence fees are very affordable. The rent of office spaces in the free zone is also competitive.
    100% foreign ownership. Event management companies can have full ownership of their UAE business under a UAQ FTZ licence. There is no need for an Emirati local partner or sponsor.
  • Tax exemptions. Licence holders can take advantage of a 100% tax exemption on their business income or profits in the UAE for up to 50 years. No income tax, corporate tax, import or export tax.
  • Visa facilitation. With a UAQ FTZ licence, companies can easily sponsor work visas for their employees and team members. Both one and two-year residency visas are available.
  • Office space. Flexible office space options are offered within the free zone at affordable rates. Companies can rent anything from a single desk up to an entire building.
  • Government support. UAQ FTZ provides support services to assist licence holders, such as sponsorship of visas, processing of government paperwork, and assistance with banking. 

For event management companies looking to expand into the Middle East, a commercial or consultancy licence from UAQ FTZ provides an ideal platform to access new opportunities in the UAE events market. Low costs, tax benefits, and government support allow companies to establish themselves with minimal hassle. The future looks bright for event planners in the emirates.


Do I need local partners to start an event marketing firm in the UAE?
While local partnerships may be required in certain cases, the UAE offers various business structures, including sole proprietorships and limited liability companies, which do not necessarily require local partners. UAQ Free Trade Zone licences are designed to promote foreign investment and business ownership, allowing full ownership by non-UAE nationals, which means event marketing firms established in the UAQ Free Trade Zone do not require local partners.

What marketing and advertising regulations should I be aware of in the UAE?
The UAE has strict regulations regarding advertising and marketing content, especially with respect to cultural sensitivities, false advertising, and competition. It's essential to be aware of and comply with these regulations.

What are the common types of business licences for event marketing firms in the UAE?
The common business licences for event marketing firms in the UAE include commercial and consultancy licences.  UAQ FTZ commercial and consultancy licences are well-suited to event marketing firms in the UAE, offering flexibility depending on the specific nature of their services, whether they primarily focus on event management or provide marketing consultancy for events.

Are there any niche opportunities within the event marketing industry in the UAE?
Yes, there are various niche opportunities, such as sports event marketing, luxury event marketing, corporate event marketing, cultural event marketing, and more. Identifying your niche can help you target specific clients and events.


You've learned about the exciting growth in the UAE events industry and the many opportunities for event management businesses. The time is ripe to get started - don't let uncertainty hold you back. Take a chance and pursue your passion. Launch that business, hire great staff, build a stellar reputation, and watch as your calendar fills up.

Success won't come overnight, but with hard work, creativity, and persistence, you'll get there. Years from now, you'll look back proudly at the business you've built and the memories you've created for clients. The UAE is ready for you - now go out there and show them what you've got! Seize the opportunities and make your event management business thrive.

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