Dubai International Conventional and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) attracts more than 2.7 million visitors from 160 countries every year, and hosts about 500 events annually, of which the majority are trade exhibitions, making it an important source of revenue for the emirate’s hotels, shops and airports.

Illustrating the importance of the convention centre, in 2015, project owner Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) said DICEC had contributed AED12bn ($3.3bn) to Dubai’s economy that year, equivalent to 3.1 per cent of the emirate’s GDP. DWTC also estimated that DICEC had directly and indirectly supported 80,400 jobs in Dubai. DWTC added that its events had generated sales of more than AED20.9bn in 2015.

More commonly known as the World Trade Centre, it opened in 1979 as a single tower. It has been extended several times, and is now a complex with 21 halls, retail space, serviced apartments and two hotels. A major expansion of the trade centre began in 2001, in preparation for a 2003 IMF meeting. Work included the construction of a convention centre, with room for 6,000 people, and the hotels. It was expanded again in 2006, adding 15,000 square metres of exhibition space, and again in 2015, with the addition of exhibition halls.