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‘Megafund’ to Attract Major Entertainment and Business Event Organisers to Abu Dhabi

AED 600 million specialised fund established as part of the Abu Dhabi Government’s Development accelerator programme ‘Ghadan 21’ Expected economic impact of activities to surpass AED 1.6 billion


A specialised fund launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) worth AED 600 million has been announced as part of an initiative to enhance Abu Dhabi’s portfolio of world-class leisure and business events and attract global event organisers to the UAE capital.

The new ‘mega events fund’ is part of the ‘Ghadan 21′ programme, which is working to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s economy with the ambition of making the Emirate one of the best places in the world to do business, invest, live, work and visit. The new financial stimulus announced by DCT Abu Dhabi will focus exclusively on the development of major entertainment and business activities and festivals in the emirate.

His Excellency Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Launching this initiative gives Abu Dhabi new strategic momentum to enhance its local and regional presence. This initiative will work to attract the best entertainment and business event organisers from across the world to consider Abu Dhabi as a place to invest their time and efforts.

“The support provided by the government for tourism, whether in the field of entertainment or business, shows the confidence of the Emirate’s wise leadership in DCT Abu Dhabi, both in its projects and plans. The support and constant growth of the tourism sector further bolsters the UAE capital’s potential to advance its standing and ability to continue to attract investment in the field.”

The new fund will work hand-in-hand with the Advantage Abu Dhabi programme, an additional DCT Abu Dhabi incentive grant scheme which has already scored major successes in stimulating the events sector in Abu Dhabi.

The latest fund will provide multi-purpose financing, including encouraging potential global entertainment partners to anchor leading entertainment content in Abu Dhabi, helping upscale and innovate existing best-in-class events in the UAE, encouraging leading global entertainment companies and event owners from the region to consider Abu Dhabi as the go-to location to stage events, and helping support innovation in the event and thought leadership sectors.

The new funded projects, in addition to their relevant initiatives, are expected to increase overseas visitation metrics and further support businesses in the events industry, ultimately yielding an expected economic impact of around AED 1.6 billion. The funded activities are also expected to return as annual events to the UAE capital.

The initiative will further build on Abu Dhabi’s reputation as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with new events and activities adding to Abu Dhabi’s current world-class calendar of events, including Abu Dhabi Classics, the Mother of the Nation Festival, and the annual Eid concerts. These internationally celebrated events already regularly attract huge crowds locally, regionally and internationally.

DCT Abu Dhabi has already identified several potential partners and beneficiaries for the new fund, including global companies, promoters and touring acts that could potentially make Abu Dhabi their base of operations. Closer to home, a number of local partners including Miral, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Live Nation International, Informa Middle East, Flash Entertainment, IMG International, Messe Frankfurt Exhibitions and Conferences, Yas Marina Circuit, and other event promotors have expressed interest in partnering with the fund. Business and entertainment activities will be merged as one category in order to attract various stakeholders for prospective meetings, increase business tourism activities, and host sports championships – all which are essential components in developing unique content for major activities and festivals that Abu Dhabi seeks to attract and organise.

In 2018, Abu Dhabi’s events calendar helped achieve a new record in terms of the number of visitors and hotel guests coming to the emirate, with more than 10 million international visitors arriving in Abu Dhabi and a 3.94 per cent increase reported in the number of hotel guests – compared to 2017. This growth can be attributed to an increased investment in key markets, which this latest fund hopes to build upon in the next three years.p

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