In the Middle East, in a Muslim country where almost all religions, cultures and nationalities cohabit like the syncope of an orchestra, Dubai was able to adapt, with the same survival and resilience capacity shown in recent decades, and has taken steps to keep the rhythm.

At the end of March 2020, the implementation of lockdown surprised the country and generated a climate of uncertainty, and the biggest impact was felt when EXPO 2020 announced its postponement to 2021. The impact of this decision was resounding, but the opinion of governments, sponsors and everyone involved was unanimous. Global health is, and should always be, the major concern and priority.

During this time, the event industry entered a true rollercoaster and redundancies, wage reduction and company closures began, and a big question mark was there as to the future of physical events and the sustainability of many events companies.

The truth is that, if on the one hand in Dubai the involvement of the State has little impact on the survival of companies, corporate credit lines are quite strict and difficult to obtain, competition is global and countless and labour laws are a true challenge.

On the other hand, the country has positioned itself in the forefront in recent years in the creation of digital infrastructures allowing companies to transfer effectively to online channels. The healthcare system is robust and rigorous, guaranteeing citizens, tourists and residents a safety net (physical and psychological) that one can hardly see in another country in the world. Just to provide an example, currently, according to official sources, the approximate number of COVID cases in the UAE – 9.631 million inhabitants, is 218.766 and in Portugal it is 446.606).

Companies, brands and people can guarantee the future and sustainability of this industry by learning and adapting the example of Dubai, which, through the measures implemented, is leading to a resumption of events earlier than in other countries, namely in Europe.

The fact that Expo 2021 is around the corner encourages the Emirate to be more proactive, diligent, not only as regards events, but also in Tourism and Healthcare. The current situation is as complex as it is volatile and unexpected, but the UAE, and Dubai in particular, will take the lead and ensure that Expo 2021 will be a major success and one of the most remarkable world events of 2021.

In 2021, and for the events industry to regain vitality, it is important that physical events once again become predominant, regain relevance and importance for the economy and that large multinationals invest again in events, knowing however that hybrid events are here to stay.

In Dubai and in the region, companies and institutions have made sizeable investment in hybrid events, combining physical events with the virtual component, guaranteeing a more careful and meaningful assessment so that the Orchestra will be able to gradually play again before a sold out Dubai Opera.

By Cristina Ramos, Communication Consultant & Finance and Human Resources Director at Multilem Middle East

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