Dubai certainly talks the talk. Its penchant for promising to build the biggest, boldest and most bizarre is well-known, and architectural firms are constantly conjuring up blueprints that, if they materialise, will add to the city’s “space-age playground” vibe. Just a few of the latest include an underwater tennis stadium, the world’s first fully rotational sky tower and the world’s longest indoor ski slope.
But Dubai also walks the walk, and its ambitious vision of attracting 20 million annual visitors by the year 2020 has almost been realised, as it welcomed 14 million of them last year. The emirate has tripled the number of annual conferences and conventions it hosts over the past decade, its pioneering plans for staging Expo 2020 are well underway, and it has successfully secured bids to hold more than 100 conferences over the next few years.