By Staff Writer www.business24-7.ae
Dubai World Central (DWC), the 140 sq km project that would house Al Maktoum Airport, will have its first phase opening on June 27, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman of the Dubai Shopping Festival Supreme Committee, in a statement yesterday.
The announcement sets aside rumours of delays at DWC, which will also incorporate Dubai Logistics City, DWC Aviation City and other projects to create the world’s first fully-integrated, multi-modal logistics platform in a single, customs-controlled zone. Commenting on Dubai’s aviation industry, Sheikh Ahmed said expansion projects are under way at Dubai International Airport, with an aim to increase passenger traffic to 75 million annually. The airport expects the number of users to touch 46 million in 2010 and 100 million by 2020.
The Dubai Airport Free Zone has been named the best free zone in the Middle East and second in the world by premier magazine fDi (foreign direct investment) of Financial Times. In first place is the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone and in third place Mexico-based Free Zone San Luis Potosi. The selection is from more than 200 free zones in the world.
Speaking of visitors coming to the UAE, he said the country’s rapidly-growing festival industry has become a key component of the economy. Festivals and events in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah complement each other to achieve the main objective in driving the growth of the UAE’s tourism industry, he added.
Dubai, said Sheikh Ahmed, became the pioneer in the region’s festival industry when it launched the first edition of Dubai Shopping Festival in 1996 and Dubai Summer Surprises in 1998. In 15 years, DSF has attracted over 40 million visitors and a consumer spending of Dh80 billion, he said.