A City That Flows

A City That Flows

Smart technology, innovative thinking and strategic partnerships are converging to shape the future of golf in Dubai.

Produced by (E) BrandConnect

Dubai has a long history as a crossroads for trade, and in more recent years it has become a magnet for tourists, too—in 2018 it was the fourth most-visited city in the world based on the number of international visitors. In the first two decades of this century, driven by these two booming sectors, the Dubai skyline has changed beyond recognition. A plethora of new, modern developments have been added to the cityscape, including the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and one of the world’s largest shopping malls, The Dubai Mall.

The past ten years have also seen the establishment of a major fixture in the global golf calendar: the DP World Tour Championship, the climax of the European Tour Race to Dubai, played on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Visitors drawn by Dubai’s myriad leisure and retail opportunities are joined by golf tourists from all over the world. And the financial benefits of this influx of golfers and golf fans to Dubai can be considerable. The estimated direct and indirect economic impact of golf tourism in Dubai alone is $131m. In 2017, more than 60,000 golfers visited the UAE, of whom nearly two-thirds stayed and played in Dubai. The annual gross expenditure on golf in the emirate was $270m, which amounts to a quarter of total sports expenditure. Dubai’s golf clubs are at the heart of the industry, with some 410,000 rounds played annually across 12 separate courses at nine different clubs.

Almost $80m of the economic impact of golf per annum in Dubai is attributable to professional events, including the DP World Tour Championship, which attracts more than 60,000 local, regional and international visitors.

As DP World Group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem says, “The DP World Tour Championship is an event of enormous significance for Dubai and the UAE and reinforces our position on the calendar of international sport and as a centre for both tourism and trade.”

DP World began life as a local port operator back in 1972 and has since become one of the leading players in global trade. Its innovative approach to supply chain logistics has enabled the delivery of the many raw materials that have built modern-day Dubai. To this day, DP World continues to facilitate the flow of goods from all over the world that are then sold in the city’s shops and restaurants. At the same time, its support of the DP World Tour Championship continues to attract tens of thousands of tourists who contribute to this cyclical model as they enjoy the first-class leisure and retail opportunities that Dubai has to offer.

Innovation is a vital strand of DP World’s DNA. It can be seen at Terminal 3 at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, for example, which provides market access to more than 2bn people. With its array of automated quay cranes operated from a state-of-the-art operations building, Terminal 3 sets a new benchmark for modern container terminals and is fully equipped to meet the requirements of the new generation of mega container vessels. Here is the essence of smart global trade: making the transport of goods faster, more controllable, more sustainable and more cost-efficient thanks to groundbreaking developments in infrastructure and digital technology. This is the bedrock on which Dubai’s modern society has been built and continues to develop.

Transferring the mindset it applies to logistics to the world of golf, DP World is now working with key European Tour partners such as Emirates Airlines, strategic advisors Falcon and Associates, and Dubai Golf to explore innovative ways to grow sports tourism in an increasingly competitive global market.

The partners are working together to create a digital platform that will make it easier and cheaper to book golf holidays in Dubai. The platform will effectively be a one-stop shop for travel, accommodation, leisure activities, restaurants and, of course, golf. The aim is to ensure that the economic benefits of golf tourism are seen throughout the year and not just around major events.

“DP World is a very important partner in this,” says Chris May, CEO of Dubai Golf. “It’s committed to digital innovation in the supply chain and it’s bringing that expertise to our working group."

The concept of “flow” is deeply rooted in the DP World mantra as it looks to make trade faster and simpler by driving efficiencies in global logistics. Successful partnerships are key to this—as demonstrated by the way it approaches both its core business and its sponsorship platforms. The company knows that its prosperity is closely linked to that of Dubai—and vice versa. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that looks set to grow ever stronger in the years ahead.

Produced by (E) BrandConnect, a commercial division of The Economist Group, which operates separately from the editorial staffs of The Economist and The Economist Intelligence Unit. Neither (E) BrandConnect nor its affiliates accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any party on this content.