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Dubai to be capital of creative economy

New strategy aims to double the contribution of creative industries to city’s GDP


The Dubai Creative Economy Strategy, launched in April 2021, aims to double the contribution of creative industries to GDP to 5% by 2025, from 2.6% at the end of 2020.

The new strategy seeks to more than double the number of creative companies based in Dubai from 8,300 to 15,000 within the next five years, and more than double the number of creators based in the city, from 70,000 to 140,000.

To achieve its goals, the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy includes upgrading the legal and investment environment needed to spur the growth and prosperity of creative industries in Dubai, to enhance the city’s attractiveness to creators, investors, and entrepreneurs as well as local and global investments in creative industries. This will contribute to transforming Dubai into a global capital for the creative economy.

The concept of a creative economy covers broad and varied fields including publishing, writing, audio-visual and print media such as cinema, music and video, as well as artistic and cultural industries, cultural heritage museums, historical sites, archives, major cultural events, libraries, and the software and videogame industry. It also includes design in all of its many variations, whether related to fashion, gaming, software, or architecture – those industries where creative minds can produce new and exciting concepts.

The Dubai Creative Economy Strategy is an integrated initiative that aims to develop the creative industries sustainably by rolling out the requisite legislative, investment, and technical frameworks to support and catalyze the vast and expanding creative community in Dubai.

A number of flexible packages, incentives, and advanced creative incubators will be provided to maintain pace with the rapid technological developments shaping the world. By harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Dubai aims to enrich the creative industries’ ability to enhance its competitiveness in local and global markets.

The strategy is being implemented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) in cooperation with a number of strategic partners such as Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality, Dubai Economy, and Wasl Asset Management Group, with the aim of galvanizing new levels of productivity from Dubai’s creative economy.

The strategy focuses on providing a suitable and stimulating climate for creatives to generate added economic value to their creativity, by integrating creativity with capital investment opportunities with good returns, thus enhancing Dubai’s position as a global destination for culture and creativity, while also fortifying its role as a global engine of the world’s creative economy. It will also contribute significantly to diversifying and accelerating an economy based on knowledge, innovation, and creativity.

The strategy will see the launch of an integrated zone in Dubai for creative individuals that provides the requisite components for developing a world-class creative sector that enables and empowers talent to compete on the global stage.

It will include the launch of the Creative Economy Classification and Measurement Framework, a new tool that will allow Dubai to measure the scale and impact of its creative economy beyond GDP contribution. It will enable Dubai to take its "creative pulse".

Dubai began the process of expanding the creative economy decades ago with the establishment of expansive and sophisticated creative complexes in various sectors, such as Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Design District, which together saw the creative economy contribute 2.6% to Dubai’s GDP by the end of 2020.

Globally, the creative economy is witnessing an unprecedented boom. Global revenues have reached a total of USD 2.25 trillion, representing 10% of global GDP and creating 30 million jobs. There is enormous potential for this sector for the years ahead, and it’s at the epicenter of Dubai’s plans for building a resilient, agile, and sustainable economy.