Get to know one of the Middle East’s leading DMCs


Gulf Dunes is one of the first MICE DMCs in the Middle East with a remarkable legacy. How has it been taking over such an established organization and how do you plan to take it further?

Stepping into Gulf Dunes, a company that has shaped the Middle East’s MICE industry for nearly 29 years now, has been both humbling and exciting. Following the legacy of this organization, my focus has been twofold: understanding the core values that fueled their success and infusing a spirit of innovation for the future. I have led some of the largest DMCs and PCO organizations around the world, and was appointed as CEO of the World Tourism Forum Institute, all of which has equipped me with a nuanced grasp of industry dynamics and informed my strategic vision for Gulf Dunes’ growth.

The future demands growth and diversification. Therefore, we’re actively exploring new avenues beyond our traditional services, broadening our reach, forging strategic partnerships, and solidifying our global standing. My recent appointment as Deputy Chair of the ICCA Middle East board has been incredibly valuable for Gulf Dunes standing in the industry and aligns perfectly with this strategy. Leading Gulf Dunes is not just about preserving a legacy but enhancing it.


With so many options, what makes Gulf Dunes’ destinations stand out more than others?

With just a pinch of bias, I can safely say there are very few destinations around the world that provide the same quality of service, hospitality, infrastructure, cultural diversity, and world-class experiences that our destinations offer.

No matter what our client is looking for – culturally immersive incentive, conferences with sustainability at its core, or a once-in-a-lifetime ultra-luxury experience, our destinations deliver on all fronts.  Additionally, our destinations with their central location between the eastern and western hemisphere, have become a hub for some of the world’s largest events, such as the Formula 1, UFC, Golf Tournaments, FIFA World Cup and the World Expo. The rate at which our destinations are developing is truly staggering and leaves us with endless possibilities for corporate programs that we can develop for our clients.


Gulf Dunes recently created a new sub-division, GD+. Can you elaborate on this strategic move?

The creation of GD+ marks a strategic expansion of Gulf Dunes’ service offerings. As a MICE company, we recognized the growing demand for Professional Congress Organizer services in the industry. GD+ allows us to provide a comprehensive suite of services, from venue management to AV services, speaker communication program co-creation and more.

Building on our track record of delivering successful large-scale events, we entered the PCO space, managing events for large-scale industry associations that have so far included Nuerosurgical Healthcare conferences where we have brought in 81 speakers from 36 countries, government-backed financial marketplace events that brought in 650 high-level delegates and over 15 event sponsors, and international SaaS industry events. This strategic move not only complements our existing services but also positions Gulf Dunes as a one-stop solution for our clients’ MICE needs.


Can you share your vision of the evolution of the industry and how Gulf Dunes will play a role in it?

The MICE industry is undergoing a fascinating transformation. Sustainability is no longer a nicety but a key differentiator. Thankfully, destinations in the Middle East are leading the charge, implementing stricter mandates for eco-conscious events. This aligns perfectly with Gulf Dunes’ vision for the future as we’re committed to incorporating sustainable practices throughout our event lifecycles. Furthermore, by incorporating cutting-edge technology, we can elevate these experiences even further. Robust delegate systems, interactive exhibits, real-time data visualization, and seamless event platforms all contribute to a richer, more engaging, and sustainable experience for attendees.

One fascinating area where the industry is headed towards is experiential tourism. No longer is it fashionable for visitors to just tick boxes of the places they visit, as they seek out truly immersive experiences that leave them with a profound sense of discovery and learning through their journey. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Jordan offer these experiences in spades with a rich history, heritage and culture unlike anywhere else in the world and are actively elevating the global cultural discourse with monuments dedicated to openess and understanding between people of all backgrounds and identities, such as the Abrahamic House and The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

With our deep-rooted knowledge of our destinations, we are perfectly positioned to curate these transformative experiences. Through innovation, diversification, and strategic expansion, we aim to remain at the forefront of exceptional MICE experiences. Our goal is to set the standard for exceptionally innovative MICE experiences by leveraging the flourishing offerings across our destinations.

Meet Sumaira Isaacs at IMEX Frankfurt under the Abu Dhabi Conventions & Exhibitions Bureau Stand, where Gulf Dunes will be participating. You can also find Sumaira hosting one of the many talk sessions at the ICCA Global Business Exchange Program on May 13th.