DUBAI, UAE, November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Dan Jones, Lead Partner of the Sports Business Group, Deloitte UK, explains why Dubai is such a successful hub for a multitude of sports, after the consultancy issued a new study assessing the economic impact of sport in the emirate.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151126/291241 )
Vision: What do you think makes Dubai such a good sporting hub?
Dan Jones: Dubai's geographic location is fantastic; it's a natural and incredibly accessible connecting point at the centre of the world. The fantastic climate makes it great for warm-weather training during Europe's off-season. And its phenomenal facilities - hotels, conference venues and so on - mean that not only from a participation side, but also from a management side, it's a great meeting place for people to come together and be hosted.
V: To what extent is the cosmopolitan 'melting pot' of nationalities a key factor in Dubai's growth in sports?
DJ: It's incredibly important. When you have 200 nationalities present in a city of this size, what's the common language, what connects them, brings them together? Sport is fantastic in this respect - it lets people watch together, play together… Dubai is fantastically well positioned in that way; people can arrive here and feel at home very quickly.
V: Which observations from the report would you say are the most surprising?
DJ: Probably the most surprising was the longevity of some of the sporting events. The Rugby Sevens has taken place since 1970 - just one year before the UAE was established in 1971. Also, the scale of the industry in terms of employment; 14,500 full-time equivalent employees, which is a very comparable employed population to what we have in the UK. I guess that would surprise some people - they see Dubai as very new to sport, but actually a solid infrastructure already exists.
V: The report states that sport is "well ingrained" into Dubai's economy, yet it only accounts for around 0.8 per cent of Dubai's GDP. Do you see that changing?
DJ: You could look at sport and say "well it's only 1 per cent of the economy" or "it's less than 1 per cent of employment - why's it so important?" but the great thing about sport is that it captures people's imaginations, it connects people and it gets attention way beyond anything else in that other 99%.