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Dubai looks towards 2003

Dubai prepares for the IMF/World Bank meetings in 2003 by building five-star hotels, new roads and upgrading the transport system.

Ibrahim Belsalah

Dubai has hosted several major international conferences and exhibitions but they have been comparatively minor events compared with the IMF/World Bank meetings, which are hosted by the United Arab Emirates in 2003.

With between 16,000 and 20,000 visitors expected to attend, a new five-star hotel is being completed every two months to ensure that there are enough rooms for the delegates and international press. Nearly all the leading chains are represented in Dubai, headed by the emirate's own management company, Jumeirah International..

Hotel managers say that they expect central bankers and the IMF officials to stay near the conference centre while the leading commercial bankers opt for suites in the beach resorts. The Dubai authorities have told the hotels that they cannot increase their normal prices to take advantage of any increase in demand. "We will create a bureau to manage reservations," says Ibrahim Belsalah, general co-ordinator for Dubai 2003.

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