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Dubai plans to grow creative economy by 25%

  • Dubai Culture and Arts Authority boss expects influx of creative jobs
  • Emirate tops ranking for foreign direct investment in creative industries
  • UAE introduced Cultural Visa last year to help attract talent

Dubai’s creative economy is expected to experience steady growth over the next few years, with the sector reaching 140,000 jobs by 2026, up from 90,000 in 2020.

The GDP contribution target for the industry is set at 5 percent. This is up from the current 4 percent for creative industries including the arts, culture, music, films, gaming and media.

“There will be a lot of demand in the future, especially with the museums coming up,” said Hala Badri, director general of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, in a video interview with AGBI.

“We need to bring on board both local and global talent.”  

The UAE introduced the Cultural Visa last year to help attract overseas talent.

It grants a 10-year golden visa to artists, singers, curators, dancers, musicians and performers. 

Dubai creative sectorDubai Media Office
Hala Badri, director general of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority

“A lot of the creative economy jobs are built on short periods of work,” said Badri.

“So we look after freelancers as well. We found that artists prefer short contracts as it allows them to be entrepreneurial as creatives.

“They want to strike a balance between having a stable income for nine months and doing their own thing for the remaining three months of the year.”

With 451 new projects in 2022, Dubai ranked first in the world in attracting foreign direct investment projects in the cultural and creative industries, according to the Dubai FDI Monitor report, compiled by the emirate’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

This represents an increase of 107.7 percent, surpassing cities such as London, Singapore, Paris and Berlin.