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The race is on and we mean business

The race is on and we mean business

Welcome back! It’s never felt so good to be able to say those words. After too long with little opportunity for gathering with friends and family, travelling, and (whisper it) going on holiday, it’s heartening to imagine many of us unpacking our suitcases after eagerly anticipated summer breaks, and in some cases the first real

Welcome back! It’s never felt so good to be able to say those words. After too long with little opportunity for gathering with friends and family, travelling, and (whisper it) going on holiday, it’s heartening to imagine many of us unpacking our suitcases after eagerly anticipated summer breaks, and in some cases the first real break in 18 months.

And although unfortunately not everybody who wished to do so will have been able to travel this summer, it is safe to say (we’ll permit ourselves to increase the decibels from a whisper) we are in a much better place now than we have been for a while, and things are moving in the right direction.

Wherever the summer has taken each of us, literally or metaphorically, I’m pleased to say that here at ITP Media Group we’ve hit the ground running, squarely back to business after the quieter, more restful summer period. There is a huge amount to look forward to this autumn: from landmark national celebrations to important brand milestones and new beginnings full of promise and possibility, to hundreds of live events boosting and reconnecting thousands across many sectors, industries, and brands.

Reasons to be hopeful as 2021 emerges from the shadow of the pandemic

There is a prevailing mood of optimism, even in sectors hard hit by coronavirus, specifically in the UAE and the GCC generally, writes Ali Akawi, CEO of ITP Media Group

After the dampening impact of 2020, it’s energising to see the growing momentum, creative verve, renewed business activity, and economic vitality that is coursing through many sectors.    I’ve every confidence that those of you spending at least a portion of your summer locally will have had occasion to browse the latest issues of Time Out Dubai, that playbook of inspiration and wise counsel which on the 26th of September will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary. In fact, this date will see us enjoying a double celebration: on Time Out Dubai’s 20th birthday, ITP Media Group will ring in the official launch of its newest brand, Time Out Riyadh.

In the twenty years since Time Out’s arrival in the region, Time Out Dubai has proven itself as the leading vehicle for pithy independent reviews, in addition to seeking out, discovering, and amplifying the best of what our city and its talents have to offer. Time Out Riyadh promises to do all this and more for that other evolving and exciting city. Watch this space for more.

These milestones, while substantial in themselves, are set against the backdrop of even more comprehensive triumphs and achievements. The UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year: 50 years since the nation embarked on its steadfast course of development, progress, and prosperity. The pace of change in the last 20 years, let alone 50, has been astounding by any measure.

ITP Media Group has been privileged not just to witness, but to contribute to the notable and far-reaching innovation that is a hallmark of our nation. There is every reason to have confidence that these trends are set to continue, and even accelerate, in years to come.

More immediately, we are on the brink of the Expo 2020 Dubai, delayed by a year but finely poised now to make its long-awaited start on the 1st of October. It is fitting that the iconic world expo will help to mark the UAE’s extraordinary journey and accomplishments thus far.

Mirroring what the UAE has proven itself to do so remarkably well, the Expo is the creative catalyst par excellence, connecting diverse people and brilliant ideas from across the world, and showcasing the seemingly boundless ingenuity and resourcefulness of our international community. Over a full six months, the Expo 2020 Dubai will generate a wealth of opportunities and activations for business and enterprise, again reflecting what our nation does so exceedingly well.

So, what will the next 50 years look like? For all of us, commercially and personally, it is excellent to know that the vision for the UAE remains one in which innovation and creativity are hailed and rewarded. Not only are we collectively encouraged to double down on efforts to generate novel ideas and quality initiatives: this is being effectively facilitated.

Many structural, cultural, and legal developments are underway that will work to support the dawning of an even brighter, more prosperous next half-century.

Right here and now, we continue to find ourselves in a highly attractive and fulfilling place to live, do business, and create opportunities for all. We see plenty of evidence of that in the 100+ live events, from the large-scale to the more intimate, that ITP Media Group will be hosting this year, as usual, from September through to December.

Coming up first, the Commercial Interior Design (CID) Awards, now in its 15th year, will bring together over 1000 interior design professionals and all the leading brands, in an extravaganza of professional recognition and activations, amid unsurpassed networking opportunities and spectacular hospitality and entertainment.

Many other events and awards programmes will follow in quick succession, including Time Out Dubai’s Nightlife Awards, Hotelier and Caterer Middle East Awards, Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Awards, GQ Men of the Year Awards, and the highly acclaimed Arabian Business Awards.

Each of our events is meticulously editorially curated, placing in the spotlight the most important companies, figures and brands in every sector

Each of these events are meticulously editorially curated, often over many months, placing in the spotlight the most important companies, figures, and brands in every business sector. The pent-up demand for this kind of in-person connectivity and celebration means that the entire team at ITP Media Group is working extremely hard, and I thank and congratulate them all on their expert and dedicated efforts.

All of this, and more, adds up to a simple but powerful message. Months and years of hard work are now bearing fruit, yielding riches fit to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

Correspondingly, our sights are set high, and we are looking only forward. With this, we aim to start 2022 having not just met, but beaten, our performance in 2019. Quite simply, we are not basing ourselves on 2020 any longer.

It is encouraging and inspiring to see so many other businesses and sectors also showing strong, robust recoveries and great ambition: after all, success breeds success, and we feel fortunate and proud to be part of these dynamic times. 

I like to imagine that we are at that point of a race where the best competitors are motivated to draw on all their reserves of energy for that final sprint to the finish line. These are often the most exhilarating and enthralling moments of a race, when participants’ heightened sense of focus and superior performance come together to create magic on and off the track.

That’s exactly where we are now. As we approach what is the most exciting and dynamic quarter of the year the game is well and truly on. We’re not just raring to go – we’re going at full throttle. We’re playing to win, and we’re relishing every moment. 


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