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01 March 2024

Dubai invested Dh100 million on Smart Gates

GDRFA officials at the announcement of the conference. (Supplied)

By Staff

Dubai will host an international conference on the ‘Future of Borders’ from March 11 to 12, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dubai International Financial Centre.
The conference, through five sessions spanned over two days, will provide valuable insights into the future travel trends, the enlarged responsibilities of border control authorities and the challenges they face in handling the huge increase in passengers’ numbers in the coming years.
This event is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
The aim of the conference is to come up with the best formula to achieve a balance between the need to strengthen the security in the face of growing threats and risks and accelerate travel facilitation while maintaining high quality services provided to travellers.
Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) which is hosting the conference, said: “The conference will pave the way for all stakeholders to develop not only borders industry, but also the travel and tourism industries and keep the momentum of cooperation and collaboration among them to implement the growth and expansion plans smoothly in line with the changing times.”
Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director General, GDRFA-Dubai, said: “The conference provides an ideal platform to present UAE’s successful borders management experiment and its expertise in harnessing the latest technologies, smart gates, smart travel solutions and biometric devices to accelerate and facilitate travel.”
The conference’s agenda is focused on sharing information,  knowledge and best practices in managing  borders control, the role of advanced technology and travel smart solutions and the importance of intensifying international cooperation among all the stakeholders in borders, travel and tourism domains.
Thani Alzaffin, Director General & Board Member of emaratech, the exclusive host sponsor of the conference, said: “The conference will work towards devising a roadmap for the “intelligent travel” concepts that GDRFAD and emaratech are engineering to play a leading role in shaping the future of the industry and enrich travel experiences.”
He added: “The immense knowledge and success stories that emaratech has engineered in the border access and control systems locally and regionally will be the highlight of the conference. We will also launch a new device during the conference. It is vital for all of us to gain and share insights into how technological revolutions will transform the travel experience in the near future.”
Badr Abbas, Vice President for Commercial Operations for UAE and Oman at Emirates Airline, said: “Emirates has a strong strategic relationship with GDRFA-Dubai and Dubai Airports. This relationship has become closer after the installation of e-Gates for Emirates pilots and crew in 2008 which has helped immensely in facilitating the completion of their departure and arrival procedures seamlessly. The relationships solidified with the installation of smart gates in Terminal 3 for the Emirates’ flights.”
He added: “The aviation sector has witnessed tremendous development in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular during the past few years and contributes 27 per cent to Dubai’s GDP. It also increased the number of visitors to Dubai and users of the airports. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the GDRFA-D for their efforts to facilitate the movement of passengers and we are pleased to continue our close cooperation as the official carrier for the conference.”

Ali Obaid Al Hamli, Director of News Center, Dubai Media Inc. (DMI), the official media organization of the Dubai government, said: “The partnership for the conference is in line with the DMI strategy and comes within the framework of supporting and encouraging initiatives that contributes to community service activities and highlights the development of the UAE in various domains and joint efforts of various government organizations in Dubai. 
He added: “It is our conviction that media plays a large and vital role in educating the community and in the maintenance of security of ports and borders. Coordination and cooperation among all the stakeholders will contribute towards maintaining the highest international standing that the UAE enjoys. Sama Dubai TV channel will cover the conference in details for the benefit of all the sections of the society and industries.”  
Over 24 globally-renowned experts from 12 countries and international organizations will take part in the conference.
The speakers include Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General, GDRFA-Dubai, Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, GDRFA-Dubai Deputy Director General, Thani Alzaffin, Director General and Board Member, emaratech, Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports, Lieutenant-General Dr. Hans Leijtens, General Director Royal Marechaussee, the Netherlands, Eric Chan Kwok- Ki, Director of Immigration, Hong Kong, Angela Gittens, Director General, Airports Council International, Paul Moultrie, Head of Marketing, Middle East and North Africa, Airbus and Jung June Ahn, Executive Director, Public Relations Group, Incheon Airport.
Speakers will provide insights into number important issues including ID thefts, forged documents and the role of smart gates, e-Passports and biometric devices in enhancing the security and accelerating the travel facilitation.
The conference provides an ideal platform for participants to gain insights into the emerging threats, challenges and risks facing the borders industry and share and benefit from best practices in managing the borders effectively through the optimized use of available resources and capabilities.
More than 500 delegates are expected to attend the conference, including a large number of Interior ministers, heads of border control authorities, airlines CEOs, airports operators and representatives of international organizations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Airports Council International (ACI).
Tasked with regulating the entry and exit of travelers to the United Arab Emirates through land, sea and air routes of the Emirate of Dubai, GDRFA-Dubai immensely contributes to achieving UAE’s Ministry of Interior’s vision of making the UAE one of the safest and most secure countries in the world.
GDRFA-Dubai has remained in the forefront of Smart Government initiative and introduced a slew of technology-driven initiatives designed for smooth and seamless facilitation of travelers at airports, sea ports and land crossings. It has to its credit several unique projects like M-visa, smart gates and online services for individuals and corporate entities.
An investment of more than AED100 million has been made toward the Smart Gates initiative at the Dubai International Airport.  The GDRFA-Dubai is presently working on implementing the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) in Dubai.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates, the number of air passengers globally will rise to more than four billion by 2017. Airports in the Gulf alone will receive about 450 million passengers by 2020.
The number of passengers through Dubai airport will rise to more than 100 million by 2020, up from 71 million in 2014. Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central (DWC) is projected to handle over 200 million people annually next decade.
DCAA forecasts aircraft movements for both airports, Dubai International and Al Maktoum International, rising to 665,000 in 2020, bringing in millions of passengers annually.
By 2020, as Dubai expects to welcome over 20 million tourists for Expo 2020, it is estimated that Emirates Airlines will fly 70 million passengers, Oxford Economics said.

It said overall, Dubai had direct passenger flight connections to 149 cities with populations of over one million people, creating potential export markets of over 916 million people, or 13 per cent of the world’s population.
The exponential rise in the number of air travelers worldwide is driving policy to make efforts to ensure smooth and seamless travel experience at airports and other border points.