DUBAI: Emirates and Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore joint cooperation and initiatives targeted at attracting more investments into Dubai by supporting new and existing businesses registered or licenced in the free zone.

Under the MoU, the parties will explore opportunities to offer a number of travel-related incentives for new and existing SMEs and larger businesses, including potential enrolment in the airline’s Business Rewards programme.

The MoU was signed by Dina Al Herais, Emirates’ Vice President, Commercial Products, B2B Corporate & Leisure, and Ebtesam Ahmad Alkaabi, Head of Sales, Jafza Sales. The signing ceremony was also attended by Adil Al Ghaith, Senior Vice President, Gulf, Middle East & Central Asia, and Ahmad Al Haddad, Chief Operating Officer, Parks and Zones, DP World UAE.

Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer for Emirates Airline, said, "We are pleased to partner with Jafza to support Dubai’s efforts in cementing its leadership position as one of the world’s preferred investment destinations. Dubai’s vibrant business environment continues to gain momentum in attracting new companies and foreign firms, start-ups and talented entrepreneurs across a wide range of industries. Emirates has been a long-standing supporter of a number of initiatives targeted to support SMEs and innovative start-ups in our home base the UAE, and today’s signing with Jafza reinforces our commitment to help stimulate diverse economic activity in Dubai by providing companies with a range of highly competitive travel incentives so they can scale up their businesses both regionally and globally."

Ahmad Al Haddad, Chief Operating Officer, Parks and Zones, DP World UAE, said, "Since its inception, Dubai has built a reputation as a global business ecosystem. It is a magnet for entrepreneurs and investors worldwide owing to the strategic support of the government and private sector, which has led to an SME boom in the emirate. Today, they make up nearly 95 percent of all companies, employing 42 percent of the workforce and contributing around 40 percent to Dubai's GDP. Our partnership with Emirates focuses on boosting growth with new travel offerings to attract global investors and venture capitalists who can utilise the vast opportunities available here."

Emirates has a long track record of supporting SMEs, through its procurement of products and services in a range of industries. As a result, these businesses have benefitted from showcasing their products to a global travel audience. The airline has also been supporting Dubai and the wider UAE’s business community and innovation ecosystem, which today includes Intelak and Aviation X-lab, both incubator programmes in the UAE focused on future solutions for travel and aviation.

Emirates currently has over 20,000 SMEs enrolled in its Business Rewards programme and is providing a gamut of benefits including simplified enrolment, easier earning and redemptions, greater flexibility on retaining and using points in addition to upgrade opportunities.