WASHINGTON: Hill & Knowlton is expected to sign a one-year, $3 million contract from the Dubai government to promote the country as a welcoming, tax-free place to do business, a reliable global trading partner, and a tourist destination.
H&K declined to comment by press time, but multiple sources confirmed that the firm beat several other agencies said to have been in the running for the deal, including Bell Pottinger, Burson-Marsteller, APCO, and Edelman.
An advisory board of high-profile Dubai officials, including the head of Emirates Airlines, oversaw the selection process for the contract, which is still being negotiated, according to sources close to the deal. The new PR effort's rollout is expected to begin early next year.
The RFP outlines three main objectives: consolidation of Dubai's position as a reliable global trading partner and international tourist destination; mitigation of "damage caused to the Emirates' brand and reputation through the recent DP World debacle"; and positioning of Dubai as a tax-free and progressive business environment in line with global best practices.
The contract includes an option for renewal and allocates an additional $2 million for third-party costs and expenses.