Timothy Heath, Marketing, Events and Sponsorship Director - introducing his association


1. When was your association founded? 

May 19, 2014

2. Where is your association based, how many members do you have & in how many countries?

Our Headquarters is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with regional offices in Argentina, China, Dominican Republic, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Serbia and Spain. We have 565 members in 125 countries.

3. Who are your members?

Our members are Governmentally recognized Free Zones, Free Zone associations (local, subnational, national and regional); Individuals and Entities working in the Free Zone environment, or in support of Free Zones internationally; Government, Quasi-Government or Non-Government Organizations involved in the area of international trade and customs.

4. What is your mission & aim of the association?


World FZO’s vision is to have free zones recognized globally as a tool for development, economic prosperity and socio-economic sustainability.


World FZO's mission is to bring together free zones from all over the world and promote their positive impacts by providing guidance, knowledge and services to its members, so as to enhance free zones' contribution in the economic prosperity and social development of the host country.


We believe that free zones have an inherent obligation to deliver prosperity for their people. We believe this is best done by creating free zones that are commercially successful enterprises built on international best practice, economic sustainability and transparency. 

We value fairness, free markets, competition and innovation; values that we believe are key enablers of success, job creation and economic prosperity.

5. What are the major challenges facing your association?

  • Funding

  • Membership growth

  • Collection of data

  • Staffing and lack of volunteers

6. What kind of events are organised by your association?

  • Annual International Conference & Exhibition (AICE) hosted by a Free Zone and/or Free Zone Association member.

  • Annual Regional Conference & Exhibition hosted by our regional offices.

  • Training Courses

  • Personalized training programs directed at individual zones or zone associations and based on their requirements. 

7. What is the decision process behind the selection of a destination/venue?

  1. Interested entities must first submit an Expression of Interest to host an AICE. RFPs are distributed to all eligible candidates. Final Bids can only be submitted by a Free Zone or Free Zone Association Member and we never hold consecutive events in the same region.

  2. After careful site selection process and review of bids CEO and Events team submit report and recommendation to Board of three shortlisted candidates.

  3. The three candidates are invited to the next AICE to present final bid to Board Members. Board votes after presentations and winner is announced at end of General Assembly.

8. What does your association do in terms of legacy, do your meetings have a societal impact on the destination?

As we are only five years old, and still a small team, this has not been a priority for us at the moment. We have some ideas in mind but nothing that can be shared at the moment.

9. Are you looking to forge collaborations with other associations? If so in what areas of expertise?

As a number of regional associations for our industry existed before us, we have already worked hard to build relationships with them.

Of course, we are open to collaborations with other associations as well.  

For more information on World FZO please check their website: www.worldfzo.org