UAE becomes expo hub

DUBAI - THE UAE in general and Dubai in particular today recognised as a major business and commercial hub in the Middle East.

By Moushumi Das Chaudhury

Published: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 10:34 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:13 PM

Taking advantage of this, the region recorded remarkable success in recent times by luring the international investors, reputable firms, leading brands and other notable regional companies to host their meetings, exhibitions, conventions and events in this part of the region.

Today, meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition centre (MICE) has become a major component of the UAE's business and tourism expansion plans.

Dubai alone hosts an average of 85 major international exhibitions and Sharjah organises more than 20 expo every year, making conferences, seminars and events the region's most high-profile sector.

According to market analysts, the exhibition industry generates nearly $1.5 billion of Dubai’s total GDP. This figure represents the direct expenditure of trade visitors and exhibitors attending exhibitions and conferences in Dubai.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors and exhibitors fuel demand for hotel accommodations, restaurant services, transportation and other related services.

Guy Guillemard, Marketing Director of The Domus Group, organisers of Arablab, Dubai Property Show and The Media and Marketing Show told Khaleej Times: “Exhibitions are a proven marketing tool because in every major purchase or decision or representation agreement, people want to meet and get too know each other. Only at exhibitions can we use all our senses and move towards decisions."

"We can see, touch, hear and try products besides putting queries to have better understanding. It's time effective. It's cost effective and that is why exhibitions are growing stronger," he observed.

UAE with its excellent infrastructure, hotels and conference facilities and its regional and global gateway position is an ideal location for international conferences, conventions and corporate meetings.

This is more exemplified by Dubai International Conference Centre's (DICC) winning bid for the hosting of the International Advertising Association's fortieth world congress in 2006. (Unsuccessful bids came from Miami, Bucharest and Sydney.)

The hosting of the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund was a tribute to the UAE's success in identifying and exploiting to the full an immensely valuable economic niche.

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi International Exhibitions Centre (ADIEC), Abu Dhabi's new multi-purpose exhibition area, has greatly facilitated the staging of major exhibitions in the capital.

The centre, owned and operated by the General Exhibitions Corporation provides 21,500 square metres of flexible interior space with all the services expected from a modern international exhibition centre. The International Exhibition of Interiors and Furnishings (IFEX 2003) generated multi-million dirham deals and a 70 per cent increase in bookings for 2005, according to a report.

Some of the most important international exhibitions in the Gulf are held here, including IDEX, a major biennial International Defence Exhibition, ADIPEC, the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, ADIF, MIDCOM, the International Telecommunications Exhibition and the Building Forum, which covers building and construction, decoration, overseas property and city infrastructure development.

Idex, is now acknowledged as the largest defence and security exhibition in the world as in 2003, 75 per cent of Idex's 2005 exhibition space was booked out and the UAE itself had concluded defence deals valued at Dh1.6 billion.

Abu Dhabi's General Exhibitions Corporation(GEC) is strategically converting smaller shows into medium size and medium size into large size with an overall aim to have more large-size events.

A new biennial International Conference and Exhibition For Roads, RODEX, which was held for the first time in 2004, attracted a considerable number of national and international companies, government and private agencies. It showcased the roads industry in the area and acting as a business and research venue for this vital sector.

Dubai: Since the last one decade, Dubai has also made huge investments in its conference centres, exhibition halls and other facilities like telecommunication and airports to position itself as a world-class conference and events venue.

The expansion of the Dubai International Airport, Dubai International Conference and Convention Centre, Airport Expo Centre, pro-business climate, high tech security has made Dubai as the preferred round the year international MICE destination.

According to Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC): “Big business houses, corporate and major banks have found Dubai to be the ideal platform to reach this burgeoning and high spending market and this reflects in the kind of events that the DWTC attracts.’’

Statistics reveal that the number of exhibitions held in DWTC and Airport Expo Dubai have increased from 41 in 1999 to 70 in 2004. The number of exhibitors increased from 1,477 to 2,422 during the same period.

According to Khalid bin Sulayem, Director-General of DTCM, “Dubai has secured its position as the preferred international MICE destination. Helped by its strategic location and proximity to the Indian sub-continent, Iran and CIS countries, Dubai's exhibitions industry has grown leaps and bounds and now plays a major role in attracting business and leisure tourists from key markets. The booming exhibition sector is a major factor in achieving the ambitious growth levels set for the emirate's tourism industry."

The emirate is gearing to host large events such Gitex, the largest IT exhibition in the region and the Big 5 for the construction industry, Dubai Air Show, Motexha, Index, the Motor Show in months to come. Apart from these major exhibitions, Dubai’s hotels and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce will also host several seminars, conferences and meetings.

The Dubai International Convention Centre (DICC) and its multipurpose auditorium (capacity 600-6000), which is large enough overall to accommodate events the size of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and lMF is complemented by a variety of onsite accommodation options.

The range and the flexibility of DWTC's interlinked facilities makes it a leading exhibition and conference centre not only in the region, but in the world.

The success is attributed to a robust property market, growth in retail sector, excellent tourism infrastructure and high oil prices.

Sharjah: Sharjah, which pioneered the exhibition industry in the Gulf with the establishment of an Expo Centre in 1977, continues to expand its capabilities with the construction of the Dh567 million Sharjah World Trade Centre and the 52-storey, 504-metre-high tower is to be built on a man-made island and will be connected to the newly-built Sharjah Expo Centre by a bridge.

Fasahat Ali Khan, acting director Expo Centre, Sharjah told Khaleej Times: “Sharjah Expo Centre is a versatile venue allowing for the hosting of a range of innovative events and today hosts over 20 exhibitions a year. Due to various events and exhibitions, the hospitality and tourism industry in Sharjah generated Dh150 million revenues and achieved 25 per cent growth during this period."

Regarding the success of the MICE segment, he said: “The UAE offers tax free benefits, free economy and superior infrastructure, including hotels airports, roads, telecommunication. Moreover, the UAE is the region's supermarket with huge purchasing facilities for markets like Iran and Iraq."

Among other significant exhibitions are Texpo, the international trade exhibition related to garment machinery, textiles and accessories, the Mideast Watch and Jewellery Spring and Autumn Shows, a biannual international exhibition showcasing the latest designs and trends in watches, jewellery, gold, precious stones, gems and diamonds, The International Food Fair, the international trade fair for food products, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Arab Federation for Food Industries among others.

Ajman: Ajman International Exhibition Centre, occupying an area of 22,000 square metres, is designed to carry out complementary activities to those conducted by the other exhibition centres in the UAE, further supporting rapid economic development in the country and creating facilities for promoting local industries worldwide.

Fujairah: Fujairah Exhibition Centre, inaugurated in 1996, comprises three major exhibition halls, management offices and service utilities in a 1,080-square-metre space, as well as an outdoor display area. A number of internationally important exhibitions have been held at the Centre since its establishment.

Fujairah International Show 2003, a three-week event staged by the Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, attracted more than 150 countries showing a wide range of the latest consumer goods. Visitors to the trade fair numbered in excess of 20,000.

Ras Al-Khaimah: Inaugurated in 1996, Ras Al-Khaimah Exhibition Centre, a 57,400-square-metre complex located in the Al Nakheel area close to the active business centre, hosts a number of exhibitions.

The Ras Al Khaimah Exhibition Centre covering 37,000 square metres complexes and located in the Al Nakheel Area hosts various events such as the RAK Motor Show, Indian Products Exhibition, the RAK Summer Festival among others.

The MICE sector, riding on the current boom, is emerging as an ideal showcase for the UAE's thriving domestic business environment.

The UAE, strategically between East and West and linked by over 120 airlines offers the global real estate industry the glamour of Cannes, the business-focus of Hong Kong, hotel resorts that compare with Hawaii and exceptional opportunities for making sales and attracting outward and inward investment.

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