Dubai 'top expo destination'
Dubai, February 3, 2008
Dubai is the foremost exhibition destination in the Middle East and Africa, spearheading a regional sector with annual revenues of Dh12 billion ($3.37 billion), according to data gathered from the CEOs of biggest event management companies.
They were in the Dubai for the inaugural Middle East edition of the International CEO Forum (ICF), an annual, invitation-only event – supported by Dubai World Trade Centre.
It was the first time that the forum was held outside of Europe, drawing the highest turnout of delegates.
Research presented at the ICF suggests that enlightened leadership, an enabling business environment and ongoing investment in support infrastructure are three of the major factors that have helped to position Dubai at the forefront of the global events and exhibitions industry.
“The International CEO Forum has traditionally been the most important meeting of minds in the events industry. Dubai provided an ideal venue to host this year’s event, because the city is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most important venues for exhibitions,” said PRM Smulders, organiser of the ICF.
Discussions at the forum focused on the key issues of attracting the optimum number and right calibre of visitors to ensure the success of a trade exhibition. Globally, this is proving to be a challenge for the industry, given the high volume of alternative business networking channels available and the growing “time poverty” of executives and consumers.
However, Dubai has successfully avoided this trend to date, registering record double digit visitor growth across many of its leading events in 2007.
“One of the major drivers of success in the events sector is the strength of the underlying economy. Dubai is seeing significant expansion of the non-oil sector, as well as a large surplus created by the rise in oil prices, all of which stimulate trade and creates new business opportunities,” said Roger Martin-Fagg of Henley Management College, an economist who spoke at the event.
Another factor is the global interest in networking with UAE’s wealth fund managers. “Dubai entities control a significant proportion of the $2.9 trillion funds available worldwide for investment. This creates huge demand for spaces at events, particularly those that offer the potential to network with the companies that manage these funds,” he added.
“The overwhelming support we received from delegates at the forum was intensely gratifying. We have received very positive feedback on our role as hosts of the debut Middle East edition of the ICF and there has been tremendous widespread interest in our future plans for growth,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general, DWTC.
Delegates also discussed the general shift in audience profile, experienced by the industry world-wide. Today, many events are moving from an exclusively trade only, business-to-business customer profile, to offering an interactive global platform for both business and consumer visitors, attracting larger crowds and providing enhanced business opportunities.-TradeArabia News Service