The International Automobile show
Expo Centre Sharjah has notched up extraordinary growth in 2011, successfully steering clear of regional geo-political tensions and making the most of the shift in trade balance in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis.
The exhibition wing of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry registered an impressive 29 per cent rise in the number of exhibitors in 2011 in comparison to the previous year, while seeing a double-digit rise in the number of visitors and exhibition space sold.
The total number of exhibitors at 20 trade and consumer shows was in excess of 2,000, with visitors breaking the 600,000 mark.
“Intra-Arab trade was affected last year and the concerns raised by the eurozone crisis were serious. The success of our exhibitions showed that we successfully managed to convert the challenges into opportunities. Our optimism was so high that we even launched three new shows that managed to make an impact in their respective industries,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah.
According to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade figures, the Arab Spring has slowed the UAE’s trade with the five countries affected by the unrest. There was a 32 per cent decline in trade in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. However, UAE’s direct trade is experiencing steady growth and expansion in new markets has helped offset this, the ministry said.
“Consistently high oil prices have helped Gulf hydrocarbon producers to stage a fast recovery from the repercussions of the 2008 global fiscal distress and the eurozone crisis. Besides, owing to the unrest in several regional countries, the UAE has become a safe haven for investors,” he added.
“We have also noticed a shift in trade to Asia from the West and we have been fast to grab the opportunities arising out of change. A prime example for this is our tie-up with the All-India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association to bring Plastivision India, the world’s fifth largest trade show of its kind, to Sharjah,” said Mr Midfa.
The debut edition of Plastivision Arabia, scheduled to be held along with another launch show ArabiaMold at Expo Centre Sharjah from May 14 to 17, will be among several other high-profile new shows planned for 2012.
The three shows that were launched in 2011 included Parfam, a dedicated showcase for perfumes and fragrances; the Middle East Motor Tuning Show; and Green Middle East, the environmental management and technology exhibition and conference.
“The launch of the three new shows helped us to cover a wide range of industries and expand our target markets and reach in a big way. With non-oil trade projected to see a healthy growth and a major budget allocation to boost infrastructure projects, we are planning to expand the scope of existing shows, launch several new fairs and increase our exhibition facilities,” said Mr Midfa.
“Our tie-ups with several regional and international industry bodies and exhibitions agencies have also started paying rich dividends in the form of rising number of exhibitors and visitors. This trend is set to continue as Expo Centre Sharjah spreads its wings to newer markets and regions,” he added.
Some of the leading shows organized and hosted by Expo Centre Sharjah in 2011 include Steelfab, National Career Exhibition, Perfect Wedding Show, Mideast Watch & Jewellery Show, Ramadan & Eid Fair, International Education Show, Thermal Industry Middle East, Gulf Maritime, International Automobile Show, and Chinese Commodities Fair Sharjah, among others.