Blockbuster show Gulfood starts the year off with record numbers, and continued growth forecasted for Dubai’s events industry in 2011
Latest figures announced by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the region’s leading venue operator and events’ organiser, revealed a record 14% surge in visitors to exhibitions, conventions and conferences at its venues during 2010. A solid 5% growth in exhibitor attendance over 2009 validated the growing relevance of Trade Shows to global economic revival and sector stability.
During 2010, DWTC delivered one of the world’s most successful platforms for international businesses to interact with regional markets, bringing together approximately 1,415,000 visitors from over 155 countries with 32,781 exhibiting companies from over 85 countries, enabling the Events Industry to remain a key contributor to Dubai’s economy.
Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre said: “The significant double-digit growth in visitor volumes and the increase in international exhibitor participation make two very strong statements - the business community continues to believe in the growth potential of the Region; and clearly sees Dubai as the ‘hub’ that will enable their business to leverage regional growth. Combining leading infrastructure with integrated logistics and servicing capabilities, DWTC has warranted this level of continued global confidence as our performance demonstrates the tangible ‘networking’ value that Dubai can deliver to our international, regional and local audiences.”
“DWTC venues continue to attract leading business houses, manufacturing companies and trade professionals from around the world that seek to leverage Dubai’s growing relevance as the global gateway to access the region’s largest buyers and niche market players. Participating businesses have witnessed strong returns enabling sector specific trade shows and conferences to register substantial growth, and as a facilitator of this forum, we are pleased to be able to play a contributing role in supporting sector stability and broader economic development for Dubai and the Middle East.”
DWTC delivered a strong and well diversified calendar of events in 2010. In healthcare alone, the venue hosted a total of 13 shows, attracting over 133,000 of the world’s leading healthcare professionals to Dubai, highlighting the growing focus on pharmaceuticals, medical research and health related technology in the Middle East. The calendar also showcased an impressive line-up of shows covering Education, Aviation, ICT (Information & Communication Technology), Construction, Food, Trade & Logistics, emphasizing the relevance of these industry sectors for the regional and global economy.
DWTC’s internally organized exhibitions portfolio posted particularly encouraging results, starting 2010 with Gulfood, the region’s mega show for the food and hospitality sector recording a 22% growth in visitor numbers over 2009. A total of 3,500 exhibitors and 55,379 visitors from over 153 countries attended the four-day culinary showcase, providing companies with the opportunity to network and exhibit the latest trends within the food and beverage manufacturing and catering service industries.
During the second half of the year, GITEX Technology Week, one of the world's top-3 ICT shows, celebrated its 30thanniversary in 2010 providing the launch platform for some of the most exciting sector innovations in cutting edge technology, concepts and strategies. The Anniversary Edition surpassed all industry expectations delivering an unrivalled opportunity for new business, bringing together an impressive 136,114 ICT professionals and 3,500 regional and global exhibitors. Its consumer counterpart at Dubai’s Airport Expo venue, GITEX Shopper, attracted a record 166,521 buyers - 11% increase over 2009, drawing AED 175 million in sales - an impressive 40% increase for the region’s largest consumer IT and electronics B2C event.
DWTC’s Dubai International Boat Show, remained firmly positioned as the region’s leading leisure marine exhibition, as 700 companies leveraged the event as their forum to connect with international and regional manufacturers and distributors, The show saw 15 global launches and 25 regional premiers, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in deals made at the event, indicating positive consumer sentiment and improved outlook for luxury consumption within the region.
Other leading shows in 2010 included Arab Health, which reported a 20% increase in exhibitor and visitor volumes over 2009. With a record 66,000 visitors and over 2,600 exhibitors from 58 countries, the event reaffirmed its position as the largest healthcare exhibition in the Middle East and the second largest in the world. Arabian Travel Market, the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism event, also welcomed an increase in both exhibitor and visitor numbers, welcoming 2,236 exhibitors and 22,063 visitors including a 14% increase in visitors from the GCC (excluding UAE) highlighting Dubai’s growing importance as the regional tourism hub. Big 5, the largest regional event dedicated to the construction sector, once again occupied every square metre of covered exhibition space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre - featuring 2,150 exhibitors from 71 countries and registering a 7% increase in visitor attendance to the 2010 event, with a total of 48,366 trade participants.
To drive increased investment opportunities in line with key sectors critical to regional growth, DWTC continued to bring new show profiles to Dubai during the past year. New additions to the 2010 calendar across exhibitions and congresses included: the Aerospace Defence and Training Show (ADTS), the China Homelife Show, Commercial Vehicles Middle East Show, the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Exhibition and Conference, the Dubai International Peace Convention, Microsoft Tech-Ed, Specialty Food Festival, Chemspec Middle East and the Emirates Ophthalmic Conference.
In a committed effort to deliver an even more diversified range of events, DWTC leveraged its new infrastructural capacity to host a full-spectrum of entertainment events during 2010 at the Sheikh Saeed Halls and Trade Centre Arena. The largest indoor Arena in the Region held 17 concerts in 2010, welcoming over 90,000 visitors, and also telecasted the FIFA World Cup on the largest HD screen in the UAE giving excited fans an ‘almost live’ experience of the games. This new entertainment venue is expected to continue to play a crucial role in elevating Dubai to the ‘next level’ in global entertainment.
Following its strong performance in 2010, DWTC will continue to work towards sustaining and growing its current 1.5-2.5% contribution to Dubai’s GDP and move forward in its commitment to be a strong contributor to Dubai’s Strategic Plan.
The 2011 outlook for Dubai’s events industry remains positive, based on DWTC’s preliminary estimates of the successful first quarter of events and some very impressive global congress wins for Dubai lined up through the remainder of this year. All indicators to-date substantiate expectations of sector stability and growth after a booming start for DWTC with blockbuster events such as Arab Health, Gulfood and Dubai International Boat Show. Commenting on the outlook for 2011, Almarri added: “We are committed to attracting foreign investment into the region, enabling us to further grow the event sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP and remain a catalyst in driving visitor traffic to the UAE.”