Number Of Visitors Reaches All Time High At DWTC
Building on an impressive performance in 2008, latest figures from the region’s leading venue operator and events organiser, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) have revealed a 12% percent increase in visitor volumes for exhibitions, conventions and conferences at its venues in 2009. Exhibitor numbers also topped 2008 figures by 2.5% with a total of 31,197 exhibiting companies. The company’s year-end results clearly demonstrate the continued growth of the region’s events industry, as well as an increase in business confidence, with many leading shows across a range of sectors reporting growth in exhibitor and visitor numbers in 2009.
Despite global economic uncertainties, the DWTC venues - Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) and Airport Expo Dubai - welcomed approximately 1,240,000 visitors across exhibitions, meetings, and conferences last year.
“The 12% annual growth in visitor traffic at our venues during a particularly challenging year for business across the globe has been a monumental achievement for DWTC and underlines the confidence of the international business community in Dubai as the hub for regional trade. These figures clearly demonstrate our effectiveness in positioning Dubai as a business destination to regional and global markets, and is a testimony to our capabilities in hosting world class business and networking events,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre.
DWTC-organised exhibitions posted positive results over 2009. Gulfood, once again re-affirming its position as the foremost event for the food and hospitality sector, boasted a 16% growth in visitor traffic and a 20% increase in show space. A total of 45,735 visitors from over 152 countries attended the four-day culinary showcase, providing an invaluable networking platform for the 3,300 companies participating. In addition, DWTC’s Dubai International Boat Show, the region’s leading leisure marine exhibition, attracted over 730 exhibitors despite the sharp drop in demand across the global luxury goods sector. The event proved to be a key enabler for the sector, connecting participating international manufacturers with regional dealers and distributors, with millions of dollars of closed sales reported during the five-day show. GITEX welcomed an impressive 133,780 visitors, and its consumer counterpart at Airport Expo, GITEX Shopper, attracted 150,019 buyers, a 13% increase over 2008, emphasising their leadership roles as key business drivers for the region’s ICT sector. The 10th Anniversary edition of the Dubai International Motor Show ended the year on a high note with over 13 global launches, 40 regional launches and close to 100,000 visitors, highlighting the ability of the exhibition to be a stimulus for the automotive industry in the region.
Other notable shows in DWTC’s 2009 calendar included Arab Health -- the largest healthcare exhibition in the Middle East and the second largest in the world – which achieved record success in 2009, welcoming over 55,000 visitors and 2,205 exhibitors from 50 countries, and occupying an impressive 65,000 square metres of space at DICEC. Intersec 2009, the second largest security exhibition in the world boasted a 20% increase in visitor numbers and a 23% increase in show space to meet the growing regional demand in the security sector. The 6.5% increase in visitors to the 2009 Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism event, was a positive indicator to industry experts that the region would buck worldwide trends to record solid growth in the travel and tourism sectors. Additionally, Big 5, the largest regional event dedicated to the construction sector boasted a 15% increase in space and was the first exhibition to take up the entire DICEC venue, including the newly built Sheikh Saeed Halls, equating to 1 million square feet of exhibition space. Big 5 had a strong international presence with over 3,000 exhibitors, ranging from major global suppliers to regional agents and distributors, along with 52 National Pavilions from all major exporting countries.
2009 also saw the launch of several new trade shows, emphasizing the diversity of profiles in DWTC’s calendar of events for Dubai, ranging from waste management, aviation and healthcare to fashion and leisure entertainment. New additions to the DWTC calendar included MRO Middle East, World of Perishables, Malaysian Services Exhibition, Hospital Build & Upgrade and Healthscape 2009, Who’s Next and Premiere Classe, SITL Dubai, Glassman 2009, Outdoor Adventure, and India Sourcing, ably complementing the already established China Sourcing.
DWTC also proudly took its renowned brand overseas and successfully launched the inaugural Saudi International Boat Show in October of 2009 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The show exceeded all expectations and attracted over 37,000 visitors and more than 80 participating companies from over 13 countries.
In a committed effort to provide the region’s exhibition sector with enabling infrastructure for continued growth, the new extension to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), ‘Sheikh Saeed Halls,’ was delivered ahead of schedule in October of 2009. This fully flexible extension includes four inter-connected halls, including one multi-purpose hall boasting 14-metre high ceilings and covering over 9,000 square metres – The Trade Centre Arena. This new entertainment venue is the region’s largest indoor auditorium and will play host to a range of live events including theatre and arts, sporting events and concerts for over 10,000 spectators, in a fully air conditioned environment. The Arena will play a crucial role in elevating Dubai to the next level in global entertainment. With the infrastructure extension, DWTC now provides a total of one million square feet of covered exhibition space, cementing it position as the largest venue in the region.
Adjacent to the Sheikh Saeed Halls and just steps away from the new DWTC Metro Station is the Trade Centre Plaza. With the first stage already completed and leading F&B tenants entering the Plaza, DWTC visitors will have access to a mix of cafes, bistros and restaurants amidst permanent and temporary open exhibits and shaded landscaped areas, complementing the overall customer experience.
Following its strong performance in 2009, DWTC will continue to work towards sustaining and growing its current 1-1.5% contribution to Dubai’s GDP and move forward in its commitment to contributing to the Dubai Strategic Plan, as laid out by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
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