“There is no doubt that the UAE has led by example when it comes to event innovation and experience. Events such as the World Government Summit and the recent Arab Media Forum are incredible events and are a fantastic example of best practice to the world of how to deliver an event and to host international guests,” Alan Kelly, Business Development Manager at Informa Middle East, told Arab News.
“Expo 2020 will only enhance the UAE’s reputation as an innovation hub for the global events industry, bringing the world’s leading event curators and experiential agencies to the region and, in turn, raising the bar for the entire local industry.”
Expo 2020 is expected to receive 25 million visits during its six-month run from October 2020 until April 2021, mostly from outside the UAE — the largest proportion in the history of World Expos — as more than 180 countries are participating in the event.
“It will most definitely be a UAE ‘first’ for event concept, design and delivery,” Kelly said.
Kelly said that Dubai, which is hosting Expo 2020, was a ‘super place to visit for an event: “it’s got the hotels, the venues, a supporting infrastructure and is well connected to global cities — all key to hosting international events.”
The Dubai World Trade Center, which is also the region’s biggest trade venue, last year welcomed 3.3 million delegates and attendees to 353 MICE and business events including 103 mega events while its Abu Dhabi counterpart the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition hosted 1.5 million people across 480 events in 2016, including defense exhibitions and medical meetings.
Kelly, who will join the Middle East Special Event & Exhibition Show on April 22 and 23, also believes the UAE is poised to embrace cutting edge technologies which will better engage and involve audiences, while staving off the growing threat of “event fatigue”.
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“The days of simply turning up to an event and remaining on the sidelines, watching and listening, are long gone. New technologies, and the resulting data they produce, will enable events to become far more immersive and tailored to the needs of delegates, creating both intimate and unique experiences,” he said.
“More can be done on the ground to attract international delegates and visitors to our events, and increased collaboration between all stakeholders is vital to help make this happen … we need to attract international association events, and increased support is needed with the launch of new annual events, existing exhibitions, and key industry events, all of which will help ensure sustainability and continued growth.”
“Expo 2020 will obviously increase the revenue lines for many companies operating within the event space, but it will also present an opportunity for these companies to push the boundaries of event innovation and be the global benchmark for cutting-edge delivery and concept creation,” he added.
By Rommer M. Balaba