13% Rise in Event Attendance at DWTC Highlights Growing Business Confidence in the Region

Published August 11th, 2010 - 07:59 GMT

First Half 2010 performance results released by the region's leading venue operator and events organiser, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), report a year-on-year growth in excess of 2009's twelve percent increase in visitor volumes. With traffic surpassing 630,000 in just the first six months across exhibitions, conventions and conferences held at DWTC venues, increase in attendance is a buoyant indicator of renewed global confidence in Dubai as the international destination for regional trade.

Hosting nearly 22,000 companies from over 85 countries as part of the 59 exhibitions and conferences held in just the first half of the year, DWTC successfully delivered the regional networking platform for the international business community, reinforcing the role of the event industry as a key contributor to Dubai's economy. 2010 has so far showcased several new and diverse exhibitions and congresses that have complemented the blockbuster mega-shows like Arab Health and Gulfood, in attracting high quality visitor traffic to yield maximum returns for the exhibiting companies.

"The sustained pace of growth of our events and exhibitions business portfolio is evidence of the 'real' value that international businesses and regional buyers derive from participating at tradeshows in Dubai. Our venues have continued to attract the ideal profile and scale of top-tier visitors from the Middle East, North Africa, CIS and the Indian Sub-Continent, driving tangible returns on investment for exhibiting companies - consequently enabling our organisers to grow their shows into truly global sector leaders. DWTC's promising half year performance is a robust indicator of the growing confidence that world-renowned organisers and leading international associations have in Dubai's proposition as the platform for trade with the region," said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre.

January through June 2010 saw DWTC attract an overwhelming 639,170 visitors to events at its venues, making it well positioned to exceed last year's annual 1.2 million turnout by year end despite continuing pressure in global markets. As part of its strategic mandate to support sectors vital to Dubai's economy, DWTC's calendar of events in the first half of the year delivered large scale and niche events within healthcare, food, trade manufacturing, tourism, education, leisure & maritime among others. Growth has been consistent across several key sectors as exhibitions across diverse industry profiles have demonstrated strong performance compared to the same period last year.

In healthcare alone, DWTC has hosted a total of 12 major shows in 2010 so far, attracting over 133,000 visitors and over 5,000 of the world's leading healthcare manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors to Dubai. Arab Health 2010 the largest healthcare exhibition in the Middle East and the second largest in the world grew by 20 percent in size to occupy the entire exhibition space at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC), including the 25,000 sq.m provided by the new Sheikh Saeed halls. With a record 66,000 participating professional visitors and delegates, and over 2,600 exhibitors from 58 countries, this blockbuster show delivered a 20 percent increase in exhibitor and visitor volumes over 2009 for the regional Health Care sector.

Gulfood 2010 re-affirmed its position as the region's mega event for the food and hospitality sector, recording an impressive 22 percent growth in visitor traffic over 2009. A total of 55,379 trade visitors from the food & beverage manufacturing and catering service industries from over 153 countries attended the four-day culinary showcase, making Gulfood one of the world's most successful food shows, delivering a must-attend regional platform for the 3,500 participating companies to network and exhibit the latest innovations within this sector

The 18th Dubai International Boat Show, held in March 2010, saw 15 Global launches and 25 Regional Premiers, highlighting the importance of the Show to the global leisure marine industry. Over 700 companies participated and the event enabled multi-million dollars in sales, indicating rising consumer confidence and improved outlook for luxury consumption within the region.

To drive increased regional investment opportunities in line with sector specific trends, DWTC has continuously sought to bring in new show profiles to Dubai. New additions to the first half of 2010 calendar included exhibitions and congresses within aviation, ICT, trade and healthcare, drawing over 90,000 new visitors. Among the new shows hosted so far this year were 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 and Microsoft Tech-Ed.

The outlook for the exhibitions and events industry in Dubai for the remainder of 2010 and heading into 2011 continues to stay positive, as DWTC moves forward with a strong calendar line up led by the 30th Anniversary of GITEX Technology Week, anticipated to be the largest and most influential edition in the show's history. In addition, Dubai's recently announced wins of eight new Global Congresses will be hosted by DWTC during 2011 and 2012, including the International Public Transport Congress, the International Bar Association Congress, the World Diabetes Congress and the World Cardiology Congress – the last of which was against powerhouses like Singapore, Kyoto and Capetown - establishing DWTC as a leading international congress venue and asserting Dubai's reputation as a global business tourism destination.

Commenting on the company's strategic focus, CEO Helal AlMarri added "One of our key priorities as DWTC has been to steadily increase the event industry's contribution to Dubai's GDP and to play an enabling role in stimulating regional investment. Our decision to invest in facility expansion with the Sheikh Saeed Halls last year was to ensure that we delivered the optimal hosting infrastructure for Dubai. We are pleased that this investment has enabled cater for the expansion needs of the mega shows in key sectors this year, and we continue to work with our organisers to support the growth of their show and broaden the range of trade, consumer, and entertainment events in Dubai's Calendar".

Following its strong performance in 2009, DWTC's hospitality team also achieved outstanding results during this half year reporting period - catering close to half a million guests across a number of events, including an impressive 179 weddings held from January to June 2010 - over 20 percent increase from 2009.

31 years after DWTC was built as the gateway for trade to the region, it remains the premier platform for global business networking, effectively supporting Dubai's Strategic Agenda, as laid out by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. DWTC remains optimistic for the future and looks forward to building on its positive first 2010 half performance and to move forward in making Dubai the world's leading destination for all major exhibitions, conferences and events. 

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