Expo attracts visitors from 79 countries


Middle East Exclusive, the region’s first exhibition for the duty free and travel retail sector, which was held at the Dubai World Trade Centre last month, attracted visitors from 79 countries - 78 per cent from within the wider Gulf region.

In all, some 1,738 trade buyers attended the event, which also drew visitors from Eastern Europe, the CIS, Asia and Africa. Delegations attended from British Airways, Bahrain Duty Free, Kuwait Duty Free, Dubai and Abu Dhabi Duty Frees, Hamila Duty Free of Tunisia and Aer Rianta International-Middle East.
“For the first edition of a dedicated duty free show, we regard this turnout as extremely encouraging,” said Justin Boutros, managing director, Channels Exhibitions, which organises the annual event.
Retailers, duty free operators, airline, airport, port and cruise line professionals topped the visitor business profile, quickly followed by agents, distributors, wholesalers and manufacturers and suppliers.
“One particularly pleasing aspect of the visitor profile is its depth,” said Boutros. “There were also significant numbers of hoteliers, store owners and operators as well as ship chandlers.”
Middle East Exclusive was staged against a background of rising duty free, airline and luxury goods sales in a region which boasts countries with some of the highest per capita income in the world and among Its fastest-rising inbound and outbound tourism levels.
Opening the exhibition, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, President, Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai and Chairman of the Emirates Group, predicted regional duty free sales would soar to more than one billion dollars a year by 2006.