UFI report confirms GCC exhibition industry boom


THE exhibition industry in the GCC states has entered a significant ‘boom and adjustment’ period, reflecting the overall prosperity and modernization process of the region, according to a UFI 21-page report.

The study was released during a press conference hosted by UFI member, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Participants included Jochen Witt, UFI President, Ahmed Humaid Al Mazrouie, UFI Middle East/Africa Chapter chairman; and Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general, DWTC.
The findings clearly reflect the overall prosperity and modernization process underway in the region.
The number of organized exhibitions continues to increase, while exhibition venues are being enlarged and modernized in order to match rising market needs.
This growth in exhibition surface reflects an adjustment of the venue offer towards the exhibition demand. It echoes the current trend towards the development of city and industrial infrastructures in the region. It also mirrors the government policy encouraging the development and expansion of the private sector and the attraction of foreign investment.
Some disparities exist however between countries or cities, in terms of market size, investments and expansion.
The GCC exhibition industry is led by the UAE, and in particular Dubai, in terms of exhibition space availability and number of organized events. This position will be reinforced in the coming years. Other cities are positioning themselves as newly significant players on the GCC exhibition scene. These include Abu Dhabi and Doha, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art exhibition venues and which are attracting new events.
Today, 16 exhibition centres are in operation in the GCC states, providing a total net covered exhibition space of 243,300 sqm. More than half of this exhibition space is located in the UAE and more than one third in Dubai.
By 2009, four new exhibition centres will be built in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Riyadh, raising the GCC’s total available exhibition space to 429,800 sqm.
This represents an increase of 77 per cent. By 2009, the covered exhibition space in the U.A.E. will represent 65 per cent of the total exhibition space available in the GCC, while the sole city of Dubai will represent 47 per cent. By May 2007, Qatar will quadruple its available exhibition space.
In 2006, 289 trade fairs and exhibitions were held in the GCC states. Compared to the year 2002, this represents an increase of 40 per cent.
Education and training ranks as the second most important business sector for which exhibitions are organized, preceded by Consumer Goods fairs.
Many trade fairs and exhibitions organized in the GCC are related to furniture, housing and building issues. Dubai is the leading GCC city in terms of number of organized exhibitions for many business sectors.
Sixteen new trade fairs and exhibitions will be launched in 2007. 63 per cent of these will be held in the UAE, 31 per cent in Abu Dhabi and 25 per cent in Dubai.