Dubai hosts travel catering exhibition

As the boom in the transport and hospitality industries in the Middle East continues unabated, the region’s first ever MENA Travel Catering 2006 exhibition is set to debut from 4-6 September 2006.This will be alongside the ITCA Middle East Conference at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).

Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the exhibition brings together exhibitors in the airline, cruise line, ferry, railway and hospitality industries from over 22 countries. Leading international suppliers looking to capitalise on this booming market include Nestle Foodservices, LSG Sky Chefs, Orvec International, Hero Group and Sabre Airline solutions.

Recent research from Bahrain Airport Services and PAX International estimated that the Middle East airline catering industry is worth close to US$500 million per annum, while the value of ferry and cruise line hospitality has grown exponentially in recent years.

The decision by International Travel Catering Association (ITCA) to also host their inaugural conference in the region further underscores the global interest in this fast-developing market.

“DWTC is delighted to host and work with ITCA, whose inaugural conference will run alongside a key exhibition to support the regional growth of the transport catering sector and its service providers. The fact that we have also been selected to host the key conference of such a respected international trade exhibition underlines both the strategic positioning of the region in this fast-growing industry, as well as the attractiveness of DICEC as a venue for major meetings,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre.


The growing volume of travellers passing through the Middle East together with the UAE’s emergence as a hub for marine and aviation traffic have combined to make the region an area of key interest for international catering companies, according to industry experts.

Aviation catering stands out as the fastest-growing sector, with over 13.76m passengers passing through Dubai International Airport in the first half of 2006 alone. In parallel, cruise line, rail and ferry services have also grown significantly in recent years, creating major opportunities in a range of industries.

“We chose MENA Travel Catering 2006 because it is a fantastic opportunity to meet people from the aviation industry - our main customers are typically the airlines and 5-star hotels. We expect to meet many purchasers and decision makers from the airlines as well as looking to use the exhibition as an opportunity to introduce our new models. This is a time of high excitement in the travel catering industry and we are all well-aware of the potential of the Middle East,” said Ali Al-Saqqa, Marketing Manager of UAE-based flatware manufacturer, Zorayan.

The exhibition, whose platinum sponsor is Al Accad Hotel Supplies, represents a diverse range of companies, including food and beverage suppliers, food packaging, chinaware and disposable crockery, through to in-flight retailing, entertainment systems and toiletry companies. 

“Travel catering is an expanding sector especially in the Middle East. By sponsoring this event we aim to increase our brand awareness and tap into this highly lucrative market. We are looking forward to welcoming key decision-makers from across the region onto our stand as well as networking with the many delegates there attending the conference,” said Sultan Al Accad, Managing Director of Al Accad Hotel Supplies, Platinum sponsor of MENA Travel Catering 2006

The geographic reach of the event will cover markets in the Middle East extending into North Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Europe.

“CHATSFORD Ltd has been working, producing and supplying International Airlines for the past 25 years and we feel that MENA Travel Catering 2006 will be a suitable channel for our company exposure in the whole of the Middle East,” said Eugenio Gili, Managing Director, CHATSFORD LTD, a manufacturer of aircraft accessories with headquarters in Hong Kong.

“A significant proportion of our business is coming from the Middle East and we have almost every carrier as loyal customers within our portfolio of clients. We are looking forward to meet with new clients from the Indian subcontinent and also companies from the Central Asia region at the event,” he added.