Exhibitions, conferences and trade shows in the UAE attracted more than 3.8 million visitors in 2010, contributing millions of dollars to the local economy while the region’s multitude of events continues to grow.
Informa Exhibitions, organisers of major trade and consumer exhibitions including the Cityscape portfolio, Arab Health and NAJAH Education, Training and Careers, say their events have had a positive impact on the UAE economy to the tune of US$227 million.
The sum takes into account the money spent by visitors and exhibitors on flights, accommodation, food and drink, local travel, entertainment and shopping, and funds spent on freight and equipment transport, advertising and promotional spending, all of which flows directly into the local economy.
The figures have been released at a time when events and entertainment suppliers turn their attention to the expanded Middle East Event Show, which this year will incorporate an exhibition alongside the established Middle East Event Awards, running from 1-2 June at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Richard Brook, Exhibition Director of Middle East Event Show, said, “The high visitor numbers are significant because event traffic positively impacts a number of industries which ultimately contributes considerably to the UAE’s GDP.
“And the business deals and networking opportunities that events foster have an enormous financial impact for the development of other businesses in the region, with the average ROI of exhibitions at approximately 300 per cent.”
In addition to the quantifiable ‘bottom line’, though, the events industry also helps boost the knowledge economy of the country.
“The less tangible benefits include skills training and development for UAE-based employees and suppliers gained through the knowledge-sharing components of many events, workshops and exhibitions held in the emirates”, added Brook.
As a hub of trade, transhipment and business activities, the Middle East - and the GCC in particular - is poised for greater growth and the events industry is responding to the demand. Both Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre have undergone recent expansion and development, while Qatar has recently opened its new state of the art convention centre.
The Middle East Event Show is the only trade show in the region to cover the full spectrum of the events industry, connecting Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions (MICE), events and entertainment suppliers and buyers in the Middle East.
The event features the Knowledge Zone - a collection of seminars and workshops delivered by industry experts. Themes running through the two-day conference include event marketing, meeting planning, the events landscape, and personal development in the events industry. The Middle East Event Awards will recognise individuals, teams and businesses in the industry for exceptional events and commended for contributing to the overall success of the events industry in the Middle East.
Key exhibitors include Dubai World Trade Centre, Dusit Thani Dubai, the Fairmont Dubai and the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and the Institute of Media & Communications (EMDI), which opened its Dubai doors in 2004, and currently trains 200 students in event management, media and communications from its Knowledge Village campus. Exhibition organisers include Melville Middle East, Gemini Worldwide and Electra Events and Exhibitions.