Dubai World Trade Centre – The Showstopper with Record Performance in 2012

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Dubai World Trade Centre visitors
Dubai World Trade Centre visitors during Gulfood 2013. Photo-Arabian Gazette

The Dubai World Trade Centre had a stellar performance in 2012 hosting mega shows and exhibitions

-36,996 companies from over 130 countries participated in events at DWTC during the year

-record visitor numbers were drawn from 186 countries

-Dubai’s trade traffic estimated to grow at an average of 5-7% per annum in the next 5 years

A  record performance for Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) in 2012 was announced by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Board of Dubai World Trade Centre, at its Annual Board Meeting held on Thursday, March 21, 2013.

Addressing the Board, Sheikh Hamdan said, “Dubai World Trade Centre continues to be a pillar of prosperity and growth for Dubai. It is highly encouraging to see that the strategy to grow the scale and diversity of events on the annual calendar has had the desired impact on substantially increasing the number of visitors and exhibitors.

Even more positive is the strong performance throughout the last five years. During a period when the global exhibitions industry experienced difficulty prior to its more recent stabilisation, Dubai World Trade Centre has delivered year on year growth. The 2012 results affirm DWTC’s position as the Middle East’s premier platform for business networking and international trade. I commend the Board, the management and the staff for the organisation’s fundamental role in positioning Dubai as a business and trading hub of the region, and its contribution to the Dubai economy. Our strategic priority is to continue to grow this contribution.”

A 2011 study showed that Dubai World Trade Centre generates more than Dhs6.5bn for the Dubai economy — a contribution equal to 2.1% of the Emirate’s total GDP. The 2012 results represent a 12.5% increase in visitor numbers and a 5.5% rise in exhibitor numbers on 2011 figures.

Some 36,996 companies, from over 130 countries participated in events at DWTC during the year, while the record visitor numbers were drawn from 186 countries. Foreign visitors accounted for 38% of the total attendance at DWTC’s major exhibitions and conventions in 2012 and they contributed 11-times the economic value to Dubai compared to locally-based visitors.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, commented, “Dubai is a place where the world comes to network, trade and grow, and DWTC is integral to this. But it is not just the number of events we stage and the volume of visitors we attract – we bring top tier decision makers to Dubai, cultivating partnerships, transactions and sustained economic activity. The rise in visitor and exhibitor numbers combined with their geographical diversity demonstrates the increasing global recognition for Dubai as an engine for business growth not just for the Middle East, but for the wider Middle East, North Africa and South Asian region.

Estimates show that over the next five years the city’s trade traffic will grow by an average of 5-7% per annum, with a substantial amount of business coming by virtue of being on the arterial routes linking growth economies across Latin America, Africa and the East. DWTC will continue to play a major role in stimulating trade, as we remain focused on delivering not just a world-class trade event and destination experience, but also a world-leading one.”

DWTC delivered a strong calendar of events in 2012 with more than 150 trade and exhibition-related events including 106 mega-events, covering sectors such as healthcare, education, ICT, construction, food, trade, security and logistics.

In line with the strategic focus to continually enhance Dubai’s events calendar, DWTC attracted 12 new shows including many firsts for the region. Amongst these were the World Energy Forum, which made a historic first appearance outside its UN headquarters in New York, the 51st Financial Markets World Congress, ITU Telecom World, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit – Entrepreneurial Ventures of Arabia, and the World Congress of Cardiology which was hosted in the Middle East for the first time in its 62-year history.

The DWTC calendar also delivered a well-diversified mix of consumer events, ranging from sporting to live entertainment, utilising the largest indoor arena in the region (Trade Centre Arena) and the vast capacity and flexibility of the Sheikh Saeed Halls. This included concerts by Il Divo and Enrique Inglesias, performances by comedians, and Dubai Sports World which, since 2011, has transformed the Sheikh Saeed Halls into the Middle East’s largest indoor sports destination.

Discussing the events calendar, Helal Saeed Almarri commented, “DWTC has powered the events industry in Dubai for more than 30 years and has become renowned for the staging of mega-shows, exhibitions, trade fairs and congresses, which remains the core focus of our events business. However, our expertise, infrastructure and facilities empower us to also stage smaller conferences, meetings, product launches, concerts and other live events, and by doing so we widen Dubai’s event related tourism offer – for both local and international audiences. Events held at DWTC are responsible for driving over 20% of the economic value generated by Dubai’s entire tourism sector, and it’s important that we continue to expand our calendar and enhance this contribution.”


Some of the mega-shows and conferences that took place in Dubai World Trade Centre in 2013 so far — Arab Health, Gulfood, Gitex Shopper, Gitex Technology, BIG 5, ATM and Intersec, all of which continue to thrive, as seen from the stunning statistics:

  • Arab Health welcomed over 83,000 medical and health-care professionals, reporting a 15% increase in visitor volumes and reaffirmed it’s position as the largest health care exhibition and medical congress in the Middle East.
  • Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food trade show, demonstrated the rising importance of Dubai as a key trading hub for the global food industry, attracting a record 68,000 visitors and 4,200 exhibitors from 110 countries, showcasing more than 50,000 brands across every sector of the F&B industry.
  • Gitex Technology Week, one of the top three ICT shows in the world, brought together over 130,000 industry professionals and more than 3,500 suppliers from 54 countries across five continents. Trending technologies, product launches and prominent industry forums set the agenda for the event last year, connecting leading global ICT companies and further boosting the market’s confidence to stimulate business investment.
  • Equally successful was the retail version, Gitex Shopper, an eight-day electronics shopping extravaganza which was held at its new home at DWTC for the first time. Drawing in a record 206,000 visitors — a 22% increase over 2011, generating Dhs237m in sales, the event served as a platform for over 120 exhibitors to showcase more than 30,000 different gadgets and consumer electronics. In addition to the highly popular autumn edition in September/October, there is now a spring edition of the show, taking place next month from April 3 to 6.
  • The Big 5 International Building and Construction Show demonstrated the confidence in the building and construction market, with 2,371 exhibitors from 60 countries utilising every square metre of covered exhibition space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), showcasing latest products and technologies from across the building and construction industry.
  • Arabian Travel Market‘s performance reinforced the renewed wave of business optimism throughout the region with an 8% increase in both visitor and exhibitor attendees and 2013 will mark its 20th anniversary.
  • Intersec experienced an 18% trade-only increase, with over 19,000 visitors meeting 909 exhibitors presenting their latest products and innovations — an increase of 15% on 2011. The leading regional trade event in the security, safety and fire protection industries goes from strength to strength and recently enjoyed an equally successful 2013 edition.
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