Abu Dhabi's booming meetings industry has benefited from increased facilities this year, with more than half a million people visiting the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) since it opened in February.
The venue has hosted 13 international exhibitions since the opening.
ADNEC chief executive Simon Horgan said the centre was built because of the "extremely strong demand" for world-class facilities in Abu Dhabi.
"I am therefore delighted that the first exhibitions at the new venue have been so successful in attracting visitors," he said.
"In addition to the brand new events coming to Abu Dhabi because of the improved exhibition facilities, we are also witnessing the expansion of well established shows because they have now been given a platform to grow and develop."
The venue is set to grow even further, with construction already starting on Phase 2 of the project. Once finished, the centre will be the Middle East's largest purpose built exhibition centre, with floor space totalling more than 55,000 square metres.
"We fully expect to welcome around one million visitors a year to the venue once Phase 2 is complete," Horgan added.
"In doing so, ADNEC will be responsible for a general growth in the UAE exhibition industry of around 25%."
Phase 2 of construction is expected to be completed by the end of autumn 2008.
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