Gulfood, the region's largest food, drink and hospitality exhibition, is set to bring the most international and diverse selection of visitors and exhibitors in its history to Dubai in 2008.
The trade-only show is now sold out and has registered a 20 percent increase in exhibition space this year and will now occupy all available space in the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The global scope of Gulfood this year will be reinforced by the number of new country pavilions making their debut this year, including Ecuador, Hungary, Lithuania, Malawi, Northern Ireland, Poland, Switzerland and Uruguay.
The event is set to welcome more than 2,500 companies who specialise in the food and hospitality sector. Building on the large international presence at this year's show, over 86 percent of these leading suppliers are from outside of the UAE.
Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the 13th edition of Gulfood will run from 24 - 27 February 2008. The event has grown to become one of the largest and most international trade shows for food and hospitality in the world and has been expanded by an additional 11,000 sq. meters from last year.
Gulfood's international prominence has been further boosted by the ongoing growth of the hospitality industry within the GCC region. Research group Proleads estimates that planned hotel development for the GCC is currently valued at US$18 billion - US$12.7 billion in Dubai alone - increasing the scope of the potential market for foods suppliers, packaging specialists and equipment manufacturers.
"Recognising the central economic and social importance of the food, drink and hospitality sectors to the region, we continue to ensure that Gulfood evolves to meet the needs of these industries," said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, DTWC.
"This event has become a hugely influential business development platform, bringing together suppliers and buyers from around the world and fully leveraging Dubai's position at the heart of the international trade network," he added.
To help support this increasing specialisation within the market, DWTC has introduced dedicated areas within Gulfood for specific products and services, ranging from packaging and labelling, through to beverage and beverage equipment.
The organiser has also launched the Restaurant and Café Middle East exhibition, which will support companies in every part of the supply chain, including interior designers, tableware developers, contract furnishing suppliers and kitchen and cooking equipment companies.
Industry specialists Zenith International will also host a series of Beverage Opportunity Workshops, for the first time at this year's Gulfood. Trade visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see hundreds of new launches and view products never before seen in the region.
As well as new innovations on display, many of Gulfood's most popular features will be back for 2008. The much-anticipated Salon Culinaire will return, with a panel of 25 international judges - each mandated by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) - and 1,000 chefs competing for gold, silver and bronze.
The 3rd Dubai International Food Safety Conference, organised by Dubai Municipality, will also be present to examine the challenges and issues in the Middle East market with renowned speakers from around the world.
The 13th Gulfood Exhibition, organised by Dubai World Trade Centre, will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 24-27 February 2008.
Photo caption: Gulfood, the region's largest food, drink and hospitality exhibition, is set to bring the most international and diverse selection of visitors and exhibitors in its history to Dubai in 2008.