By Andy Sambidge
Entertainment industry event to be held in October amid booming cinema box office sales in the UAE
Abu Dhabi will host the first International Showbiz Expo in October, it was announced on Sunday.
MCI, in association with Xeitgeist Entertainment Group, said the event will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from October 20-22.
The announcement comes at a time when the film and entertainment industry thrives in the Middle East, with the UAE leading the market in terms of gross box office, recording $145m of sales in 2013.
Last year 12.9m tickets were sold in the UAE alone compared to Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iran who achieved ticket sales of 16.4m tickets combined.
The region has also witnessed a sharp increase in the number of screens, totalling more than 2,000, of which 800 are digital.
The event will host exhibitors ranging from studios, distributors, media outlets, cinema infrastructure and technology providers, talent and marketing agencies, theatre companies, festivals, a statement said.
Ajay Bhojwani, managing director, MCI Middle East, said: "We want ISBE to be the world's largest and most prestigious Expo for the entertainment world and Abu Dhabi is the ideal place for global entertainment professionals to meet and discuss opportunities for developing the media infrastructure in this region."
The event is expected to attract more than 2,000 professionals from the entertainment industry and the three day event will also feature a conference with speakers from Hollywood, Asia and Middle East.
ADNEC Group CEO, Pieter Idenburg, added: "Abu Dhabi is a dynamic city that is well placed to host an equally dynamic expo. We are looking forward to welcoming this first of its kind event to our venue and increasing awareness of Abu Dhabi's offering as a global business tourism destination."