By Lisa Magloff
The region's only event dedicated to the travel catering and in-flight service industries will bring together international suppliers and regional buyers.
Now in its second edition, The International Travel Catering Association (ITCA) and the ITCA Dubai exhibition, formerly known as MENA Travel Catering, is set to open at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from December 11 to 13. The exhibition is supported by Emirates Airline. This is the region's only dedicated event for travel catering services, and will tap into the vast potential of the Middle East travel industry by putting global players in touch with the key markets of the Middle East and North Africa.
"DWTC is delighted to host and work with ITCA again on this exhibition to support the regional growth of the travel catering sector and its service providers. This reflects both the strategic positioning of the region in this fast-growing industry, as well as the attractiveness of Dubai as a venue for major international meetings," said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the Show. "Dubai is the perfect location for such an event as it is not only recognised as the business hub for the Middle East, but is also one of the fastest growing hubs for aviation and transport in the region.
"The increasing volume of people moving through the Middle East coupled with UAE's emergence as a central travel hub have combined to make the region vitally important for travel catering companies. I am extremely confident that ITCA Dubai 2007 will become a significant event for the travel catering trade in the coming years," he added.
According to Mr Al Marri, the event has a pre-built and distinct advantage in that the international travel industry already has a keen focus on the Middle East, and on Dubai in particular.
As such, the exhibition and conference have already attracted considerable interest and confirmed participation from key industry leaders and leading regional players. The list of exhibitors includes Hobart and Gut Springenheide from Germany, Servair from France, Bestpartner World Wide Food Supply and Driessen Aerospace Group from the Netherlands, Elro-Werke and Gate Gourmet from Switzerland, Chatsford and Josco Inflight from Hong Kong, Creation Food Company from Taiwan, Chef Middle East and City Chef Catering from the UAE and John Horsfall's and Watermark Group from the UK.
Visitors to ITCA Dubai 2007 will also be able to source suppliers from 23 countries, including new exhibitor participation from Bahrain, Belgium, Oman, Syria, Taiwan and Ukraine.
Peter Boos, a Canadian national, has been working as Executive Pastry Chef at Emirates In-flight Catering for the last 5 years, where he produces air catering products mainly in-house. New food ingredients and flavourings coming from Europe or the USA are important in delivering a high quality product under the time and logistic constraints eminent in the air catering industry. At ITCA Dubai 2007, Boos is looking to learn, meet new suppliers and find new trends in products and services. "We are always looking to update our equipment in order to provide the best products and services to our customers. ITCA provides an ideal platform to source these new suppliers", he added.
The two day ITCA Dubai Conference from 12 - 13 December, an integral part of the event, is also expected to attract many travel industry professionals from across the region. This year's theme focuses on "The Middle East - the New Market" and will present high caliber speakers from esteemed companies such as Nestle Foodservices, ITW Envopak and many more.
"The high levels of interest and participation in the event is testament to the growth and importance of the transport and tourism sectors in Dubai and across the region. ITCA is the leading international industry body, and in partnership with them, we aim to make ITCA Dubai 2007 an event that is exciting, useful and rewarding," said Helal Al Marri.