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Thu 27 Aug 2009 11:12 AM

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Cityscape Dubai expects 30% fall in visitors

EXCLUSIVE: MD predicts major impact of global downturn on real estate show.

Cityscape Dubai is expecting a near 30 percent drop in both visitors and exhibitors this year – according to the event’s managing director.

Rohan Marwaha said he expects the real estate exhibition, which less than a year ago drew record crowds, to be down between 25-30 percent.

Writing in the September issue of CEO Middle East, he said: “Considering the global economic turmoil, it would be unrealistic for anybody to assume that the event will be as big or attract as many visitors as last year.

“Based on forecasting models we expect the exhibition to be approx 25-30 percent smaller than last year with a similar drop in participation numbers.”

Despite the drop, he said figures were “extremely encouraging” given the economic downturn.

Real estate prices in Dubai have plummeted more than 50 percent, compared to highs in the fourth quarter of last year.

Many Gulf real estate companies have traditionally used Cityscape Dubai to launch new projects. At last year’s show, Dubai-based Nakheel revealed its plans to build a 1km tall tower while Meraas Development announced its plans to build a $95bn city, Jumeirah Gardens.

Both projects have since been put on hold due to the economic downturn.

Marwaha said he didn’t expect any similar announcements at this year’s event. “The objectives for many of the companies exhibiting this year have changed so no one should expect to see billion dollar projects being launched or investors announcing major finance deals.

"The focus for many will be to show the world that the negative press attention Dubai has received over the last year has for the most part been unwarranted,” he said.

Last week, Arabian Business said that the cost of exhibiting at this year’s Cityscape has increased by 15 percent.

Raymond James 10 years ago

Rohan, Did you not say that you have increased the prices for the exhibition this year? I guess your press release stunt went haywire. i suggest you get a new PR guy. cheers !!!

Mr N 10 years ago

last year's was quiet. it was the one the year before that was busy

lana 10 years ago

We have to admit it, this doesn't come as a surprise considering the financial crisis the whole world is in today. it is naive to think that visitors this year will match Cityscape 2008 (which was already worse than the previous shows) or even 2007. Let's not get carried away by headlines people: 30% fall in visitors (DUH!) we can also expect to read many headlines after cityscape: - Cityscape 2009 sees real estate announcements fall by 60% - Cityscape 2009 sees sales drop 90 % etc.. (u get the point) On the other hand what comes as a surprise is that IIR decides to: Re-brand Cityscape and Raise fees (to probably pay for the rebranding exercise??)- WHY would they do that? Why?

mom 10 years ago

30% down? And so what? Is anybody actually going to be surprised by that?! How many people have lost their jobs in Real Estate in the last year again? Fascinating headline, what a revelation.

Jebel Ali Baba 10 years ago

Compared to last years 100 visitors 70 visitors this year is not a major drop. ONLY 30 cityscape visitors less in 2009! This is the headline to publish.