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Sat 19 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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Cityscape Dubai keeps it real

Rohan Marwaha, managing director of Cityscape speaks about this year’s property event.

Cityscape Dubai keeps it real
The number of active developers in Dubai alone has dropped almost 60 percent this year, according to Marwaha.

Rohan Marwaha, managing director of Cityscape speaks about this year’s property event.

Cityscape Dubai 2009 will take place against perhaps the most challenging economic backdrop since its inception. Now in its eighth year and part of the largest business-to-business real estate investment and development brand in the world, it encompasses a major exhibition and a series of conferences taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from October 5-8, 2009.

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. The number of active developers in Dubai alone has dropped almost 60 percent, more than one third of the projects are on hold or cancelled and there have been significant lay-offs from regional real estate-related companies.

That said, the indications for this year so far are extremely encouraging. Based on forecasting models we expect the exhibition to be approximately 25-30 percent smaller than last year with a similar drop in participation numbers. Whilst the quantity of participants may decline, the quality will undoubtedly increase. We have already witnessed this trend at our Abu Dhabi event earlier in the year. If this is the case I think Cityscape Dubai will help restore confidence to the industry to a significant extent.

The objectives for many of the companies exhibiting this year has 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.

This year we have undertaken a number of initiatives to attract even more professional and institutional investors to Cityscape Dubai. Despite the fall in demand for exhibition space at the event we have significantly increased our marketing in all of the international markets within our reach. We have expanded our marketing team and we are developing our investor relations still further whose purpose is to ensure the delivery of core institutional investors to our events.

We have also launched a series of ‘not for profit’ business information and networking functions such as Cityscape Connect, City Leaders Forum, Investor Round Tables, CEO Networking Luncheon, Investor & Developer Reception, the Dubai Advisory Board, and Developer Showcases. These sessions which address various topics are designed to promote networking, share knowledge, increase transparency and debate potential solutions to the economic challenges we are faced with.

Our objective is to support the industry by providing a realistic and transparent view of what is happening throughout regional real estate. Now is the time to learn from the challenges of the past 12 months and to really focus on the opportunities and threats that lie ahead. Confidence is always a key issue and although nobody can accurately predict where the bottom is, I firmly believe that the upturn will be in sight by the time the event comes around in October.

With the world of property and development set to descend in Dubai next month, Cityscape will provide a transparent platform and together with our partners and participants, encourage a series of realistic measures to tackle the issues facing the industry today and in the future.

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