Cityscape Dubai rates rise despite crisis

EXCLUSIVE: Cost of exhibiting at Dubai real estate show rises by up to 15%.
Cityscape Dubai rates rise despite crisis
By Soren Billing
Mon 17 Aug 2009 07:36 AM

The cost of exhibiting at this year's Cityscape Dubai show has jumped by up to 15 percent, despite the impact of the global economic crisis on the Gulf's real estate industry, Arabian Business can reveal.

Less than a year ago, the Cityscape Dubai exhibition drew record crowds, and troubled developer Nakheel unveiled plans for a tower that was to be more than 1km tall.

Since then, activity in Dubai’s real estate sector has ground to a halt and prices have crashed by up to 50 percent from their highs in the fourth quarter of last year.

But in one part of town, prices are still rising - the rates for Cityscape 2009 are up by approximately 7.5-15 percent from the year before, even as real estate developers slash their marketing costs after sales all but dried up.

“The price increase was initiated before the 2008 event took place in October, sometime before the market started to decline,” said Rohan Marwaha, the event’s managing director.

“Cityscape has made a significant marketing investment to build the brand further in international markets and drive more quality investors and professionals into Dubai for its flagship event.

“We believe in the value our brand represents to the global real estate community and look at developing our offering over the long term.”

The size of the increase depends on how many years each exhibitor decides to commit to. For example, a company that commits to taking part this year and next would only get a 7.5 percent increase per year, since the total is split over two years.

The property show has cut sponsorship costs for exhibitors by 25 percent this year.

This year's edition will also feature a series of "not-for-profit" events, such as investor round tables, a CEO networking luncheon, and a seminar on investing in India.

Last week, Arabian Business revealed that demand for meeting rooms at the Dubai Novotel World Trade Centre, which have long been a popular place for completing multi-million dollar deals at the event, has fallen dramatically since last year.

Only one meeting room was booked in mid August compared with all eight rooms at the same time last year.

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