By Andy Sambidge
More than 550,000 visitors pass through convention and exhibition centre in six months.
Figures released on Wednesday reveal that more than 500,000 visitors attended a record number of events at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) in the first six months of 2008.
The figures represent an increase of 40 percent over the same period last year.
According to senior executives, the figures demonstrate the progress made by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) towards positioning Dubai as the world’s leading destination for exhibitions, conferences and events.
DWTC recorded 551,056 visitors to DICEC between January and June 2008, compared to 393,665 in the first six months of 2007.
With major shows such as Cityscape Exhibition and Conference, and Gitex Technology Show around the corner, DWTC chiefs say they are confident the numbers will continue to grow.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, DWTC, said: “Dubai continues to expand its reach and influence as a premier global destination for meetings, exhibitions and events.”
Among the significant exhibitions that debuted this season included Aircraft Interiors Middle East, an event that targets the high-growth aviation sector in the region, with organisers expecting the next show to more than double in size.
Another big success was the inaugural event for banking and finance, MEFX, organised in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre, which attracted attendees from over 40 countries.
DICEC hosted 20,316 exhibitors during the first six months of 2008, an increase of 14 percent over last year, while the total number of delegates for meetings and conferences also recorded a substantial increase.
DWTC’s Hospitality Division reported impressive half-yearly figures, serving over 172,000 covers in their outlets, an increase of over 50,000 covers from the same period last year, while off-site catering orders have almost doubled over the same period of time.
Ambitious plans for growth are in the pipeline with a flagship development aimed at creating a dynamic and integrated commercial destination.
Construction is also well underway on the first phase of the Dubai Trade Centre District project - the high-end commercial development that will create a new central business quarter at the heart of Dubai.