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Visitors during the Gitex 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Satish Kumar / The National
Visitors during the Gitex 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Satish Kumar / The National

Exhibitors flock to Dubai's trade centre

Dubai has cemented its position in the global trade show arena with record attendances at Dubai World Trade Centre in 2012

If you overindulge at the annual Sweets & Snacks Middle East conference then fear not, the UAE International Dental Conference & Arab Dental Exhibition is just around the corner.

These complementary dates on the annual conference calendar were just two of the huge and diverse number of trade shows that helped the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to a record year in 2012, the exhibition venue revealed yesterday.

More than 1.85 million visitors descended on the trade centre last year with close to 37,000 companies choosing to display their wares at the venue from electronics manufacturers and retailers at Gitex to property developers at the renowned Cityscape exhibition.

The 2012 visitor numbers represent a 12.5 per cent rise over 2011, while 5.5 per cent more exhibitors came last year than in 2011. DWTC said 36,996 companies from more than 130 countries participated in events at the centre during the year, while the record number of visitors came from 186 different countries.

The latest visitor data also shows that 38 per cent of those attending major exhibitions and conventions at DWTC last year were from overseas. What is more, each of them contributed 11 times more than their local counterparts to the Dubai economy.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the chairman of DWTC, said: "Dubai World Trade Centre continues to be a pillar of prosperity and growth for Dubai. It is highly encouraging to see that the strategy to grow the scale and diversity of events on the annual calendar has had the desired impact on substantially increasing the number of visitors and exhibitors."

DWTC generates more than Dh6.5 billion (US$1.77bn) a year for Dubai's economy or 2.1 per cent of the emirate's GDP, according to data supplied by the centre in 2011.

Helal Saeed Almarri,the director general of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and the chief executive of DWTC, said: "Dubai is a place where the world comes to network, trade and grow, and DWTC is integral to this. But it is not just the number of events we stage and the volume of visitors we attract - we bring top tier decision makers to Dubai."

There were more than 150 trade shows and exhibition-related events at DWTC last year, including 106 so-called "mega events" shows that are the biggest in an industry's annual calendar.

DWTC attracted 12 new shows including the World Energy Forum, which chose Dubai for its first appearance outside its headquarters at the United Nations in New York.



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