DUBAI // It is out with the computer games and in with the toy cars - and that is just the adult market, if the Middle East Toy Fair in Dubai is anything to go by. Stalls on the opening day yesterday were stacked with a colourful array of soft toys, wooden items, cars, bicycles and board games as makers meet a growing demand for traditional playthings with an educational twist instead of the hi-tech gadgetry of past fairs.
Renata Bosilj, merchandising manager for The Toy Store in Dubai, said: "The traditional toys are coming back. During the past year we are getting more into traditional wooden toys. "Last year it also changed to toys from which kids can learn and also teach others something, so children learn something as they play." Ms Bosilj said that, unsurprisingly in a city crazy about cars, remote-control versions and race tracks sold particularly well to both children and adults. "We have a plasma car which sells well," she added. "The race tracks range for kids and fathers is doing very well. There is a demand for models of cars that you see on the road."
The Rubik's cube was also a huge seller, particularly among adults. Meanwhile, one of the quirkier items on display at Dubai's International Convention and Exhibition Centre was an eco-friendly, electrical "Trikke" - a three-wheeled motorised scooter already popular in America and Europe, which promoters hope will prove a hit in the UAE. "We would like to see it manufactured here," said Jason Abboud, marketing manager for Trikke ME. "It can be used for staff movement. Resorts can use it to get staff around or for recreation."
Despite a relatively muted first day, and given the economic downturn, Elisabeth Brehl, managing director of the fair organisers Messe Frankfurt, said the toy industry in the UAE was still projected "to climb". "People will sacrifice other things before they will sacrifice buying toys for their children." email@example.com