x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Adihex sees fewer visitors but still 'a success'

Attendance fell this year at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition after organisers increased the amount of space for the event by a quarter.

Two visitors admire knives at a booth during the Adihex in the capital. Lee Hoagland / The National
Two visitors admire knives at a booth during the Adihex in the capital. Lee Hoagland / The National

Adihex had 55 new exhibitors and more space than last year Erin Conroy Abu Dhabi // Attendance fell this year at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex) after organisers increased the amount of space for the event by a quarter in anticipation of a larger crowd. The four-day event featured 589 exhibitors of guns, hunting equipment and falcons, as well as a camel auction and a Saluki beauty contest with 170 entries.

The exhibition, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, also had a daily Arabic coffee brewing competition. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE, contributed 100 falcons from the Pro-Falcon Farm in Al Ain to the exhibition, while the first World Arabian Horse Racing Conference was held alongside the event and included a panel on the breeding of the horse. About 106,150 people visited the show, according to the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach), which supported the event. That was down from 115,700 people last year, but still above the 95,100 in 2008. Adihex had 55 new exhibitors and 25 per cent more space, compared with last year.

Last year, the appearance of the British Household Cavalry's Musical Ride, with its display of military riding, boosted attendance above 100,000 for the first time. The popularity of that event may be why more people came last year, said Abdullah al Qubaisi, the director of communication for Adach. "We had less people there, but the exhibitors were very happy and very much want to be a part of the event next year, so we consider it a success," he said.

Adach did not yet have sales figures for exhibitors, but some vendors said the event proved fruitful. Sales for the UAE-based handgun manufacturer Caracal were much stronger this year, according to Khamis Ateeq al Muwaijei, an assistant manager for the company. Robert Bagley, the president of the US company Marshall Radio Telemetry, also noticed a rise in sales of falcon-tracking transmitters. He has been selling the technology at the show since it began in 2003.

Even some of the most expensive merchandise drew interest. Two massive gold-plated safari vehicles, priced at Dh2.5 million each, were expected to be sold by the end of this week, said Sameer Sami, who works for the owner of the dune buggies. "There were many more serious offers than we had expected," he said. econroy@thenational.ae