Mr Midfa, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Middle East-Africa Chapter of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), discussed the current regional climate while making a presentation to Middle East-Africa Chapter meeting attendants on regional opportunities at the 78th UFI Congress from November 9-11, 2011.
UFI is the association of the world’s leading tradeshow organisers and fairground owners, as well as major national and international exhibition associations, and selected partners of the exhibition industry.
“The sweeping changes brought about by the Arab Spring have not dented business confidence in the Middle East and North Africa region… instead they have presented an opportunity for broad-based economic growth, improve governance and initiate long-pending reforms in many countries. It is going to unleash new dynamism in the region and will bring in phenomenal economic growth,” he said.
“Though the political turmoil is weighing down on the MICE sector in the short term, the UAE, which has been totally insulated from these events, stands to reap rich benefits due to its stable political and economic climate,” Mr Midfa told the gathering of 400 delegates from 52 countries.
The strategic location of the UAE helps the country in presenting opportunities arising out of the region due to its fast-developing markets, young population and energy resources in a better way to global businesses. Mr. Midfa added to this by stating, “The UAE will be an incubator for growth in the region supporting further development of its neighbours”.
“Besides, we have excellent air connectivity, infrastructure, world-class exhibition facilities and above all a vibrant tourism & leisure sector… all of which are major facilitators of the meetings and exhibitions industry,” he said.
Mr Midfa also presented an overview of several industries that are key drivers of regional economies.
“Oil & gas, education, infrastructure, telecom, healthcare and food are some of the sectors that hold huge growth potential in the region. Regional governments’ push to move away from oil-based economies is bringing international spotlight on these industries and the MICE industry is the best medium to bring this message across,” he said.
Alberto Catala Ruiz de Galarreta, president of Feria Valencia exhibition and convention centre, said the current business, political and economic climate meant it was “difficult to determine in which direction the world is headed”, Spanish media reported.
He was quoted as describing the UFI Congress as an opportunity for members “to take time out, share information and strategise on the pitfalls and opportunities ahead for the exhibition industry.”
During the meeting, a panel of experts discussed the broader meetings industry and examined the role of face-to-face events in tomorrow’s business environment. There were also presentations from 2011 winners of UFI’s annual awards.
For the first time, UFI organized a researchers’ meeting at the Congress. The meeting offered research experts the opportunity to exchange information on current industry research projects, share results, discuss methodologies and elaborate future projects.
Arie Brienen, CEO Jaarbeurs Holding, Netherlands, who takes over as UFI president after the Valencia congress, said, “UFI is very strong. Bringing together over 570 leading companies in 84 countries is a remarkable resource and evidence of just how strongly our members want to work together.”
Expo Centre Sharjah, the exhibition wing of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, became a member of UFI in 2009. It is the first established trade fair centre in the country, hosting more than 20 highly focused B2B and B2C shows, apart from several other events. With 20,000 square metres of total exhibition space, it is an ideal venue for meetings, conventions, exhibitions, wedding receptions, presentations and similar events.
Sunday, November 20- 2011 @ 12:03 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.