Expo Center Sharjah has recorded a 7 percent increase in the number of visitors to exhibitions and events taking place at the Centre during the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016. According to the Expo Centre management, 302,474 people visited events during January, February and March, including 12 specialised exhibitions.
The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry in the United Arab Emirates currently generates a total of US653 million (AED 2.4b) per year and is expected to continue growing at about 7 percent per annum until 2020. Overall, the GCC’s MICE market is estimate to be worth some US$1.3 billion (AED 4.8b) annually.
Expo Centre Sharjah’s chief executive officer, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, is currently chairman of both the Middle East and Africa Chapter the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and the Arabian Gulf Chapter of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).
Expo Centre Sharjah was the first trade fair centre to be established in the UAE and has been hosting international fairs and exhibitions since 1977. Over the years, the Centre has become one of the region’s most popular trade exhibition venues drawing exhibitors and visitors from all around the world.
Two of the Centre’s most notable successes this year were the MidEast Watches and Jewellery Show which attracted over 61,000 visitors and Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority, which attracted a total of 157,000 visitors.
Located on Al Taawun Street in the centre of Sharjah city, Expo Centre now has six exhibition halls surrounding a central boulevard, with a combined gross exhibition area of 26,000 square metres (279,862 sq. ft.) indoors, plus a further 6,000 square metres (64,583 sq. ft.) of outdoor space. A 200-room Novotel Sharjah Expo is currently under construction adjacent to the expo site.
Sharjah is also building a new 4 million square foot (370,000 sqm.) exhibition and conference centre in Al Tai district, near the intersection of Emirates Road and Mleiha Road. Expected to open in November, the new centre’s first major event is expected to be this year’s edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (1-11 November).
Source: Expo Centre Sharjah, various