Stock - DWTC
The writing on the wall says it's loud and clear - 'Bring It On'. It is an action-packed second-half 2021 that awaits Dubai's exhibitions industry. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Expo would have started its run from October – but Dubai and the World Trade Centre will also be hosting its high-wattage signature trade shows in what will be an action-packed month. The region’s biggest tech-focussed consumer event, Gitex Shopper, will kick off its run from October 26 to 31, while the flagship Gitex Technology Week will be on from October 17 to 21.

The message is clear – Dubai is getting back into stride as the Middle East’s hub for anything to do with MICE (meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). As for DWTC, “flagship events in second-half 2021 have been scheduled in months that align with their pre-COVID-19 dates,” said a spokesperson for the entity. “This includes events across our primary clusters - food and technology.”

Packed event schedules

The Gitex dates have slotted into place, and in the food space, DWTC will have the Gulfood Manufacturing, Private Label & Licensing Middle East run simultaneously with The Speciality Food festival and Yummex from November 7 to 9.

Again, the focus is shifting back to in-person events after all of the disruptions from COVID-19. Towards the latter part of 2020, Dubai’s exhibition industry returned in virtual formats and, when it received the all-clear, moved on to offer hybrid events.

3.7 m

The number of overnight visitors Dubai hosted between July 2020 to May 2021

Steady return

And it has paid dividends – between September 2020 to mid-May, Dubai hosted 3,136 business events that were attended by 813,832 delegates, according to stats from Dubai Tourism. Gitex last year was shifted to December instead of its usual October dateline, while Gulfood, Arabian Travel Market and Arab Health were hosted in February, May and June of this year. In all, Dubai brought in more than 1.7 million visitors between July and December 2020 from global destinations that were open, and an additional 2 million visitors in the first five months of this year.

For the second-half of this year, the emphasis is all on the ‘in-person” event. “DWTC’s events are held in-person – this has been and will continue to be the predominant model of its events,” the spokesperson said. At the same time, “DWTC’s exhibitions feature a range of virtual elements that accompany its physical events, with supporting mobile apps being the predominant digital platform that allows exhibitors and visitors to engage with event content.”

Plus, there will be the Expo-sized boost that all of Dubai and its many economic sectors will get to feel. DWTC and the Dubai Exhibition Centre – “the largest venue at Expo 2020 Dubai” - will host multiple business events during this period. “International exhibitors and visitors across all DWTC shows will have the opportunity to benefit from the value edition that Expo 2020 Dubai will bring during their stay in Dubai,” the spokesperson said.

Get the action back
In the July 2020 to June 2021 phase, Dubai hosted multiple events as well as all the latest iterations of Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) and the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) - all with precautionary measures across the board. "The recently launched 24th edition of DSS will further amplify the city’s position as the summer destination of choice for families and a year-round international events hub," Dubai Tourism said in a recent statement.