Sharjah, April 21, 2020: The CEO of the Expo Centre Sharjah and Member of the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE – MENA Chapter), His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, called for redefining the exhibitions through the investment in the new technologies, such as the 5G communications, robots, and the AI technologies and the development of a new concept of the conferences, exhibitions, and events sector, stressing that the exhibition industry must be an integral part of the economic recovery plans.
The remarks were made on the sidelines of Al Midfa's participation, as a representative of the UAE, in the virtual regional forum of the IAEE – MENA Chapter entitled “Challenges & solutions and its impact on the exhibitions industry and the future of its employees”.
The event was attended by David DuBois, President & CEO, IAEE, Bilal Al Barmawi, Chairperson, IAEE – MENA Chapter, Dr. Zuhair Al-Sarraj, Head of the Specialist group-Exicon International, Saeed bin Salem Al-Shanfari, CEO, Oman Exhibition & Convention Center, Abdul Rahman Al-Nassar, Kuwait International Fair Company, Tayseer Al-Mallah, Executive Director, Saudi Exhibitions & Conferences Bureau, Mrs. Ikram Makni Hadri, President of the Sfax International and GM of the Sfax Business Development Center, in addition to the participation of 250 members from the MENA region.
The forum discussed the challenges facing the conferences and exhibitions sector in view of the economic repercussions of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, underlining the importance of providing governmental support programs and packages for the exhibitions sector.
The participants also urged the competent authorities to open the licenses for the events of the year 2021, in addition to backing the virtual events for the time being prior to its adoption as a supporter for the future events and calling for enhancing the merges and partnerships between the organizers of the various events and fairs.
Further steps should be taken
In his remarks, Al Midfa highlighted the impactful role of conferences and exhibitions sector in the economic life of the countries and in raising the national income and in achieving the sustainable economic development, underlining the importance of taking serious steps form all the states to come up with qualitative initiatives to help the exhibitions industry restore its influential role in reinforcing the economic sectors.
“In order to resume the events and activities worldwide, we have to make use of the smart and digital platforms to organize virtual exhibitions while focusing on the local sectors and activities of the exhibitors. We should also count on those who have good experience in video conferencing technology and encourage our clients to use the virtual exhibitions to promote their business, as well as to stay away from the traditional marketing methods and to use other tools aligned with the current circumstances,” added Al-Midfa.
“The decision-makers should realize that the exhibitions and conferences sector is part and parcel of the economic recovery plans like other economic sectors,”
He also shed light on the stimulus package adopted by the UAE government to support the government and private agencies and the individuals, as well as the economic stimulus package adopted by the Sharjah government for the economic institutions, including the Expo Centre Sharjah, pointing out that these efforts would help enhance the confidence of the business community and local and international companies in the exhibitions industry.
Al-Midfa concluded his remarks with the call for enhancing the communication between the various economic sectors and launching interactive webinars and sessions dedicated to decision-makers to come up with innovative and quick solutions.
Diverse solutions and proposals
The discussions also included a number of proposals and solutions, including the importance of communicating with the clients to determine their future needs, as well as creating a joint platform for the conferences and exhibitions organizers in the Middle East and North Africa.
Among the recommendations made were the importance of training the employees on the current stage technologies and calling on the exhibitions organizers to put their own house in order to join the international organizations and bodies to make use of their expertise.