As Bahrain International Exhibition and Conference Centre (BIEC) gears up for its biggest event of the year, figures show there has been little effect from the economic downturn.
Hassan Jaffar Mohamed, acting chief executive of BIEC and the Bahrain Exhibition and Conference Authority, said there had been 280,000 visitors through the doors to the end of September compared with 235,000 for last year.
And with Jewellery Arabia taking place from November 17 to 21 this is likely to increase substantially.
The show, which is the biggest on the BIEC calendar, takes over all 16,000sq m of available space in the centre itself as well as making use of a 2,000sq m tent and draws visitors from across the Gulf and further afield.
And as well as many regular exhibitors the venue has just hosted the first Offshore Middle East conference to be held in Bahrain and in December it will welcome the 21st Congress of the Arab Division of the International Academy of Pathology.
“However organisers are also taking note of the fact that Bahrain is the gateway to the rich northern Gulf market.
“There’s a niche here in terms of culture, environment, flexibility and the management of the centre, all of which is what helps us to attract new clients.
“Yes there are some events which have fallen victim to the recession but others have taken their place, and though we had slightly fewer exhibitors than last year, we actually had more visitors and we are taking bookings 2011 and 2012 as well has having much of next year already confirmed including various new exhitions.”
BIEC also has the capacity to run more than one event at a time, which has helped to keep business buoyant.
Mohamed added: “It is not unusual to be running three concurrent events, we have five conference halls and a number of conference suites so we can be flexible on both timing and space. Flexibility is all important in this market.”
He added that the centre and BECA have set up Team Bahrain working closely with the tourism industry, the Ministry, the Chamber of Commerce, hotels, the Economic Development Board, Gulf Air and other interested parties to promote Bahrain as a MICE industry hub which will increase business even further.
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