Fully Sharj-ed: Sharjah in focus… Features

Sharjah, the third largest emirate, is known for being UAE’s cultural capital and a hub for education.


The destination hosts The Sharjah World Book Fair, the fourth largest of its kind, welcoming 100,000 visitors per day.

Sharjah’s airport connects to more than 280 destinations worldwide, and much of the exhibition activity takes place at Expo Centre Sharjah, established in 1977 and the first facility of its kind in the UAE.


In 2016, the 28,000sqm Expo Centre Sharjah (ECS) witnessed a 65 per cent surge and attracted 320,000 visitors, a 20 per cent rise on 2015.

“What is remarkable about these figures is that the exhibition industry has successfully withstood the after-effects of low oil prices and geo-political tensions,” said Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah.

Since Expo Centre is the UFI’s Middle East/Africa regional office, as well as Midfa, the chairman of both the Gulf Chapter of IAEE and the MEA Chapter of UFI, Expo Centre is keen to raise awareness of exhibitions’ value worldwide.

Exhibitions held at Expo Centre include SteelFab, International Education Show, National Career Exhibition, Acres Middle East, International Government Communication Forum, Arabia Mold, Plastivision Arabia, Print Pack Arabia, and the MidEast Watch & Jewellery Show.

“In the last few years we allow in other regional and international shows that do not compete. We are very welcoming to do shows with others.

“We’re also planning a new hotel, a four-star Novotel with 215-rooms, in the next 24 months, as well as a new car complex for 600 cars. There will also be a new food court, a VIP reception area and a helipad. Meanwhile, at least 4,000sqm more space is expected to be added too.”

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Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World