Dubai the safest place for international exhibitions, says new research

A market survey of more than 4,000 professionals from 130+ countries, produced by Messe Frankfurt Middle East (MFME), highlights the impact of Covid-19 on the global exhibitions industry, delving into key areas such as travel and health concerns of participants, and the importance of tradefairs in a post-pandemic world.

The study canvassed professionals from a wide range of industry sectors including automotive, commercial security, beauty and cosmetics. 

The survey shows that Dubai is seen as the safest location to host international exhibitions while nearly two-thirds (62%) agreed that as the novel coronavirus recedes and a semblance of normality returns, exhibitions will be more important for business (31%), or just as important (38%), compared to the past.  A further 64% plan to attend exhibitions in the next eight months, while 36% have been given the green light to do so before the end of this year. 

The study showed that 77% of respondents viewed Dubai as the safest destination to attend an exhibition post Covid-19, followed by Germany (41%), Saudi Arabia (19%), France (17%), and Italy (15%).

The July 2020 ‘Exhibitions post Covid-19’ survey was carried out by GRS-explori Research & Strategy and commissioned by MFME, one of the region’s largest tradefair organisers with major events such as Automechanika Dubai, Intersec, and Beautyworld Middle East among its portfolio of more than 16 exhibitions and conferences. It arrives as the UAE continues to inject confidence back into its economy; last month, international travellers were welcomed to the country for the first time in nearly four months, while on 16 July, the Dubai World Trade Centre hosted the AI Everything conference, the first ‘real life’ event at the venue since March. 

“As with many business sectors, the tradefair industry felt the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Dubai, which has a thriving exhibition sector at the Dubai World Trade Centre,” said Simon Mellor (pictured), Messe Frankfurt Middle East’s CEO.

“The purpose of the ‘Exhibitions post Covid-19’ study was to investigate how this global virus affected businesses of MFME stakeholders, and how we can address their concerns collaboratively with our peers. We will continue to run the survey over the course of the year and look to engage more parties as it evolves over time.”

Mellor added: “The good news for the exhibitions industry is it’s still a critical component for business success, as this research has indicated. Clearly there is an appetite for the events sector to pick up in Dubai, with this evident during the AI Everything conference at DWTC, which marked the return of physical events in Dubai. 

“Globally Messe Frankfurt has ‘restarted’ exhibitions with the opening of Intertextile Shenzhen Apparel Fabrics on 15 July 2020 in China, and we’re on track to deliver two of our most important shows in Dubai. These will take place with stringent health and safety measures to help keep our attendees safe.”


International travel

While 77% of the survey respondents indicated they may travel abroad for business by the end of 2020, much of this figure (50%) depends on the lifting of international travel restrictions.

Encouragingly, nearly 62% would attend exhibitions at their ‘home country’ and abroad, however 25% would only attend an event ‘at home’, perceiving reduced travel as better for their health and safety.

The MFME ‘Exhibitions post Covid-19’ survey can be downloaded on the organiser’s website

The Dubai-based subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, the world’s third largest tradefair organiser, is also on schedule to open two of its most important events in Dubai toward the end of the year and early 2021. Beautyworld Middle East 2020, the region’s largest beauty and wellbeing exhibition, and Intersec 2021, the world’s foremost security, safety, and fire protection trade fair, will take place 23-25 November 2020 and 24-26 January 2021 respectively at DWTC.