Great effort and planning has been put in to ensure that major exhibitions IDEX and NAVDEX can go ahead at the end of February in the UAE, as this report from host venue ADNEC illustrates.
The bi-annual International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 2021) and the Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX 2021) are flagship events for the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). Organised by ADNEC subsidiary, Capital Events, and hosted at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre – the shows are of vital importance to the industries they serve as well as to the local economy.
Held under the patronage of the president of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, IDEX and NAVDEX are organised in collaboration with the the Ministry of Defence and the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces.
IDEX and NAVDEX recently celebrated their silver jubilee, and organisers were determined that the 2021 edition would go ahead as an in-person event. Partners’ and exhibitors’ feedback had been enthusiastic about a return to inperson events.
The challenge was to make ADNEC’s first international event to be launched in the Covid-19 recovery phase a truly landmark event, with the safety of all visitors and stakeholders a core priority.
With global travel restrictions in mind, ADNEC applied to the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre to obtain a quarantine exemption for international exhibitors and visitors to the show and were granted this exemption in October 2020 – before Abu Dhabi’s borders re-opened to international visitors.
All visitors and participants will be required to have a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test. In addition, social distancing measures and the wearing of PPE is being mandated across facilities.
NAVDEX is expecting a number of naval vessels from countries around the world to be on display at the ADNEC Marina during the exhibition, as well as the launching of new naval vessels.
The conference (20 February) will be held as a hybrid event for the first time, both at the ADNOC Business Center and online, with artificial intelligence and advanced technology high on the agenda.
The event organising effort is overseen by the ‘Higher Organising Committee’ which has representatives from the relevant entities (such as media and official delegation protocol). Their aim is to ensure also that exhibitors meet the right buyers.
This year’s edition also has a new medical committee to manage and implement all Covid protocols and guidelines. The stringent guidelines have been issued in line with international and UAE governmental standards and govern aspects as diverse as food safety, stand build and car parking. ADNEC has developed approved safety guidelines in line with best industry practice.
For the first time, IDEX is issuing print at home badges which can be presented at either Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah airports for entry into the Emirate without the need to quarantine. There airports have been helping to arrange clearly branded designated IDEX queues at immigration. Participants will simply need to test again on Day 6 of being in Abu Dhabi.
Saeed Al Mansouri, executive director, Capital Events - IDEX tells EW: “We have worked closely with the authorities to implement a number of approved protocols and procedures that will ensure the safety of all our stakeholders and partners as well as the surrounding community.
“Throughout the planning process, we have been completely transparent in our discussions with exhibitors and foreign delegations and have been pleased to hear such enthusiasm that the event is going ahead 100% in person. We have been heartened to see the addition of five new country pavilions this year and pleasantly surprised to see that the footprint of the show has not reduced. Whilst there is a need to put an upper limit of attendees, our teams have been working hard to drive the quality of delegations.
“As the world is moving into a more hopeful phase, with the international roll-out of vaccines and the UAE being ranked second in the world in terms of vaccinating its population, and with the support of our stakeholders, we are confident that IDEX NAVDEX 2021 will be a successful and incredibly safe show.”