|More than 30,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors over the last nine years have benefited from the Gulf Industry Fair, organisers have said.
As final preparations get underway for the Northern Gulf’s largest and most influential trade fair, Bahrain-based Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions (HCE) managing director Jubran Abdulrahman said the event has developed into a highly targeted opportunity for companies and organisations marketing products or services from a wide spectrum of industries and associated fields ranging from oil, gas and metals to logistics services and industrial cities.
The annual three-day exhibition at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre first started in 2008.
“We may not have had huge numbers of visitors but the quality of businessmen who attended and their keenness to do business have been praised by the exhibitors,” he said.
He said that as organisers they had received plaudits from the businesses that have taken part over the years.
“They were particularly impressed with the number of serious industry professionals who attended the show.”
Demand has once again surpassed expectations, in terms of both floor space and the number of exhibitors, he said.
“GIF has been a good springboard and has shown that Bahrain is the right venue for business to business exhibitions and conferences for the Northern Gulf.
“The exhibitors were all pleased with the organisation and marketing of the show and we will keep up those high standards to serve them next year.”
The expo comes at a time when the region’s manufacturing industry continues to diversify and grow from strength-to-strength, with billions of dollars being pumped into new projects across the Gulf.
“Major industry players (58 per cent of the total), who were delighted by previous editions, will once again be present at the exhibition.
“Many were so impressed by the market response that they have substantially boosted their presence,” he added.
The upcoming fair has also attracted several new participants (17), according to HCE exhibitions director Ahmed Suleiman. GIF 2017 will have a truly international flavour when it welcomes visitors, featuring high-calibre exhibitors from India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US, and the host country.
Mr Abdulrahman said the number of exhibitors from outside of Bahrain demonstrates not only the fair’s growing reputation as the most important and comprehensive industry-related exhibition of its type in the Northern Gulf, but also the strong regional industrial market opportunities available.
Products and services will be showcased across a diverse range of industrial sectors, from aluminium, machine tools, industrial equipment and manufacturing to automation, metal, energy, logistics and metrology.
Strategic event partners such as government-owned Bapco, one of the Gulf’s leading refiners and pioneer of environment-friendly refinery technologies, will share exhibition halls with a diverse mix of established downstream industrial suppliers and dynamic market debutants.
HCE says interest in GIF among international, regional and local exhibitors is stimulated by huge industrial infrastructure projects in the Gulf.
“The range of high-calibre international exhibitors reflects the unparalleled business opportunities available in key industrial sectors such as petrochemicals, electricity production and distribution, iron, steel and aluminium,” said Mr Abdulrahman.
Running alongside GIF at the same venue will be forums, the first of their type in the region.
International captains of industry including representatives from India, Saudi Arabia and Germany, will explore the catalysts of economic prosperity around the world and examine how the industrial sector can emerge from recession and help increase the gross domestic products (GDPs) of Gulf countries.
The forthcoming fair will cover key industrial segments including aluminium, machine tools, industrial equipment and manufacturing, automation, metal, energy, logistics and metrology.
The fair also provides a unique opportunity for the operators of industrial areas and free zones to meet an interested market of decision-makers in the manufacturing and distribution sectors.
“It is essential as exhibition organisers that we recognise not only the huge business potential for exhibitors of our own geographical location, but are able to see the larger market as a whole, and take decisions based on the overall business needs of our clients.
“Market conditions, while challenging, are holding up well and we believe Gulf Industry Fair 2017 will build on the solid foundations of the event,” he said.
“Signs of recovery in some of the world’s leading economies and a subsequent rebound in oil prices will, if sustained, bode well for the Gulf’s industrial sectors for this year,” he explains.
“Therefore we believe Gulf Industry Fair offers unrivalled opportunities for regional companies to tap a fresh wave of optimism,” he adds.
He pointed out that this was a big opportunity for regional and international exhibitors aiming to raise their profile in Saudi Arabia. “The fair also benefits from government efforts to promote Bahrain as an industrial centre, he added.
The sharp increase in the growth rate of the construction sectors attests to the critical role of infrastructure investments as a major countercyclical growth driver in Bahrain.
The overall pipeline of projects stand at $69.7 billion as of early December, according to MEED. While the total was marginally down (-3.7pc) in year-on-year terms, it is equivalent to nearly twice the kingdom’s GDP.
The GCC Development Fund constitutes an important element of this project pipeline and has seen a major acceleration in implementation during the past year.