Gulfood to go annual from 2006

Gulfood will become an annual event from next year following the success of last month's 10th edition of the show.

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By  David Ingham Published  March 6, 2005

23,500 people from 126 countries visited February’s Gulfood exhibition in its first three days, according to show organiser, Dubai World Trade Centre. Following the success of this year's 10th edition of the show, the decision has been made to make it an annual event from 2006. “Almost every exhibitor and pavilion organiser surveyed said they were very satisfied with their success at the 10th Gulfood, and praised the trade show’s high-quality visitor structure,” says Helal Saeed Khalfan Al Marri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre. “The continuing success of the event and constant requests from industry professionals have driven the decision to make the biennial event an annual one.” This year’s exhibition occupied seven of the Trade Centre complex’s show halls, including the overspill pavilion at the rear of hall six. 18,346 m² of floor space were covered, a 73% increase from 2003’s figure of 10,599 m². The number of companies that exhibited was around 2000, a 58% jump from 2003, from 58 countries, an 11% increase over the last exhibition. There were 36 national pavilions at Gulfood 2005, with 11 new countries, such as Argentina, Armenia and Portugal represented. Egypt alone had 30 companies in its national pavilion and the US brought 55 companies to the show. “We have had a strong presence at Gulfood since the exhibition began and it has grown steadily and surely,” says US Department of Agriculture representative and pavilion co-ordinator Mohamed Taha. “The US food industry only takes part in major trade shows around the world, and as the Gulfood exhibition is the only international show of its kind in the region, it is important for us to be a part of it.” At least four of the exhibition’s seven halls were devoted to food & beverages, and exhibitors were generally positive about their experience at the show. “Following Gulfood 2003, our business increased by 100% in the region, and based on the response we have received at Gulfood 2005, we expect the same kind of growth if not more,” says Saul Abrahams, marketing manager for South Africa’s Orley Foods. Kiki Galanopoulou, spokesperson for Greece’s Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), adds: “It is a perfect show because all the Greek exhibitors have reached their targets meeting traders throughout the four days. “Of course, HEPO is planning to return in 2006. We are happy with the show as the set-up was excellent. Everyone has commented on the quality of visitors at Gulfood this year.” This year, Gulfood took place alongside the 3rd Middle East Food Marketing Forum, which included presentations and debates on issues such as food marketing, labelling and healthy eating. The next Gulfood will take place on February 19-22, 2006. “This market is growing so fast that there needs to be a show every year to keep the region abreast of sourcing possibilities, and to bring the best of the world to the Middle East,” says DWTC’s Al Marri.

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