UFI Middle East/Africa chapter meets in Sharjah

SHARJAH: With the region’s meeting, incentive, conference and event (MICE) industry forecast to experience robust growth, a high-profile meeting of industry stakeholders in Sharjah recently took stock of opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

The high-profile leadership coordination meeting of the Middle East/African Chapter of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), Paris, held at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry last Thursday, discussed activities and initiatives required to be developed by UFI for the benefit of its regional members.

The meeting was attended by Humaid Mohamed bin Salem, Secretary General of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, UFI MEA Chapter Chair Abdullah Al Omran, CEO, RICEC, Riyadh, First Vice-Chairman Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, Second Vice-Chairmen Amer N. Tabbah, Managing Director, Sofex, Jordan and Hossien Esfahbodi, Managing Director and Chairman, IIEC, Iran.

It was also attended by UFI Board Members Abdul Rahman Al Nassar, CEO, KIF, Kuwait and Albert Aoun, CEO, IFP, Riyadh, along with UFI office bearers Paul Woodward, Managing Director, Paris, and Ibrahim Alkhaldi, MEA Regional Manager, Sharjah.

“The meetings and exhibitions industry has seen tremendous growth, which has contributed to the country’s economic development. Today, the UAE is one of the biggest MICE markets, and the number of events taking place in the country has gone up phenomenally in the past decade. I believe the UFI Chapter will have a big role to play in the future growth of the industry here,” said Waleed Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, Second Vice-Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, when he received the UFI members at SCCI.

The Middle East/African Chapter of UFI is located at Expo Centre Sharjah. The UFI is the prestigious association of the world’s leading tradeshow organisers and fairground owners, as well as major national and international exhibition associations, and selected partners of the exhibition industry.

“Frequently changing economic and geopolitical events unexpectedly throw up opportunities and challenges in equal measures. At the meeting, we discussed ways to take benefit of the prevailing market conditions and how the UFI MEA Chapter could help realise them,” said Mr. Midfa.

“We realised that there could be several challenges as well. Here again the UFI MEA Chapter could help its members ride out the problems,” he added.

The meeting also reviewed the outcome of the 81st Congress in Bogota, where more than 300 attendees from 46 nations gathered from October 29th to November 1st, 2014.

The meeting also discussed the preparations for the Open Seminar in Marrakech, Morocco, scheduled for March 23rd to 25th, 2015.