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Growing UAE-Italy trade to boost MICE industry

The exhibitions and meetings industry has a lot to gain from the growing trade and business relations with the UAE and Italy, a leading trading partner of the UAE in Europe.

Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, was speaking after his visit to Italy to attend the Executive Committee Meeting of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) in Milan on September 10 and 11.

The UAE-Italy bilateral trade stood at Dhs. 25.7 billion in 2014, representing more than half of its trade with GCC countries, which totaled to Dhs. 49.8 billion in 2014. Bilateral trade is likely to see double-digit growth on back of rising demand for jewellery and industrial machinery, apart from agri-foods.

Mr. Midfa, who attended the Executive Committee Meeting as the Vice-Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Middle East/African Chapter of UFI, said, “The UFI meeting drew the who’s who of the exhibition industry from across the world, and contributed towards framing the general policy positions of the association. The event also provided a great networking opportunity, where the UAE and region generated great interest among participants.”

With the UAE accounting for nearly half of US$1 trillion construction projects under way in the GCC, the MICE industry in the country is on an overdrive, attracting attention from across the world.

Recently, the UAE also emerged as one of the most popular destinations for MICE in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, riding on its central geographic location, significant trade activity, a stable political system and advanced meeting facilities, among others.

He also highlighted the opportunities in Sharjah in the wake of new big-ticket projects such as Dhs. 20 billion Sharjah Waterfront City, Dhs. 2.4 billion the Tilal City and others, which will see the Emirate undergoing a dramatic transformation and opening up limitless opportunities for investors and businesses.

“The new mega projects announced in Sharjah are set to bring more business and investor attention on the Emirate, thereby facilitating more business and economic activities. Expo Centre is set to play a key role in bringing about this transformation,” he added.

Mr. Midfa also visited the UAE Pavilion at Expo Milano. The pavilion, will is one of the biggest after Germany and China, provides visitors from around the world an inspirational encounter with the UAE’s transformation into a thriving, world-class economy that attracts people from across the globe.

During his visit to the pavilion, he met Ms. Noura Mohammed Juma, UAE Consul-General in Milano, and Mr. Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Director-General of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).

“For Expo Centre Sharjah, Italy has been a reliable trade partner since long with almost all our shows having considerable Italian presence and support of several Italian associations and industry bodies. I am sure the UAE Pavilion will help in bringing more business and leisure travellers to the UAE and Sharjah,” he added.

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