Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality show, has confirmed its strongest global representation to date, with 120 official national pavilions set to showcase their respective countries’ products and services at next month’s show.
With 10 new country pavilions participating on this scale for the first time, the raft of additions represents a 100 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of new countries launching dedicated pavilions at Gulfood.
Taking place from 23 – 27 February 2014 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Gulfood 2014 has been extended to five days - following a directive issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai - in order to support the exceptional level of show floor business transacted each year.
Official national pavilions participating for the first time include Bahrain, the Basque County, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Qatar, Romania and Vietnam. Dubai SME will also make its pavilion debut at Gulfood, hosting a contingent of UAE-based businesses looking to capitalise on the unrivalled exposure the show offers.
Additionally, a record 4,500 exhibitors including more than 300 show debutants will participate at Gulfood 2014 - an increase of seven per cent on last year. The record participation comes as Dubai’s position as the regional hub for hospitality, trade and tourism has been accelerated by the emirate’s confirmed hosting of the World Expo in 2020, which will further fuel market growth opportunities for the global foodservices industry.
Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, DWTC, organiser of Gulfood said: “As the organiser of the region’s biggest consumer and trade exhibitions, including Gulfood, DWTC facilitates substantial business growth locally, regionally and internationally. In terms of visitor numbers alone, DWTC welcomed 1.85 million show attendees in 2012, 700,000 of which were high-spend international visitors - meaning the venue and its events contributed seven per cent of Dubai’s 10.16 million international visitors that year. With Dubai’s recent victory as the host city for World Expo 2020 and its role as catalyst for super-growth in the UAE and broader Middle East region, particularly in the food and hospitality industries, Gulfood has never been more important for helping to foster mutually beneficial trading partnerships across the board.”
While Saudi Arabian companies have enjoyed substantial presence at Gulfood, this year sees the first dedicated pavilion for the Kingdom, with 14 companies participating. A key market for imports and exports, Saudi Arabia’s food sector is witnessing annual growth of 18.5 percent and due to its rising population and economic growth, consumption in the Kingdom is expected to grow 55.3 percent within the next four years, to reach $70 billion per annum. The country is also increasingly looking for opportunities to expand its global reach.
“Gulfood is an important platform for Saudi Arabian companies who are looking for trading partners both in the region and globally. Local food producers, retailers, manufacturers and service providers are enjoying a boom, with market potential increasing every year. We anticipate a busy and productive week of business trading and relationship building,” said Ahmed Alhakbani, Secretary General, Saudi Exports Development Authority.
In addition to the new official country pavilions at Gulfood 2014, long-standing national pavilions are reporting significant growth in the number of participating companies. Benjamin Berry, Deputy Director Trade Show Strategy & Delivery, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said: “Canada is very excited about its exhibitor contingent at Gulfood 2014. The Canada Pavilion has almost doubled in size over 2013, illustrating the rapidly growing importance of the Middle East to Canadian food producers. This year we have 46 companies exhibiting, including a large contingent of beef exporters under the umbrella of Canada Beef International.”
Japan returns to Gulfood this year after a two year absence, with the Japan Pavilion introducing a wide variety of food and drink products. Masayoshi Watanabe, Managing Director, Dubai and MENA, Japan External Trade Organisation, said: “Since Gulfood welcomes buyers from all over the world, we believe that this exhibition will be a great opportunity for our exhibitors to expand their markets. The Japanese government recognises the MENA region as one of the high potential markets for Japanese products.”
To cater for more than 4,500 exhibitors and 80,000-plus trade visitors, the show’s lay-out – which covers more than 1,000,000ft² - has been refined into geographic zones to ensure easy navigation and convenient access. The extensive floor plan and exhibitor guide is also included on the Gulfood app (link) which is free for download to both iPhone and Android devices.
Gulfood 2014 is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. The show is open 11am-7pm from February 23-26 and 11am-5pm on February 27. The online entry fee is Dh150 ($40) and onsite entry fee is Dh250 ($66.65).