Exhibition from September 10 to 13 to have all its usual attractions and the organisers are expecting over 100,000 visitors.
In Arabia, falconry started as a necessity, a means for men to bring food to their families. Bedouins would catch a falcon, train it and go hunting with it. As life became better economically, falconry turned to a sport, more and more people being able to afford it.
Trapped by falconers, and also losing ground due to urban developments, falcons became endangered, and the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan decided to do something about it. He banned the capturing of wild falcons in the U.A.E., and encouraged falconry with farm-bred birds.
Back in the early 2000s, most Arabs were reluctant to buy a captive bred falcon. To promote them, alongside the art of falconry and generally the customs and traditions of the emirates, Shaikh Zayed created the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex), which first opened in 2003.
Half a dozen years on, the exhibition is stronger than ever and Khaleej Times met with its director, Abdullah Al Qubaisi, to learn about the old days of Adihex and what this 12th edition
"When we first opened in 2003, Shaikh Zayed himself came to the exhibition and he instructed us to focus more on falconry, so for the next year we prepared a bigger show,” said Al Qubaisi.
"The idea was to promote hunting with captive birds, but also our culture, the deep-rooted traditions of the U.A.E.. We also highlighted different outdoors activities, from camping to hunting,” he added.
Gradually, Adihex grew bigger every year. As the only such exhibition in the entire Middle East, traders, artisans, weapon makers, horse breeders, even environmentalists from all over the region and beyond took an interest in the exhibition.
"Since the early days, Adihex has changed a lot. In the beginning, exhibitors were new to exhibiting and did not know how and what products to show and sell or how to best make use of a 12-square-metre space,” explained Al Qubaisi. "Also, we started with just falcons and outdoors products and equipment, but then we added the equestrian section, diving and fishing.
"Adihex also developed new rules and regulations, and started raising environmental awareness. Nowadays, government organisations select Adihex as a platform to reach their target audience.”
Ultimately, Adihex has become a tourist attraction.
People come here to witness a traditional music show in the evening, to experience a camel auction, to see some of the most beautifully hand-carved knives and firearms, to hear songs and poems recited around the fire by the Arabic coffee makers and to buy some authentic "souvenirs”, be it a falcon hood or an antique sword.
Attractions, this year
This month, Adihex will have all its usual attractions and the organisers are expecting the three-day event will attract over 100,000 visitors.
The saluki beauty show is back and so are the camel and falcons auctions.
The Emirates Falconers Club, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi will all be part of a heritage village style setup, where live falcons, saluki dogs, hand-made Emirati crafts and other surprises will be available.
"We also have something new this year, a Knowledge Zone. This is a small stage with multimedia tools to be used by companies and organisations to raise awareness about their ideas and products,” said Al Qubaisi.
"For example, the Environment Agency may use it to create awareness about some environmental aspect or a big safari company to explain hunting for big game.”
This year, there could be narrower walkways for visitors.
"We are not just fully booked, but overbooked. At the moment, we are still trying to find a way to get everybody in, so you might find some areas for walking a bit smaller,” he pointed out.
In terms of gross space (pavilions and walkways), Adihex remained the same as last year — 39,000 square metres. The actual exhibiting space, though, has grown from 14,345 square metres in 2013 to 17,000 square metres this year, meaning 35 more exhibitors this year, from 605 last September to 640 now.
Entry to Adihex is Dh10 per person, but parking will be free during the three days of the show, which will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. –
Sourec: Khaleej Times