The Dubai World Trade Centre, or DWTC, on Saturday reported an impressive year-on-year 17 per cent growth in event-related regional and global traffic. The region’s leading venue operator and events’ organiser registered over 1.65 million visitors to major trade-fairs, conventions and consumer shows at the DWTC during 2011. It also recorded a solid seven per cent increase in exhibiting companies that represented over 120 countries. The DWTC offered 35,071 local and international businesses access to 1,653,114 visitors lat year from over 160 markets across the wider region, and enabled a high volume of trade transactions across sectors — delivering an optimally networked hub with the ability to revitalise the regional economy. The record statistics highlight the growing value of Dubai as the region’s business hub and the recognition of its ability to generate critical industry stimulus through its events platform. “This performance is especially significant as it is complemented by the increase in commercial deals brokered at our venue through 2011,” Helal Saeed Almarri, DWTC chief executive, said in an e-mailed statement to Khaleej Times. “Exhibiting firms were visibly encouraged by the high-value business conversions and breadth of regional market exposure enabled by our events’ platform, and having witnessed tangible returns on their investment, we are optimistic that it will fuel even higher international participation in 2012.” The surge in reported attendance from the Bric, European and CIS economies while maintaining traditionally high Middle East and North African representation, and the sheer numbers of global conferences and conventions won and hosted at DWTC during 2011, substantiates the growing appreciation for and confidence in Dubai’s uniqueness and ability to create value as an international gateway for the region. Quality of attendance drives industry activity Industry leading events across strategic sectors for Dubai’s economic agenda that are also most relevant in today’s global and regional context — such as healthcare, food, ICT, travel-tourism, security, logistics and education among others — played a dominant role in Dubai World Trade Centre’s 2011 calendar. Overall, DWTC’s top-line and sector performance were positively influenced by the increase in attendance figures across all exhibitions, led by another tremendously successful year for its mega events including Arab Health, Gulfood, Gitex Technology Week, the Dubai AirShow, Big-5 and the Dubai International Motor Show. To drive international interest and regional investment into critical industries DWTC attracted new shows such as Edukex (Education UK Exhibition) and the IHRC (International Human Resources Conference and Exhibition) for the education sector; UITP World Congress and Mobility & City Transport Exhibition and TOC Middle East Conference & Exhibition for the Transport and Logistics Sector. Preliminary estimates of a successful first quarter for events in 2012 present a buoyant outlook as DWTC’s agenda remains centred on growing the sector’s estimated 2.4 per cent contribution to Dubai’s GDP. In the ramp up towards UAE’s bid to host World Expo 2020, a key priority for 2012 will be to promote Dubai’s candidacy as the city that offers the most integrated proposition and truly mirrors the essence of its theme “Connecting Minds — Creating the Future”. DWTC’s efforts through this phase will be aimed at building on last year’s successful base to further the established credibility with the global audiences — in terms of Dubai’s ‘destination-appeal’ to attract the visitor volumes and its capacity to deliver a harmonious experience surpassing any other leading international hub.