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‘Safest’ Dubai hosts AI conference as region eyes recovery

Dubai is the safest location in the world to host international exhibitions, according to a survey of 4,000 professionals in 130 countries by Messe Frankfurt Middle East (MFME).

The survey, which looked at the impact of Covid-19 on the exhibitions industry, explored travel and health concerns and the importance of trade fairs in a post-pandemic world.

People were canvassed from a wide range of industries including automotive, security, and beauty.

The study found 77% of respondents viewed Dubai as the safest destination to attend an exhibition post Covid-19, followed by Germany (41%), Saudi Arabia (19%), France (17%), and Italy (15%).

Almost two-thirds (62%) of those polled agreed that exhibitions will be more important for business (31%), or just as important (38%), compared to the past once the virus recedes.

Some 64% planned to attend exhibitions in the next eight months, while 36% had been given the green light to do so before the end of this year.

The July 2020 ‘Exhibitions post Covid-19’ survey was carried out by GRS-explori Research & Strategy and commissioned by MFME, one of the region’s largest trade fair organisers.

Last month the Dubai World Trade Centre hosted the AI Everything conference, the region’s first in-person business event since March. Showcasing the effect of artificial intelligence on the UAE’s recovery, the event included temperature screening, social distancing, and contactless transactions.

“As with many business sectors, the trade fair industry felt the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Dubai, which has a thriving exhibition sector at the Dubai World Trade Centre,” said Simon Mellor (pictured), Messe Frankfurt Middle East’s CEO.

“The purpose of the ‘Exhibitions post Covid-19’ study was to investigate how this global virus affected businesses of MFME stakeholders, and how we can address their concerns collaboratively with our peers. We will continue to run the survey over the course of the year and look to engage more parties as it evolves over time.”

Mellor added: “The good news for the exhibitions industry is it’s still a critical component for business success, as this research has indicated. Clearly there is an appetite for the events sector to pick up in Dubai, with this evident during the AI Everything conference at DWTC, which marked the return of physical events in Dubai.

DWTC implemented comprehensive regulatory protective measures at the venue,

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) said: “Artificial intelligence will transform every industry in the UAE and will provide wide-reaching economic benefits, while the MICE sector remains essential to both the UAE’s economic diversification agenda and Dubai’s GDP, as well as being a crucial driver behind the development of a knowledge-based economy and a self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystem.”