Bernard Walsh, managing director, DMG Worldwide, organiser of the Big 5, talks about this year's show and why a PMV Expo has been added for the first time.
Big 5, the regional construction show held in Dubai, has grown so much, it will fill every last square metre of the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, and then some.
"Last year we used every single bit [of space], it is a bit bigger as we have squeezed in a few metres, but in essence we have maxed out," said Bernard Walsh, managing director, DMG Worldwide. "So we are anxiously waiting for the new exhibition centre to open in 2010 in Jebel Ali. The first phase of which will be double the size of the present complex."
"I have said that our target that first year, would be to fill that entire new exhibition centre, which in effect means Big 5 would double in one year. Which is quite ambitious. But we have long waiting lists now, not just companies, but countries as well, it is quite embarrassing really. These are countries who want to come here and do business. And a trade show is a shop window for a region, it is often the first experience an overseas company has of this part of the world."
Since the Big 5 is 'maxed out', the new addition to the show, a specialist PMV Expo, will be on site at the Airport Expo, with shuttle buses linking it to the main event. Space restriction at the other venues had restrained the desire to do a show catering to the PMV market. Eventually the demand grew too big to sideline, so plans to introduce the show in 2010 had to be brought forward.
"It has been fairly obvious for some time and we have been conscious for some time that we weren't satisfying that at all," said Walsh. "Physically there was no space - for this sort of event you needed lots of open air space. And that is not possible at the Trade Centre, so we have reluctantly had to keep it on the back burner.
"The long-term plan was to use the new centre that would be part of the new airport, so there would be plenty of open air space there. So we were always going to do it in 2010, but so many people were complaining - there have been quite a few companies desperate for a presence. In the meantime we are launching PMV this year at the Airport Expo, which has outdoor space. Arguably, it isn't an ideal solution as we would prefer it to be together but we have been pleasantly surprised. Already it is a significant event."
The airport venue isn't limited by hall space and Walsh sees the sales as proof of demand.
"The net square meter is 11000m2, that is net, not gross. I am talking about purely what we sold. Given that the average size of the show is approximately 4000m2 then that doesn't really compare too badly. So clearly the need for it has been proved. And they are still selling, so it could end up closer to 12000. Which may well be the biggest new event in Dubai."