Three more years of Big 5

DMG and DWTC celebrate the debut of new halls with three-year deal

The new plaza area hosted 4,500 exhibitors at the Big 5 party on Monday evening.
The new plaza area hosted 4,500 exhibitors at the Big 5 party on Monday evening.

This year’s edition of the Big 5 marks the first time that the new Sheikh Saeed Halls and arena at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and senior executives from show organisers DMG and DWTC celebrated by penning a new deal that will see the Big 5, Index, the Hotel Show and the Office Show continue at the venue for the next three years at least.

“In times of global economic challenge and financial instability, it is even more vital for corporations world-wide to continue to engage and interact. The Big 5’s international footprint clearly demonstrates that there is continued confidence in the vast opportunities available in the Middle East and we are extremely pleased to continue to host these world class events and strengthen our partnership for the region,” said DWTC CEO Helal Almarri.

Almarri and DMG vice president of construction, Simon Mellor, led a media tour of the new exhibition spaces – Sheikh Saeed Halls – explaining the roles they would play in driving DWTC forward as a major international venue.

“We’ve now created this huge outdoor exhibition space which we’ll use for live music, demonstrations and more; it’s a multicultural space and has already been so successful over the past two months that we’re now extending the area,” explained Almarri.

“It’s amazing – this plaza was used as an exhibition space during the day and, on Monday night, was turned into a party venue for 4,500 exhibitors in just hours – most places would take days to turn that around,” added Mellor. “It just offers an exhibitor so much flexibility.”

Incredibly, Almarri revealed that the three new halls and the arena, which increase DWTC’s size by a further 50%, took just six months to deliver from first idea to completion.

“You can really only do that with tight partnerships and a great in-house team.”

Both men believe that, once open in February, the DWTC Metro station will have a huge impact, not only in the way that people travel to shows, but in the perceived importance of the new spaces.

“We expect around 30% of exhibitors and visitors to arrive by Metro,” continued Almarri, “and there’s direct access straight into the new halls which will make them prime spaces.”

The DWTC chief executive office also revealed that much more was to come from the Sheihk Saeed Halls, with a series of mid-level coffee shops and restaurants to adorn the concourse levels and the boulevard.

“These will flow outside, with lots of seating for the winter months and there’ll be plenty of indoor dining areas for the summer.

“We now have 15 major spaces – including the outdoor area – and flexibility is really the key. Of course, we have shows such as the Big 5, Arabhealth and Gulfood which use all the spaces, but we can also comfortably run four or five exhibitions at the same time. We see it as a really mixed-use space: at any one time, we could have an exhibition, a gala dinner, a concert and a wedding held here.”

Mellor claimed that, from an exhibitor’s point of view, the flexibility of the venue, vast weight load and height (10m) of the new halls and the infrastructure of DWTC made it unique in the Middle East.

“It’s truly state-of-the-art. Nowhere else in the Middle East could accommodate the huge, heavy machines we see at the Big 5’s PMV section,” he concluded.

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