Travel and tourism sector contributes Dhs164.7b to GDP - GulfToday

Travel and tourism sector contributes Dhs164.7b to GDP


There was feedback from several exhibitors and thousands of visitors that were a part of the 3-day show.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

The entertainment industry in Middle East and Africa and in particular in Dubai is embedded with opportunities that arise due to the rising tourism numbers in the region. The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to UAE’s GDP was an impressive Dhs164.7 billion which translates to 11.1 per cent of the total GDP in 2018. A figure expected to rise by 4.9 per cent annually by 2027. Dubai alone witnessed 15.92 million international overnight visitors in 2018.

The Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) 2019, the largest amusement and entertainment show in the Middle East and Africa region concluded its 25th anniversary edition with multi-million dollar worth of business reported to have been conducted over the show floor. Going by the feedback from several exhibitors and the thousands of visitors that were a part of the 3-day show, the Middle East entertainment and amusement industry is expected to go through a another growth phase. Coming off a strong show, the show organisers revealed the dates for DEAL 2020 as March 23rd to 25th, 2020 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

According to Sharif Rahman, CEO, International Expo-Consults, “For the entertainment, leisure and amusement industry DEAL provides a unique opportunity in the market that isn’t available anywhere in the Middle East region. We have the exhibitors from all over the world that bring their latest products, games, rides and other services to this market. For the last 25 years we have worked and have promoted the industry in the region and have made sure DEAL is the most anticipated event of its kind here. Our Silver Anniversary edition was a huge success for the exhibitors where most of them were able to achieve their required targets during the 3 days.”

Saudi Arabia is another exciting market for the industry earmarked for rapid growth in the coming years. The recent reformations have created numerous opportunities for growth in the region. Many mega-projects such as the Red Sea Development and NEOM have been announced, while many other like cinemas and FEC’s have already come up in various parts of the kingdom.

Prakash Vivekanand, Managing Director, Amusement Services International added, “DEAL has always been a great platform for us for the last 20 years. It allows us to connect with the Middle Eastern region; it brings in people from the Asian continent as well, and so it gives us a mixed audience at the show. This year we exhibited a design stand where we created fun spaces and offered design solutions for upcoming entrepreneurs.

This year’s show has been better than most years. We had a show and were able to meet with many customers from the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, as well as a great number from Saudi Arabia.”

The special show saw 300+ exhibitors from close to 40 countries exhibited and vie for the thousands of visitors that came from over 100 plus countries. From the exhibitors there were 70 that had participated in DEAL for the first time this year.

This year saw the many new technology companies including drones, robotics, VR, holographic arcade games that enthralled and captivated the Middle East audience.

According to Nabil Kassim, Founder & CEO, Warehouse of Games, “This year at DEAL, Warehouse of Games is proud to have the biggest booth. We’ve been attending the DEAL show for over 20 years now, and this year, we showed a new VR — based product with Hologate. We also had 19 other games which offered a lot of exciting experiences. The DEAL show is key to our success as this is where we display all our new products. We feel market conditions are only improving in the region and we hope to be more successful in the coming years.”

DEAL 2019 also saw the first ever US Pavilion in the history of the show. During the show, Shakir Farsakh, the Principal Commercial Officer in Dubai for the US and Foreign Commercial Service, the trade and investment promotion arm of the US government addressed companies from the US pavilion at DEAL 2019. These entertainment giants from the US were provided with an overview of the UAE market and he also elaborated the support system that his office can extend within this region.

MENALAC along with DEAL 2019 held the Leisure, Entertainment & Attractions Conference 2019. The first day of the conference, aptly titled CEO Conclave due to the several CEOs and industry stakeholders from across the globe in attendance, was focused on the status of the Mena leisure industry.

The keynote speaker for the day was Bill Ernest, CEO, Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN) who took everyone through the current state of the market in Saudi Arabia and the various opportunities that have risen due to the recent changes in the Kingdom. The second day was more focused on the safety for themeparks, waterparks, FEC’s and play areas.

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