DUBAI, MAY 22: The Middle East events industry is battling a “misconception” that internationally-based firms are superior at servicing major events.
Regional companies that supply events with human resources, creative ideas, technology and equipment are facing stiff competition for lucrative deals from European firms in particular.
Eyeing upcoming events in areas such as sport and entertainment, as well as the possibility of Dubai hosting the World Expo 2020, they urged event hosts to have faith in their capacity to handle large-scale projects and to support an emerging pool of GCC locals working in the industry.
The issue was raised at The Middle East EVENT Show 2013 during an ISES Panel Discussion entitled Believe in the Local Power of World Class Performance.
“There is misconception among clients that international event companies provide a superior level of quality to those based here,” said Adrian Bell, Executive Director at Action Impact, a leading live communications agency in the Middle East.
“It's a hangover from the past and we have to work together to remove that misconception and encourage clients to keep their Dirhams within the UAE.”
Sam Katiela, Managing and Creative Director, Mamemo Productions, said events to mark the opening of projects including Louvre Abu Dhabi represent significant opportunities for UAE-based companies.
“We have to make sure we work together to host these large-scale future events,” he said. “Clients often think they're opting on the safe side by hiring overseas companies. We have to educate them on what we're capable of and prove that we can repay their trust.”
Jean-Charles Durand, Managing Partner at Electra Events & Exhibitions, a solutions provider for exhibitions and events with offices in the GCC, said the local industry must collaborate to take on European competitors and better communicate their competitive advantages, such as smoother logistics.
“We have reached a stage in the Middle East where the industry has reached international standards,” he said. “We have the ability to produce events that can compete with those overseas.”
Mike Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Showforce, a company with a strong Middle East presence that supplies event support staff and services, pointed to an emerging pool of GCC locals with the technical skills to work within the industry.
“Clients are still bringing expensive resources from outside the region, but the talent and skills are here,” he said.
The third edition of the Middle East EVENT Show is being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 21-23.
The show is considered the most important networking event in the Middle East's event industry calendar, targeting event and entertainment sector suppliers in the region.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, made an unofficial visit to the first day of the show.
The show features three days of seminars, workshops and discussion groups in addition to an exhibition of event services such as lighting and sound, special effects, and temporary structures.
The seminars focused on topics such as strategies to better engage bloggers for events, how to manage crowd safely at events, and the economic impact of staging festivals and events.