RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council are witnessing a huge demand in the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions sector, said Amjad Shacker, acting CEO of the Conventions and Exhibitions General Authority, at the Saudi Events Show recently held in Riyadh.
The two-day event brought together event organizers, entertainment specialists, marketing and public relations professionals, creative agencies, field experts, and technical solutions suppliers for events and logistics from all over Saudi Arabia and overseas.
“Events act as a catalyst for the economy,” said Shacker. “They are great for networking, meeting new people, forging alliances, signing deals, and introducing new products and services.
“The impact is direct and indirect. Direct benefits come from venue rentals, fees paid to organizers, fees paid by participants, cost of logistics, as well as salaries and wages collected by staff organizing the events, to name a few. Indirect impact is attained from contribution to the gross domestic product in the form of air and land travel, hotel rooms booked, mobility solutions utilized by event attendees — such as ride-hailing services, car rentals, taxis, chauffeur-driven cars — dining, shopping and entertainment,” he explained.
Small and medium-sized enterprises across the world face challenges in the sector as competition intensifies. To counter such pressures, consolidation is the best advisable route as it yields strength and diversity in the offering while slashing overhead costs.
“Saudi Arabia has witnessed a 188 percent growth in the number of licensed events as compared to 2021. This is due to several factors owing to the strength of the local economy, the business opportunities in the country, the ease of doing business in Saudi Arabia, and the fact that event licensing now takes four hours or fewer to issue, whereas in the past, the process used to take a number of days,” Shacker said.
Eyad Al-Husaini, general manager at Dimensions Advertising, said that Saudi Arabia’s exhibitions industry is experiencing significant growth in order to keep up with Vision 2030.
He emphasized the importance of organizing events as it allows for the exchange of ideas, information, data, and experience, which all help enterprises achieve their investment objectives and contribute to the subsequent development of the national economy.
Ayed H. Al-Blaihshi, investment adviser at the Madinah municipality, said that organizing events would revitalize the economy on multiple fronts as “events and exhibitions contribute to attracting companies to the Saudi market.”
“We will see a significant leap in achieving the highest returns from the exhibitions and events sector,” he said.