Index: Bigger and better

index2011

Index celebrates its 21st anniversary this year expanding its tradeshow with six product specific shows and 800 exhibitors from 49 countries. It is held at Dubai World Trade Centre from October 22-25.

Paula Al Chami, event director, Index, took over from her predecessor, Lu Buchanan, in November 2010 to oversee the expansion of the trade show’s profile in Dubai and launch the international design exhibition into Saudi Arabia in 2012.

She has been with dmg :: events for 11 years and was previously event director for The Big 5 and before that, The Office Exhibition. Working across a diverse portfolio has given Al Chami the opportunity to work on large complex products, as well as niche events.

“When I took over Index, I understood very quickly that the market required a place where inspiration could thrive. It is this proposition that has guided us in developing an already established 21-year strong event toward its next stage of development.

Exhibitors and visitors will now have the opportunity to see an amazing 11 features dedicated to six product specific shows, 20 free of charge seminar sessions and two conferences — unprecedented for any design show in the region,” she said.

Al Chami’s favourite part of the show is its variety. She said the sheer breadth of exhibitors that join the event from so many countries brings a great diversity and, based on the changes occurring in the mature markets of the west, the GCC remains an important part of the world for manufacturers and distributors to do business.

“The GCC has been able to recover far quicker than what we are seeing in Europe and North America where uncertainty still remains, particularly with talk of a double-dip recession coming. The oil rich nations of the GCC with its young, affluent populations have fared much better with GDPs being reported up to 10%, unmatched by Europe or North America,” she added.

In the last quarter of 2011, the most buoyant countries awarded real estate projects include KSA, UAE and Qatar amounting to US$4.3 billion. Of this figure, the highest grossing projects being awarded were the commercial and residential segments.

With interiors and fit out accounting for 10-30% of these project values (depending on the high end nature of the project), 2012 could prove to be a fruitful year after a cautious start to 2011.

“Index brings exceptional value to the market, which can only be positive, as no other interiors and design event in the region delivers the same calibre of exhibitors, innovative content and a large buying audience,” said Al Chami.

“The region has an affluent end-user community, which not many developed markets can boast, particularly with the vast sovereign wealth of the GCC. Its nations are relatively young and so continue to push forward with their infrastructure development plans. This region undoubtedly has an important buying audience, which is why Index’s One VIP Programme is so important in ensuring these key buyers are brought to the show from across the region to meet with our exhibitors.”

Index 2010 saw over 600 VIP buyers involved in 112 projects with budgets amounting to over $83.5 billion attending the programme.

Al Chami plans to bring further product development to the show next year and one of the highlights is taking the show to Jeddah in May.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest growing economy in the Middle East with an estimated GDP of $578bn, making it one of the largest in the world,” she said. “The availability of vast amounts of oil – 22% of the world’s reserves, huge government spending on infrastructure projects – budgeted at US $400 billion to purely manage its growing population, 70% of which are under the age of 30 accounting for 26 million people rising to 29 million by 2013.

Investment of $66 billion has been earmarked for new homes by the General Housing Authority and it is estimated spend in the next 12 months for residential interior fit‐out and commercial interior fit‐out will be $715 million and $821 million respectively.”

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