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What’s on IFP Qatar’s calendar of events for the year 2023?

IFP Qatar will celebrate twenty years of operations in the Qatari market in 2023. Since its establishment in 2004, the company has organised the most prominent and large-scale global trade shows in numerous sectors. In accordance with this position, IFP Qatar will organise several international trade shows this year, some of which it has previously organised, along with other new shows.

Starting with AgriteQ in March for the Ministry of Municipality in Qatar. This year’s exhibition marks its 10th edition, and the company will be organizing it for the fifth year in a row. Since IFP Qatar began organising the exhibition back in 2018, AgriteQ has Qatar’s largest international trade show, in terms of exhibition space, as well as the number of participants and visitors. It has also become the largest agricultural exhibition in the Gulf region, with a total exhibition area of 30 thousand square metres, with more than 650 exhibitors from 52 countries, and around 30 thousand visitors.

This year’s edition, which will be held from March 15 to 19,2023, at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC), is expected to have the similar attendance. AgriteQ has also been included as one of the officially accredited exhibitions by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) last year, the highest international reference in the field of exhibitions and conferences, with 795 members from 83 countries worldwide. The Association’s accredited exhibitions agenda includes 909 exhibitions from across the world. AgriteQ is the most recent show to be added to the association’s agenda, making it the third exhibition in Qatar to receive such international acclaim, following Project Qatar and the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition. This demonstrates the qualitative transformation IFP Qatar has achieved since taking charge of the exhibition, which is further underscored by the Ministry of Municipality’s decision to entrust us with organising this event year after year.

Project Qatar is the first exhibition in Qatar to be classified as an internationally accredited trade exhibition by UFI. The exhibition will mark its 19th edition this year, from May 29 to June 1, 2023, at the DECC, making it the most prestigious and long-standing exhibition in Qatar. It is also the country’s second largest trade event in terms of size and global representation, with the upcoming edition expected to cover 20,000 square metres and feature more than 500 exhibitors, which includes 300 international companies.

As for Hospitality Qatar 2023, this year marks its 8th edition, which will take place from November 6 to 8, 2023. The exhibition is Qatar’s first and most important event for the hospitality and tourism sectors and has played a significant role in developing and preparing the sector for the World Cup 2022. Its importance is likely to expand in the coming years, with the tourism industry showing great potential for growth. This is due to Qatar’s success in solidifying its position as a premier destination for family and sports tourism by leveraging the World Cup 2022 to demonstrate amazing and exceptional organisation of the championship.

This year, we are organising the Qatar CSR Summit, which is a joint project with Mubadara for Social Impact and is hosted in partnership with Qatar University under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. The event will be hosted in the university’s sports and events complex from May 16 to 18. The Qatar CSR Summit is part of the efforts to broaden the Qatar CSR National Program and has been hosted by the university for several years with the goal of enhancing the concept of conducting business in a socially responsible manner and providing effective platforms for businessmen and thought leaders to conceptualise and plan together, thereby encouraging establishment of businesses that implement the concepts of CSR and ESG.

The event will include a conference that will highlight the numerous environmental and economic concerns that are emerging around the world, which will drive the dialogue on increasing awareness and exploring possible CSR solutions to these challenges. The event will also feature an exhibition where businesses from various sectors can present their CSR strategies and plans, as well as highlight their contributions to the local community. The Qatar CSR Awards will also be held at the event, which honours organisations and businesses that work towards integrating the concepts of responsibility into their operations and business strategy in order to have a beneficial impact on society. Additionally, the CSR National Report, which details the successes of national organisations in CSR and monitors progress in social development and the Qatar National Vision 2030, will be released at the event.

Furthermore, we are in the process of preparing several new events that will be organised during the second half of 2023, in line with our objectives to organise five major exhibitions this year.

Which sectors are considered the most attractive for the organization of exhibitions, conferences, and events in the Qatari market?

We can consider that any productive industry with consistent growth can be regarded an attractive sector for organising commercial exhibitions and events, and while this is true for most industries in Qatar, it is not reflected in the country’s current state of trade exhibitions and events. To be more specific, the economic sectors in Qatar can be split into two categories in terms of trade events coverage: the first has an abundance of events, and the second has a questionable lack of events.

For instance, at least six exhibitions and conferences will be held this year in the field of construction and real estate, which is regarded to be excessive in terms of market needs and has the potential to hinder the size and quality of the events. On the other hand, there haven’t been any international trade exhibition pertaining to the healthcare or education sectors in Qatar, both of which are highly valued in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and are prioritised in the country’s development plans for the coming years. It further applies to industries such as IT, technological innovation, oil and gas, and many other. Furthermore, we have seen a surge in the number of consumer products B2C exhibitions in recent years, which differ from B2B business exhibitions. As a result, the event sector must be regulated in an efficient way so that there remains a balance between trade exhibitions and conferences in the yearly agenda and further serves market needs as well as the country’s strategic plans, rather than organising more events that are not necessary or fruitful.

What is your market share in the MICE sector in the Qatar? What is your plan to increase this share in 2023?

IFP Qatar is a leading company that organises various international trade exhibitions, conferences, and B2B meetings in Qatar. Having been in the industry for around 20 years, we have organised a considerable number of exhibitions, particularly international ones, with a sizeable audience and visitors, all of which have given us a significant competitive advantage in this segment. At present, we organise 50 percent of the exhibitions being held in Qatar while the remaining percentage are being held by all other businesses in the sector. Our future plans include increasing our market share by expanding and growing the scale of already existing exhibitions and increasing the number of shows held. We hope to strengthen our efforts to achieve various degrees of excellence and success in the coming years.

The scale of exhibitions we host is a major contributing factor to increasing our market presence, as two out of the three trade fairs we organise are officially recognised by the International Federation of Exhibitions (UFI), which includes Project Qatar and AgriteQ. The exhibitions we organise witness wide international participation of prominent figures from the chambers of commerce, export development organisations, ministries of trade, etc. We believe that the huge global participation in our exhibitions is what sets us apart in the Qatari market.

Do you think that the competition between the event organizers reflects positively on the development of the MICE sector, or are there outsiders in the industry?

The prevalent process of organising and governing in the industry is hindering its growth and development. Furthermore, the standards and foundations defining those who are authorised to organise exhibitions and conferences, are not optimal. In Qatar, numerous exhibitions are planned without any consideration of their viability from an economic or scientific standpoint. A clear vision that outlines the organiser, the event’s purposes, as well as the criteria according to which the event is held, is the first and most significant step in the sector’s growth and development. Without this, the industry will continue to experience fluctuations and will fail to achieve sustainable growth.

What is the role of exhibitions in promoting the growth of the economic sectors? is the role of the event organizers limited to gathering companies under one roof, or does it go beyond that?

We firmly believe that the catalytic impact of trade fairs and exhibitions on the economic growth are enormous. It makes a valuable contribution to virtually all the business sectors across the world, playing a pivotal role in boosting the growth of the economy. Exhibitions serve as a significant source for drawing in tourists and participants for the travel and hospitality industries. Currently, ‘business tourism’ has developed into a standalone industry that depends solely on MICE. Exhibitions further pave way for drawing significant capitals and foreign direct investments (FDI) as they promote collaborations and joint ventures between local and foreign firms, in addition to facilitating import and export as well as commerce interchange.

Furthermore, these events serve as a platform for promoting products and services, exchange of expertise, and localisation of knowledge and technologies. It further makes a significant contribution to the development of economy by creating numerous employment opportunities and supporting numerous related service providers that include contractors, printing and advertising businesses, and hospitality companies. MICE is one of the sectors that can offer a multitude of benefits for the host nation.

The event organisers, on the other hand, are largely responsible for using a methodology that matches supply and demand, in order to achieve the interest and benefit of all participants, including events centres, exhibitors, sponsors, and visitors. In this regard, uniting all the participants under one roof may translate the various roles we undertake as an event organiser which include mediator, facilitator, commercial, investment, and occasionally knowledge catalyst. Our greatest achievement as an event organiser is to witness a new company emerge from one of our exhibitions as a result of the collaboration between a local business or a Qatari investor and a foreign company, or to visit a project or facility by a company which entered the Qatari market through one of our exhibitions. The instances in this field are numerous to count.

What is the impact of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on the MICE sector in the local market in terms of attracting international participation?

Qatar has become a compelling destination for foreigners ever since the country hosted the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This has significantly boosted global involvement in exhibitions, as the international demand for participation in this year’s editions has notably risen, as opposed to the previous year. Nevertheless, we already received wide international participation across all our exhibitions. As the event organisers and regulators, we have been able to maintain and ensure the continuity of this momentum, contributing further to this sector in the country.

The Qatari market has been a magnet for majority of foreign enterprises and investors, and this foreign interest has further been boosted ever since it was announced that Qatar would host the World Cup in 2022. The market has experienced a remarkable expansion and development over the previous years and was forecasted to increase since the country was gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup. Following the World Cup, the Qatari market has entered a new phase with several different priorities, requirements, and agendas.

Do you have expansion plans to organize exhibitions on a regional level, or you are just focusing on the local market?

IFP Qatar is part of the IFP Group, a regional organisation working in a number of countries in the region, primarily the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, Iraq, and Egypt. We have two main priorities for the Qatari market, the first focuses on increasing the participation of Qatari national pavilions in exhibitions organised by the IFP Group outside the country, in order to assist Qatari producers and manufacturers in exporting their products to various regional markets. As part of this, we have planned Qatar’s participation at exhibitions in business, construction, and food industries in Erbil, Iraq, Muscat, and Riyadh. Additionally, we have included the Qatari national pavilion at the plastics and petrochemicals exhibition which will be organised by the IFP Group in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in June. We also seek to do the same in the exhibitions conducted in Cairo, Egypt.

As for our second priority, we intend to gather trade delegations from the government bodies of neighbouring nations, at the exhibitions being hosted in Doha and engage with the local exhibitors to discuss potential opportunities. For instance, we welcomed a delegation from the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce during Project Qatar last year. The delegation met several prominent exhibitors and visited a number of significant projects in Qatar. This led to the signing of numerous contracts and agreements with several local organisations in the real estate and industrial investment industries. For this year, we are aiming to host delegations from the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Turkey.

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