Despite the short-term challenges posed by global macroeconomic factors across the GCC, the region’s tourism and hospitality industry remains on an upward trajectory as governments recognise the potential of the sector in enabling revenue diversification and job creation; subsequently investing in its development.
Set to be worth $36.7 billion by 2020 according to Euromonitor International, and with a number of global events that include Expo 2020 Dubai scheduled to draw millions of visitors to the region, the industry is in critical need of a dedicated hospitality and foodservice platform to support its development.
Launching during Dubai International Hospitality Week, an initiative endorsed by Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), GulfHost 2017 – an EME Outlook media partner – is the first dedicated hospitality and food services expo in the Middle East. Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which also owns and organises the world’s largest annual food trade show, Gulfood, the new exhibition takes place from 18-20 September, 2017 and is co-located with four other shows.
These include DWTC’s established trio of niche food events – The Speciality Food Festival, SEAFEX Middle East and yummex Middle East – and The Hotel Show, organised by dmg events, to enable the full spectrum of sourcing for one of the fastest growing hotel, F&B and tourism markets in the world.
“Not only does Dubai lead the region in hospitality and tourism development; in some cases it leads the world,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management (DWTC). “From major international hotel chains and restaurants to top celebrity chefs, and from world-class tourist attractions to the widest range of global cuisines, Dubai provides a reference point for even the most established of markets. With world-leading trade events such as Gulfood playing a key role in bringing more suppliers and visitors to Dubai every year than any other annual food trade show in the world, Dubai truly is on the hospitality and F&B map. Hosting Dubai International Hospitality Week and co-locating five complementary shows adds yet another dimension of excellence.
“Dubai is also the gateway for both the west and the east to markets such as India, Africa, Asia, Europe, and The Middle East; all enjoying growing hospitality sectors. GulfHost will enable buyers to connect with suppliers, gain the latest knowledge and source from a range of hospitality and food service equipment, all within the most convenient, organised and dedicated arena, and service their additional needs at the other four co-located shows.”
The growth of hospitality
A first for the region, GulfHost showcases the A-Z of hospitality: a full inventory of back of house solutions that include commercial ovens and culinary equipment, fittings and utensils; a wide spectrum of front of house elements to help deliver exceptional dining experiences that will stand out in a competitive market; and the latest café and bar counter solutions, products and services to serve one of the fastest growing coffee cultures in the world.
More than 2,000 exhibitors will participate across DIHW, with GulfHost alone hosting 16 country pavilions and demonstrating the global importance of serving the region. Major countries present will include Italy, Spain, UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Lebanon, Australia, Netherlands and Egypt.
Key exhibitors at GulfHost include A. Ronai, Ali Group, Alto Sham, Cimbali, Falcon Kitchen, Henny Penny, La Marquise, Manitowoc, The Middleby Corporation and RAK Porcelain, among many others.
With more than 40 years of operation in the Middle East, leading distributor, Rio International’s CEO, Abdul Rahman Zaki, said: “GulfHost comes at an important time in the regional development of the hospitality industry. Rio International has been operating here for more than four decades, providing top quality and innovative food processing and catering equipment to customers across the Middle East and Asia, and to have a show that can focus in an all-encompassing way on everything the hospitality trade needs is valuable for both us and our customers.”
A back of house global leader in commercial cooking equipment, The Middleby Corporation will present a broad range of advanced products at GulfHost. The Company’s Regional Vice President, Nabil El Baba highlighted the importance of the show for the US organisation: “As the world leader in commercial cooking equipment, it is important for The Middleby Corporation to be at GulfHost 2017.
“The growth of hospitality across the Middle East and neighbouring regions is gaining pace every day, and not only are we able to provide the most advanced equipment, but through our leadership in innovation, we’re able to help restaurants make enormous savings in both time and energy. This leads to better operations and increased profitability.
“And that’s not all; we also bring green benefits to their commercial kitchens which is key to sustainable success for us all. There’s a reason that our products are in one of every three restaurants around the world, and GulfHost enables us to broaden our reach across this key market.”
With the coffee market in the Middle East growing twice as fast as the global average in terms of consumption (Euromonitor International) – thanks to a multi-cultural appetite for the beverage and 40 percent of the region’s population fitting the coffee culture age demographic of 15-34 years – GulfHost will provide a substantial platform for coffee equipment suppliers and café owners to connect.
Bruno Pignattelli of the Cimbali Group, said: “As a global company exporting to more than 100 countries worldwide, it makes sense for Cimbali to participate at GulfHost 2017.The coffee business is flourishing in the Middle East, and understanding that top quality professional espresso and cappuccino equipment like those produced by Cimbali is the best investment that a coffee bar, café or restaurant could make. GulfHost is the right showcase to continue to grow our presence across the region.”
Innovation forms a key focus at GulfHost 2017, with a dedicated Innovation Corner showcasing the latest cutting-edge technology solutions being introduced to elevate commercial kitchen performance. The show also sees the introduction of the Gulfhost Innovation Awards, to recognise the innovators and disruptors championing new techniques, products and technologies within the hospitality industry.
Also taking place during GulfHost, in partnership with the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai, is the Middle East Food Forum, a three-day conference enabling professionals from all facets of the F&B industry to gain insight into the opportunities, challenges and innovations of their trade. Sessions will include franchising, business set-up, talent management and regional F&B regulations & policies, among others. A ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition will also take place during the forum, offering F&B entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to potential investors face to face.
Sunjeh Raja, CEO ICCA said: “The Middle East Food Forum is a relevant platform to run alongside Gulfhost and we’re delighted to partner with this key trade exhibition. Knowledge sharing is an important building block in the support and development of the industry, and our role in facilitating this complements the critical value GulfHost brings to the regional F&B industry.”
GulfHost 2017 takes place alongside the trio of segmented food shows: Speciality Food Festival for gourmet, halal and organic foods, SEAFEX Middle East, dedicated to seafood, and yummex Middle East (in partnership with Kölnmesse GmbH), the region’s leading international trade fair for the confectionery and snacks market.
The importance of Gulfhost is demonstrated by the strategic partnerships cemented with key industry associations in Europe, including the Organizzazione Vittorio Caselli (Italy), HKI Hospitality Association (Germany), CESA Hospitality Association (UK) and AFEHC Hospitality Association (Spain).
All shows are open between from 18-20 September, 2017 and are for trade and business professionals only. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be permitted entry.