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Key workshop explores potential of Oman’s exhibitions sector

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The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion held a workshop yesterday to explore the potential of the exhibition sector in the Sultanate of Oman.

The event was attended by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, Eng Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef, while several representatives from the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a number of companies specialised in the exhibition sector, and various government bodies, participated in the workshop.

Speaking to the Observer, the Director General of Commerce at the Ministry, Mubarak Mohammed al Dohani, explained the importance of the industry.

“The exhibition sector is considered among the promising sectors. A very significant proportion of companies operating in the exhibition sector fall under the category of small and medium-sized enterprises.”

“Additionally, most of the young individuals working in the exhibition sector are also Omani youth who are fully dedicated to managing such projects. Therefore, now is the time to support this sector.”

However, Al Dohani shared that the sector is yet to make a significant contribution to the GDP.

“The contribution percentage of the exhibition sector is still, to put it mildly, quite modest. It remains a percentage that does not yet reach a level worth mentioning as a contribution to the gross domestic product.”

Similarly, Naji El Haddad, Regional Director at the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry UFI, shared that it is a common trend with the Middle East.

“Globally, the exhibition industry contributes to the GDP by over $200 billion. While when it comes to the Middle East, the number is very small compared to the global figures.” El Haddad attributes this to the premature state of the exhibition industry in the region, and possibly due to the absence of international standards training.

However, he believes that the industry’s infancy reflects a significant amount of potential.

According to data from UFI, the exhibition sector generated approximately $1.5 billion in direct business sales and contributed to $0.8 billion to the GDP in the Middle East in 2019.

However, globally it generated around $141 billion in direct business sales, contributing to $82 billion in direct GDP in the same year.

According to data from the Ministry, the recorded number of exhibitions amounted to 146 in 2022, while the number of exhibitions in 2023 reached 143 by the end of July.

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