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Hotel development drives more Middle East export growth for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland`s exports to the Middle East, currently standing at …

Northern Ireland`s exports to the Middle East, currently standing at £140 million annually, are expected to show  continued, steady growth linked to rapid hotel development across the region.

The forecast was made by the organisation which brought in 20 Northern Irish designers and manufacturers of hotel interior furnishings for The Hotel Show in Dubai earlier this week, and has quickly set about the task to convert serious business enquiries into firm business gains.

Madini (Made and Designed in Northern Ireland) Hotelworks, which occupied ten per cent of the exhibition space at Airport Expo Dubai during the three-day event, found interest so strong that it immediately based a marketing representative in the UAE to follow-up on business leads.

“Overall, Northern Ireland`s exports are worth about £600 million annually, and the Middle East is our third largest market behind the US and Europe,” said Bill McGinnis, business development director of Invest Northern Ireland. “Exports to this region have grown from £30 million in 1994 to £140 million today. We expect the growth to continue, and we`re here for the long term.”

“The Hotel Show is not like other exhibitions,” he added. “The visitors are very focused. They don`t come here to pinch your catalogues. We`ve had visitors from all the Arab countries, and from North Africa, and they`re all very good quality people. Our designer was asked to measure up a Dubai hotel for new restaurants, and 90 per cent of our products on display were sold.”

The Middle East`s leading hotel supplies exhibition, which concluded on Wednesday night, attracted hotel trade visitors from 44 countries across the globe.

“We expected all the major European countries, the sub-continent, Far East, Africa, and of course the Middle East itself, to be strongly represented,” said Joanne Evans, director of Streamline Marketing, organisers of The Hotel Show. “But visitors from countries such as the US, Canada, Brazil, Vietnam, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Slovakia, and Armenia, showed just how far this event`s reputation has spread since it began three years ago.”

The exhibition was purchased last year by dmg Index Exhibitions Ltd., part of dmg World Media, and the new owners were rewarded by a record line-up of 180 exhibitors, a 50% increase on 2001.

Held under the patronage of H.H.General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, UAE Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, The Hotel Show was for the first time run in conjunction with the Office Exhibition, and the two events attracted a combined total of 5,650 trade visitors.

Dubai-based International Foam & Furnishing Company, GCC agents for Intercoil Sleep Systems, used The Hotel Show to announce that it has recently won a licence to produce world-renowned Therapedic mattresses. “This product can help us make a greater impact on the hotel industry because it is well suited to hotel requirements and makes housekeeping easier,” said the company`s managing director, Hassan A.Al-Hazeem.

UAE-based Greenline Interiors, which launched a new range of quality production furniture aimed at the high end of the hospitality industry, expects contacts made at the exhibition to lead to contracts for exclusive boutique hotels in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.