Dubai, UAE: Rapidly growing in stature as a globally favoured destination for business and leisure tourism, the Middle East is also rapid upscaling as a key region for hosting major entertainment, lifestyle, sports and trade-related events.
The leisure and entertainment industry in the region is set to double by 2021, spurred by strong economic growth, high disposable income, increasing domestic and international tourism, and rising demand for entertainment and multicultural attractions.
With a number of big ticket events such as the upcoming Expo 2020, FIFA World Cup and the Grand Prix tennis and Formula One races on the menu, it is not surprising then that global event organisers, planners, designers and equipment manufacturers are all setting their sights on this exciting region.
With a rapidly growing cluster of live events and leisure attractions in the Middle East including concerts, live shows, theatre, studios, cinema, theme parks, water parks etc. it has become more crucial than ever fornew and existing owners, operators and production houses to develop effective business, guest attraction, marketing and operational models that will enable them to achieve a competitive edge.
"As the Middle East grows into a major hub for events, entertainment and tourism and demand for world class events, equipment and organisers are on the rise," said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organisers of Prolight and Sound Middle East. "It is to meet this requirement that we are introducing the Events Creation and Entertainment Development Forum alongside the exhibition, to train the focus on current trends and developments in the field. The forum is designed to serve as an important sounding board and knowledge platform for regional industry professionals."
“The comprehensive programme will cover essential aspects of creating world class events of memorable scale, which are capable of both attracting visitors as well as add lustre to the destination or serve as a platform to showcase the region's culture and lifestyle,” Pauwels added.
The Events, Technology and Entertainment Development Forum will bring together leading stakeholders from the government, events, leisure, creation, entertainment and tourism industry to discuss trends and strategies in the industry, explore the challenges in developing world class events, iconic attractions and industry partnerships that drive tourism and long-term success.
The two-day conference commences with a panel discussion with Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, H.E Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, and Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
The three UAE tourism Chiefs will discuss what factors are instrumental in shaping cultural projects from a government perspective. Issam Kazim, CEO of DTCM, said: “Entertainment and culture are the cornerstones of Dubai’s Tourism offering; 2016 alone saw the launch of a whole host of new attractions such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Opera and Dubai Parks and Resorts including LEGOLAND Dubai, all of which have contributed greatly towards the city’s overall appeal.
“The launch of Saruq Al Hadid Archaeological Museum in 2016, followed by the opening of Etihad Museum at the start of this year have also added important cultural attractions to the city’s proposition, enabling visitors to learn more about Dubai and the region’s unique history.
“Over the years, Dubai has built a strong reputation for being a leading entertainment and cultural hub for the region, and the city continues to attract the best talent in the world. For instance, the show at the newly launched La Perle theatre is the vision of theatrical genius Franco Dragone, best known for his work with Cirque du Soleil and his sell-out La Reve shows in Las Vegas.
“These new cultural and entertainment additions are important because they reveal a fascinating side to the emirate, and add a new dimension to the Middle East’s leisure and entertainment offerings that many may not have expected.
“Audio-visual solutions play a crucial role in bringing these attractions to life, and creating truly immersive experiences for visitors. The stirring soundtracks in the background of the majestic Dubai Fountains and the visual effects with each note add to the overall performance, captivating the hearts of residents and tourists alike. Dubai is continuing to drive innovation in this field, and with more exciting developments in the pipeline, the city is looking forward to seeing further advances in audio-visual technology,” added Kazim.
Speaking of the importance of cultural projects in tourism promotion, Haitham Mattar said: “Cultural tourism is about the traveller engaging with local customs, traditions and cuisine that is unique to that destination.”
“From exploring historical sites that have played a key part in its development, to sampling home-grown delicacies and interacting with local communities, cultural tourism is about gaining a truly unique and personal experience that you cannot gain anywhere else.
“When attending global roadshows and events, we provide our audience with an insight of what differentiates Ras Al Khaimah from the rest of the region. The emirate’s authentic and accessible culture and hospitality extends further than our hotels, with visitors able to visit traditional date farms and learn how honey is harvested in the mountains.
“Through various events we organise across Ras Al Khaimah, the inclusion of cultural activities is included where possible, whether it be a traditional tribal dance, or cooking stations with local delicacies. In addition the emirate features an array of archaeological sites and breath-taking natural vistas, from golden sand beaches and awe-inspiring terracotta dunes to a green belt of date palms and Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak," Mattar added.
Prolight + Sound Middle East 2017 will also feature the Dante Certification Training programme. The certification programme provides an easy way for system designers, engineers and others in the industry to learn about the Dante digital media networking system, with in-depth training and promote their expertise. The certification program demonstrates your Dante proficiency to potential employers and clients. The certification program currently has two levels, but going forward, the goal is to add additional levels, as well as specializations by industry roles.
Prolight + Sound Middle East 2017 will also feature the return of Stage On!, the live demo area where visitors get an up close look and feel of the latest AV equipment from the leading brands, Prolight + Sound Middle East, is the fifth leg of the international network of Prolight + Sound events worldwide, which brings the latest technologies and services for the entertainment and creation industries.