Anniversary event is Middle East’s largest and longest running
Dubai Entertainment, Amusement & Leisure Show – you may know it as DEAL – celebrates its 15th anniversary anniversary event this month. Park World looks ahead to the Middle East’s longest running gathering for the amusement industry.
Organiser International Expo Consults (IEC) promises that this year’s show will be most diverse in the event’s 15 year history, hosting some 200 exhibitors and attracting a diverse range of visitors.
“DEAL serves a market with tremendous purchasing power and attracts representatives from companies across the Middle East, including Iran and Iraq, East and West Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the CIS countries,” highlights Abdul Rehman Falaknaz, IEC president.
Most of the show’s visitors are classed as decision makers and senior management professionals, from the leisure, entertainment, real estate and retail industries. But of course we mustn’t pretend the Dubai, or indeed the rest of the United Arab Emirates, represents the utopian dream that some speculators once promised.
Nevertheless, one associate of the exhibition reckons the picture isn’t so bad as some observers have been making out since recent developments. “Following a recent visit to Dubai I was able to speak with a number of operators and companies involved in new developments,” says Gerry Robinson from the Amusement Industry Council of Europe (AiCE). “I believe that those operating the family entertainment centres, especially in shopping malls, will continue their normal purchasing patterns and replacement of outdated equipment.”
Although the Middle East is a hotly debated region when it comes to leisure developments, DEAL has traditionally featured few forums, other than the trade show floor, for visitors to discuss what’s going on in the region. All that is set to change this year with the introduction of a dedicated DEAL seminar programme on the second day of the show (April 27).
The sessions will tackle a diverse range of topics including starting a theme park, managing a multi-use facility, staff training and crisis management. Speakers include Bart Dohmen (BRC Imagination Arts), David Camp (ERA), Claus Grimand (Profun, Abu Dhabi), Craig Hart (MAF Group), Frank Seninsky (Amusement Entertainment Management), Beth Standlee (Trainertainment, USA) and Simon Langdon (Cedarthree Crisis Management).
Social/networking events include a TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) Mixer, plus an end of seminar reception courtesy of ALES-UK. Other trade associations supporting this year’s show include AFEMO (Spain), ANCASVI (Italy), IAAPI (India), IALEI and AAMA (USA) and ALES-UK.
The evening prior to the exhibition will witness the inaugural meeting and official launch of MELAC, the Middle East Leisure & Attractions Council. Some 30 companies are expected to attend the launch of what will be the first representative organisation for attraction operators and suppliers in the region.
DEAL 2009 takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 26 to 28. www.themeparksdubai.com