Sunday, June 16, 2024

Exhibition organisers join UK Government trade mission to Saudi Arabia – EN

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CloserStill, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), RX and Hyve Group formed part of the 450-strong delegation of UK businesses which attended the ‘Great Futures’ trade mission to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last week. 

The trade mission, led by deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden in partnership with the Saudi government, kicked off a year-long campaign to drive business engagement between the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). 

Great Futures took place from 14-15 May and promoted British expertise and capability in multiple sectors that support Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’. 

Representing the UK’s exhibitions sector were Matthew Butler, group MD at CloserStill Media and the current chair of the AEO; Chris Skeith OBE, chair of UK Events and CEO at the AEO; Duncan Verry, portfolio director for Bett representing Hyve Group; and Vasyl Zhygalo, MD for RX Middle East and portfolio director for WTM and IBTM events. 

Sponsor British Airways flew the delegation to Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District on a designated delegate charter flight. The two days were spent meeting with Saudi business and government counterparts at an exposition, featuring 800 delegates, exhibitors, 130 speakers and 30 sessions across four theatres.

“It was a great example of a trade show staged specifically to drive trade between our two countries,” Skeith said. “We emphasised the UK’s expertise in staging trade shows like this, every day of every month throughout the year, along with the benefits of aligning government objectives with our industry’s ability to enact trade, information and knowledge-sharing through business events and exhibitions.”

Vision 2030 is the Saudi government’s strategy to diversify its economy, boost productivity, and strengthen competitiveness while showcasing the KSA’s progressive ambitions, commitments and business dynamism. Five key ‘giga projects’, will attract $3 trillion in investment by 2030 to build the industries of the future

Minister of Commerce for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid bin Abdullah Al Kassabi told the delegation: “This event heralds the beginning of an extended and productive partnership focused on innovation, technology and our flourishing cultural sectors. We look forward to collaborating with the UK Government and the private sector to realise the ambitions of Vision 2030.”

The Events Industry Alliance, which works on behalf of the AEO, the Association of Event Venues (AEV), and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), is now in talks with the UK Government to organise a dedicated trade show delegation to the KSA.

Skeith explained: “The EIA’s primary objective is to gain recognition for the UK exhibitions industry along with our policy asks, which seek to incentivise growth, bolster advocacy and support, and remove trade friction. If we can help create Saudi marketplaces for UK organisers or help build new venues, grow shows or encourage inbound business from Saudi exhibitors, it will hugely benefit all parties.”

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