Expo Centre Sharjah has recorded a 7 per cent increase in the number of visitors coming to its exhibitions and events during the first quarter of 2017, in comparison to the number of visitors that came during the same period in 2016. According to the Expo Centre management, 302,474 people visited the Centre’s events, including 12 specialised exhibitions, in January, February and March. The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry in the United Arab Emirates currently generates a total of $653 million (AED 2.4b) per year and is expected to continue growing at about 7 per cent per annum until 2020. Overall, the GCC’s MICE market is estimated to be worth some $1.3 billion (AED 4.8b) annually.
Located on Al Taawun Street in the centre of Sharjah city, the Expo Centre now has 6 exhibition halls surrounding a central boulevard, with a combined gross exhibition area of 26,000 square metres (279,862 sq. ft.) indoors, plus a further 6,000 square metres (64,583 sq. ft.) of outdoor space. A 200-room Novotel Sharjah Expo is currently under construction adjacent to the expo site. Sharjah is also building a new 370,000 square metre (4 million sq. ft.) exhibition and conference centre in Al Tai district, near the intersection of Emirates Road and Mleiha Road. Expected to open in November, the new centre’s first major event is going to be this year’s edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (1-11 November).