In my Comment page in the last edition of Gulf Fire, I optimistically looked forward to a return to some normality as regards forthcoming exhibitions, seminars and the like, plus the travel to the Middle East involved to get the fire profession and industry going again after the long Covid pandemic shutdown.
As I write, things look far more positive on all counts with two major, yet separate, events. The first of these is the imminence of the much-anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai UAE commencing on 1 October 2021 which will run until the end of March 2022. Held for the first time in the Middle East, this five-yearly globally supported gathering will surely herald a return to a level of normal business activity much missed by us all for some 18 months of pandemic lockdown.
Expo 2020 Dubai UAE will showcase real solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges in the areas of sustainability, mobility, opportunity, people and the planet. There will certainly be elements within the event that are relevant to fire safety, protection and firefighting & rescue. The Expo 2020 Dubai UAE area will cover some 438 hectares (1,080 acres) and is expected to attract 25 million visitors over the six months of the show.
Expo 2020 Dubai UAE is especially critical to Dubai as the Middle East’s financial hub, whose economic model relies heavily on sectors that are driven by consumer spending, such as the hospitality, luxury retail and travel sectors. For Expo 2020 Dubai UAE to achieve its planned 25 million visitors over the six-month period of the event is challenging, to say the least, but there appears to be a broad consensus that millions will attend the show which could have a significant impact on the economy. See www.expo2020dubai.com for more information.
As if to emphasise the Arab optimism in the post-Covid lockdown period, Kuwait is expected to return to normal in mid-October amid a decline in infection and death rates. An official source confirmed that the occupancy of intensive care was currently at its lowest level, plus a steady growth and benefit of the vaccination rate. The source said that Kuwait plans to move to the fifth phase of the plan to return to normal life by mid-October, in keeping with the scheme approved by the Kuwaiti Cabinet at the outbreak of the pandemic. The source expected wedding and event halls will be open for fully vaccinated people: it will be business as usual for health clubs, conferences, exhibitions and training courses, and the number of incoming flights will be increased.
During the forthcoming months of this year, the Gulf Fire team will be earnestly looking forward to the Intersec 2022 show being staged on 18 to 20 January. This 23rd annual gathering has steadily grown to become a very significant date on the global fire industry calendar, and the show has indeed developed into one of the largest world-renowned gatherings of its kind.
The January 2022 edition is expected to break all records for the organisers, Messe Frankfurt Middle East. The January 2020 edition attracted over 33,000 visitors, with a record 1,100 exhibitors from 135 countries showing a wide range of fire protection, firefighting & rescue vehicles and equipment, together with conferences and other activities during the concentrated three days of the show.
The Patron of Intersec, His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum earlier offered a heartfelt message for participants to the annual three-day event:
‘For more than 20 years, Intersec has played a pivotal role in the development of the international security, safety and fire protection industries, and its relevance only grows stronger as we together chart a course toward a post-pandemic world.
‘We welcome attendees from across the globe to Intersec’s 23rd edition at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where they can reconnect and position themselves for a commercially successful start to the year.
‘Dubai is Safe, Dubai is Secure, Dubai is Open, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to their second home in January 2022.’
More information is available at: www.intersecexpo.com.
Pre-Covid economic projections put the Middle East’s fire-related market for firefighting vehicles and equipment, plus active and passive building fire protection systems, to be worth in the region of US $3 billion by 2024, reflecting something like an 8% annual growth.
Post lockdown, the real effect of what this means for the future fire protection and safety industry in the Gulf remains to be seen, but as indications from the countries that have been able to commence early vaccinations continue to be very positive for the recovery of economies, a progressive return to near-full commercial capacity and activity appears likely.
Gulf Fire has been a Key Media Partner of Intersec Expo since the launch of the magazine in 2016, and the January 2022 edition of Gulf Fire will showcase the 2022 Intersec event. The MDM Publications team is proud of our strong relationship with the annual Intersec event and its organisers Messe Frankfurt Middle East. I like to reflect that in a modest sense, the growth of Gulf Fire since its inception reflects something of the impressive growth of the Intersec show over past years.
Looking ahead to both Expo 2020 Dubai UAE and 2022 Intersec, let us hope for safer and brighter times during which our profession and industry can regain a forward momentum that has long been missing these past frustrating months of the pandemic.