Al Maddah: the event sector is looking forward to get direct support from the government, and the sector’s growth will provide around 200,000 jobs
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - Wednesday, May 13th 2015 [ME NewsWire]
Al Faraj: events in Jeddah are not benefiting from the presence of pilgrims
Foreign exhibitions and conferences companies cannot operate in the Saudi market without the aid of a national company
An online survey to identify the types of events desired by citizens and residents of Jeddah
The first sectorial meeting held during the current session of the Event Organization Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), witnessed a notable presence of female event organizers. The significant presence of women in the meeting indicates that they will get a wider share of events organization within the coming few years.
Firas Adel Al Maddah, President of the Committee, stated that the meeting found that the main obstacle facing event organizers is ensuring sufficient funding from the private sector or the governmental financial support to organize innovative and unique events not copied ones. Another challenge he said is to dedicate venues available for the events throughout the year. He explained that events’ organizers should come up with unique and innovative events to ensure their sustainability.
Al Maddah said that the event organization sector is expecting direct financial support from the government by providing exhibition centers and licenses with nominal rates. He noted that this will support the emerging sector that can accommodate visitors and interested parties.
He added that the sector’s growth could provide around 200,000 jobs within the coming few years, if it continues its rapid development with the aid of additional governmental support to provide some services with nominal rates.
For his part, Hussain Al-Faraj, Head of the National Exhibitions Committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers, stressed that foreign exhibition and conference organizing companies cannot operate in the Saudi market without two key conditions: 1- to have a legal representative (a Saudi company) that can obtain the necessary permissions and implement parts of the project’s execution plan including depositing all revenues in the account of the Saudi company in Saudi banks. In case this condition was not fulfilled, the permission will be revoked due to the violation; 2- the foreign company must obtain a license from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
He revealed that approximately 120-150 million Riyals exit the Saudi market every year without being benefitted from. Hence, the national events’ program prevented foreign companies from organizing events and forums in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) if they don’t fulfil the mentioned conditions.
Al Faraj added that the events in Jeddah are not benefiting from the presence of pilgrims in educational or commercial events throughout the year. He also said that this role should be activated to drive the growth of the sector, and create innovative opportunities, as most of the organized events are repeated and not innovative.
Mr. Abdulla Al Jahni, the General Supervisor of the National Exhibitions Program, gave an explanation about the work done on the program www.secb.gov.sav which represents 90 percent of the institutional structure. His explanation covered the role of the program in issuing permissions for exhibitions, conferences and commercial events. He also pointed that the new 12 million Riyals online portal of the program, developed in cooperation with “Yesser” the e-government program, will be inaugurated on the 8th of next November.
He confirmed that the program supports the establishment of a joint academy that will be named “Saudi Event Management Academy.”
Al Jahni stated that KSA’s ranking in terms of organizing international events was poor, as it ranked 83 out of 141 globally, which doesn’t suit the status of the kingdom. The number of the events held in KSA reached 370 events, where 48% were held in Riyadh and 26% in Jeddah, with the hope to reach to 1000 events across KSA by the end of the year.
For his Part, Mohammed Al Omari, Director General of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities in Makkah, stated that major events organized in the historical city of Jeddah and Jeddah Ghair, are a main driver for the events’ economy in the province that is looking forward for more quality events. He said that the commission’s branch is prepared to provide logistic support to event organizers, with the goal of making organizing companies the first beneficiary of the support.
Mohamed Al Hussaini, CEO of Dhahran International Exhibition Center (DIEC), presented his unique experience in organizing quality events through DIEC.
The goals of the committee were explained during the meeting. These goals were aimed to: identify the companies operating within the sector and their services; organize a biannual meeting to discuss obstacles and challenges; and meet the needs of the public in regards to the type of events.
It was mentioned that the next meeting will witness the display of a presentation prepared by a number of investment companies. The presentation will shed light on how to elevate the events sector on various levels by organizing major quality events with the cooperation of multiple companies.
The meeting called upon the public to take few minutes to participate in the online survey on www.eventssaudi.info to determine the type of events that Jeddah needs, so the concerned entities can act accordingly and provide the required events to the public.
Feras Adel Al Maddah