Project Qatar 2012, the 9th edition of the annual International Construction, Environmental Technology, And Building Material Exhibition, was opened at the Doha International Exhibitions Center (DIEC) on Monday 30 April. Two exhibitions that have never been seen in Qatar before, were held concurrently with Project Qatar – Heavy MAX, the heavy construction equipment focused exhibition and the stone-focused exhibition StoneTech in partnership with Verona Fiere, the Italian organizers of Europe’s largest stone exhibition- Marmomacc.
Project Qatar 2012 was supported by partners like Qatar Airways (Official Carrier); The Ritz-Carlton Doha (Official Hotel); Mannai Trading (Official Car); Katara (Official Project Parter); Netizency (Social Media Partner); and Bayt.com (Strategic Career Partner).
Now in its ninth edition, Project Qatar has come to represent the remarkable construction sector growth being witnessed in Qatar. As local and foreign companies vie to win a slice of the $250 billion worth of projects being undertaken in Qatar, Project Qatar has become a destination of choice for companies to showcase their expertise and cutting-edge technologies. Project Qatar has become a platform that delivers to every type of participant- large and small local businesses, well-established and nascent foreign companies, foreign governments and commercial bodies, development centers and research institutes, as well as construction consultants and service providers. It has also become a unique destination that serves not just connecting businesses, but also countries with needs to countries with capacity to solve those needs.
The show was inaugurated by Qatar’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning, HE Sheikh Abdurrahman bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al Thani., “Qatar has made giant strides in developing its economy and bringing it at par with other developing nations. Our work is not done yet and we hope to bring to fruit the development vision of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani,” said Sheikh Abdurrahman said after inaugurating the exhibition. “We welcome this platform and wish everyone participating this year, a fruitful and productive experience,” the minister added.
About 2,083 exhibitors participated at this year’s exhibition, which was the largest ever in Qatar. Project Qatar 2012 was 25% larger than last year, a substantial increase for an exhibition that was already the biggest exhibition in Qatar.
This year, Project Qatar offered exhibitors and visitors even more ways to get in touch and stay informed with the latest developments at the exhibition with the introductions of a mobile app being launched specifically for the event. The free mobile application was downloadable on all smart phones (iOS, Android, and Blackberry). The app provided exhibitors and visitors access to exhibitor profiles, sub-events within the exhibition, satisfaction surveys, and information on regional IFP events.
From 30 April to 3 May, Project Qatar 2012 attracted numerous commercial delegations, economic dignitaries and development experts. The high-ranking official attended the event to understand how Qatar in general and Project Qatar exhibitors in particular are assisting the transfer of technology to and from the region and having a positive impact on the economic development of the region in general.
Visitors and exhibitors who participated in this landmark exhibition were pursuing new contacts and forging new partnerships which directly deal with their business activities. During the four days of the show, exhibitors met industry leaders and discussed projects. “The visitors whom we have met are all ready to do business. This is an excellent indication of the construction sector’s health in Qatar. We are quite excited about being at Project Qatar because it gives us a completely unique view of the local market. “It would take any company months to generate the number of leads we have managed to accumulate on just the first day of Project Qatar 2012,” an exhibitor from the Turkish Pavilion said.
An investor who flew in from abroad to attend the exhibition, noted that, “Project Qatar is unique in the region now because it has become more than just about Qatar. As a visitor to Project Qatar, I find I have access to sellers and buyers from Qatar, leading construction companies from across the globe, as well as lesser known competitors. Here, I can see the work that a Turkish or Iranian company can do for me for a fraction of the price. It’s a great place to judge capabilities and forge new partnerships.”
A delegation from the Federation of GCC Chambers visited Project Qatar led by Mr. Abdulrahim Hasan Naqi, Secretary General of the Pan-GCC commercial trade body. Speaking about Project Qatar, Mr. Naqi noted that, “Events like Project Qatar are crucial for day-to-day business development of course, but they also serve a higher purpose. They are part of the region-wide drive towards restructuring our economies on a system that feeds off innovation and scientific prowess. If we are to fundamentally address the issues facing our region, we have to foster such platforms to ensure that we find solutions that fit our region’s needs and solve them head-on.”
Mr. Naqi noted that Project Qatar 2012 exceeded all expectations; “I have been amazed at the size and diversity of the exhibition. The volume of exhibits is matched only by the size of the projects in Qatar. The attendance was spectacular too – ministers of foreign countries, ambassadors, trade delegations, foreign chambers of trade and commerce, along with thousands of businesspeople- all meeting at one platform designed to spur on business. This is a success story.”
In his turn, Rashid Al Sraiya Al Kaabi, Chairman of IFP Qatar noted that, “As Project Qatar celebrates its ninth edition, it has become an integral milestone for the construction industry in Qatar. We are once again delighted to welcome the world to Qatar to explore new business opportunities amidst Qatar’s construction boom.”
Albert Aoun, Chairman of IFP Group, commented that, “IFP Group organizes and manages almost 52 events every year across the region. No event garners as much support and as great a turnout as Project Qatar. This is both a testament to need for Project Qatar in the local market, and an indication of the immense interest in Qatar’s construction industry. There is no better time to explore your project- large or small, personal, commercial, or industrial. We hope that all participants at this year’s event – exhibitors and visitors alike, have a fruitful and productive experience.”
Project Qatar 2012 attracted 49 countries from the Middle East region and from around the world including 23 country pavilions. Project Qatar was considered another success story to be repeated in the coming years mainly because the show was intended to provide a unique coverage of the present by showcasing the latest in the building industry and by offering fascinating glimpses into the future of Qatar’s construction industry by securing agents and new opportunities for most exhibitors.