Posted on May 06, 2011

The Project Qatar exhibition which concluded yesterday, although a success, would have achieved more exposure had there been a restriction on the number of participants, local entrepreneurs said. While acknowledging the support extended to the success of the five-day event by the State of Qatar, Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), entrepreneurs feel that the event could have been executed more effectively.

“There is no doubt that the huge participation at the exhibition was a major boost to the event but it was doubtful if the hundreds of visitors who thronged the venue could cover even half the total area of the sprawling exhibition centre and its surroundings where the purpose-built exhibition tents were erected,” said a local entrepreneur who had a stall at the main venue.

The businessman also said it could have been better had there been a restriction on the number of participants. According to officials of the IFP Qatar, which organised the exhibition, there were more than 1,770 exhibitors this year, a staggering 73% rise in the numbers compared to last year.

“Instead of clubbing all participants together at one show, it would have done a world of good to the exhibition had the event been a little more product-specific, with a better and systematic material classification,” said a manager of a Qatari firm, dealing in wooden panels and interior designing products.

One of the main drawbacks that the stall owners faced was that most industrial visitors could spare very little time at their pavilions owing to the presence of a large number of firms offering the same, similar or identical products. “It could have been avoided had there been  better planning by which there could have been a ceiling in the number of stalls in each segment,” suggested an entrepreneur, who had a couple of stalls offering diverse products in the region’s tile industry.

However, the exhibition, said to be largest ever hosted in Doha’s history, is not without pluses. “Some of the top-level firms from Qatar, especially those engaged in manufacturing, which were looking for better visibility among potential clientele at the regional level would have certainly got what they deserved from their participation,.” said a German entrepreneur, whose lighting company was among the main local participants at the event.

Some of the local traders also felt that it would have been extremely beneficial to the exhibitors had there been a separate pavilion for the companies from the GCC. Even though there were not too many takers for the exhibition to be held in the mornings, especially in view of the weather, there is a section which felt those willing to keep their stalls open in the day time should have been allowed to do so.

“Anyway, visitors are already in the city and some of them would have loved to meet their customers in the morning hours. Thus their short stay in Doha would have been more productive,” said Edmund Damouni, a Lebanese-born Australian whose two companies participated in the exhibition. Many participants, it was found, were eying for their slice of cake in the background of Qatar winning the bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

source: Gulf Times