Interview with MR. Wilbert J. Heijmans
Exhibition Director – Deutsche Messe Dubai Branch
Kohan Journal: What will be the differences between DOMOTEX ME 2008 and past 2 years? Why it is going to be held earlier than last year.
The main difference is the broader range of products to be presented. The main segments are still hand-made and machine-made carpets, but wood and laminate flooring will be presented more dominant than previous years. This is in accordance with the market trend. Wood and laminate flooring is more required in new residential areas catering for Western expats. Also boutique hotels and bars tend to use more wood and laminate flooring.
The activities will be more prominent: Designers Corner is a new activity for designers and architects. Design floors will be presented by exhibitors at special stands, at a lounge and in specialized seminars. 7 exhibitors and the American University in Dubai (department of Interior Design) will be welcoming designers and architects.
Creative Flooring is an activity to demonstrate how to lay a floor. 2 trainers from the Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) from the UK will give demonstrations all days. The themes will be Office Floor and Hotel Floor.
The show will be held 2 weeks earlier to match the region’s business calendar better. The timing of delivery before Ramadan is better. Also DOMOTEX Middle East will now be held together with designer shows by Messe Frankfurt: Light ME, ISH Kitchen&Bath, Garden & landscaping ME.
Kohan Journal: Generally what is your evaluation of DOMOTEX ME and what is the necessity of holding it? Does the Middle East area have the potential of becoming the pole of global machine-made carpet?
DOMOTEX Middle East is held to cater for the growing needs of carpets and floor coverings in the MENA region. The construction boom is getting bigger and bigger and also the production of carpets in the region is blossoming. The scope for visitors stays the MENA region.
Kohan Journal: What is your prediction about the number of exhibitors and visitors of this exhibition comparing to 2007?
In terms of number of exhibitors we will have the same amount. As said before the diversity is wider. This is due to the fact that we couldn’t get more space in the Trade Centre. The venue is almost booked out for the coming 2 years and space is scarce. This shows how successful the exhibition industry is in Dubai. For the visitors we again expect a double-digit growth. The growth in visitors from 2006 to 2007 was 22%. In total we welcomed 6,236 visitors in 2007. For 2008 we expect between 7,000 and 8,000 visitors.
The promotion has been further increased and the brand name DOMOTEX is further established in the region!
Kohan Journal: In your view how have been the effects of holding DOMOTEX ME exhibition on the volume of commercial exchanges of floor coverings especially in the Middle Eastern region?
We believe the show gave an extra boost to the interaction between flooring buyers and suppliers. The buyers got a better impression of the available supply in the market and also the use of flooring during events like Creative Flooring. The extra dimension that DOMOTEX Middle East brought has stimulated buyers to source more. Also, the trend to use more wooden and laminate flooring has been picked up well. You now even hear property developers advertising on the radio that their property has wooden flooring!
Kohan Journal: Considering the reduction of the number of Emirate exhibitors and visitors in 2007 against the first year of holding this exhibition, will this procedure continue this year?
The number of visitors from the UAE has INCREASED from 2006 to 2007. In 2006 we had in total 5,200 visitors of which 3,536 came from the GCC. From this the majority was resident in the UAE (approx. 60%). In 2007 we welcomed 6,326 visitors of which 71% was from the GCC (= 4,492). Also, here the majority (approx. 60%) came from the UAE.
We expect the number of Emirate visitors will increase again with over 20%.
The number of local exhibitors decreased slightly from 2006 to 2007. The main reason is that we had more international exhibitors that came direct as exhibitors. A few local representatives had a presentation at the stand of their supplier. This reduced the number of UAE exhibitors in our statistics. For this year we have a few newcomers like MTE that are leading agents in the market. Therefore the number and space by UAE exhibitors will be higher.
Kohan Journal: Considering that DOMOTEX Hanover is held at the beginning of each year, it seems that the role of this exhibition is more highlighted than other ones in leading floor covering markets (in terms of style, design and color) what is your opinion?
DOMOTEX Hanover is the leading show for flooring. World premieres are launched in Hanover each year. The other shows in the DOMOTEX family will bring these innovations to emerging markets like China and the Middle East.