It is hard to believe it has only been one year since I returned to Dubai from the US. We packed some much into 2016, launches, acquisitions, brand extensions. It was a fantastic year when despite difficult economic conditions with the help of our partners, exhibitors and visitors, we once again surpassed expectations and exceeded our own ambitious goals.
As we move into 2017 the exciting year we have ahead is already well under way. HVAC R Expo Saudi, FM Expo Saudi and Saudi Clean Expo, just a few days away from opening the doors, are the first of many events taking place over the next 12 months that are the result of our hard work taking proven products such as The Big 5, Hotel Show and Index and fine tuning them for new markets where there is a huge opportunity for growth.
There will be many more examples of us leveraging our strongest brands to create new events in the months ahead. We are working on our relationships with exhibitors and partners to create more opportunities for us to take our most established and successful brands to new markets. We will deploy the power of both partnerships and acquisitions to achieve our goals.
As we look to continue our expansion as well as building in our Middle East base we will be concentrating on two key territories: Africa and Asia. We have already made considerable advances into Africa. There we have our recently acquired office in South Africa taking the lead with established and new events. Across the continent we brought 3 new exhibitions to market last year, with 4 more to come this year. You can also expect to see a similar pattern emerge in Asian markets, as we look to expand our footprint in some economically powerful but underserved geographies.
Our current events will continue to evolve from being brilliant exhibitions into full-service opportunities for people to find and do business, learn and facilitate discussion around regulation and best practice. We will give a special focus to technology as a tool for creating more personalised and meaningful face-to-face interactions as part of our events’ lifecycles. We continue to invest in building our agent network to expand our reach - currently we have over 80 country representatives - so if you’re interested in taking this on let us know. Our support partnerships with government bodies, regulators and associations are very important to us and we invite people to reach out and establish even greater connections.
All-in-all 2017 is set to be another great year and we look forward to welcoming you to our events and to you joining us on our journey.