Event management companies organising exhibitions are hit hard by high rentals. Several exhibitors have urged authorities to intervene and bring down rentals.
They have also requested to speed up the issuance of licences to support the exhibition industry in the country, reported local Arabic Daily Al Raya.
Jaber Al Mansouri, CEO, Al Maraya Public Relations, said rental fees of Doha Exhibition Center were more affordable than those of other centres as the centre was supported by Qatar Tourism Authority that supports the exhibition industry. He, however, complained that rents for exhibition at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) were too high and needed to be reduced.
According to him, rentals at QNCC go up — QR17 for a square metre space during the days of an exhibition — and on other preparation days it is QR8 for the same space. At Doha Exhibition Center, it is QR10 for a square metre during the days of an exhibition while organisers are exempted from fees during the days of preparation.
He also complained that exhibitors bear extra burden by paying for electricity, security and cleanliness at some exhibition halls. Some other halls provide these services for free or on rent.
Exhibitors are complaining that these costs are causing them big losses. “Exhibitions should be supported by the government because they play an important role in supporting and stimulating the development of the tourism industry,” Al Mansour said. “Qatar has become one of the main hosts of large international exhibitions and conferences.”
Dr Mayser Sadiq, CEO, Ibhar Enterprises and Exhibition, said there was a need to reduce rentals for exhibition spaces to reflect the competitive prices in other GCC countries if Qatar was committed to becoming a regional leader in the exhibition industry.
He also called upon government departments to put in place easy procedures for the exhibitors. The General Directorate of Boarder Passports and Expatriates Affairs should facilitate easy and quick issuance of visas for participants in exhibitions and the Customs Department should clear exhibits being brought into the country.
Dr Sadiq said visitors from other countries act as a means of promoting tourism in Qatar. They come and see developments being brought about by the construction boom. Some also visit heritage monuments and historical sites and pass on their good impression of the country to other potential tourists.
Hadi Al Zain, CEO, Qatar Expo Event Management, also complained that QNCC was charging high rents and there were also increased costs of regulation, processing and advertising that had to be paid by exhibitors, adding that some exhibitors had cancelled their events because of high costs.
“Qatar Expo spent QR1.4m for an exhibition at QNCC while it spent QR650,000 at Doha Exhibition Center for the same exhibition, with all services being the same,” he said.
He also complained that there was a low turnout at QNCC and despite all this, the regulators there imposed harsher conditions and rental, adding Qatar Expo had to pay a fine of QR250,000 for cancelling an exhibition this year.
Al Zain said the recently passed law by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will help steer the exhibition industry in the right direction.
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