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Exhibition manager of Paper Arabia discloses to us that why it is so important to take part in the Paper Arabia show and how do they differ from other shows in the Middle East market.

In this privileged and unbiased interview Lamya Zafati, exhibition manager of Paper Arabia – speaks to Venkat Raghavan - assistant editor of PrintWeek MEA, narrating the reasons for making the event to happen two years once and explains the uniqueness of their show and how well it is covered all the over the Middle East market

In your view, what is the most important aspect to exhibit or attend your event? What is the most challenging question you have addressed while interacting with the exhibitors?
Our exhibition is the only one in the Middle East market which tackles professionals from this industry. In addition to this, our event covers all the aspects of this particular business since it includes all the manufacturing process of the tissues, papers and corrugated sectors. As much as it was successful, regarding the amount of deals negotiated and completed during the 3 days of exhibiting, our participants requested to make it Biennale and take it internationally.

What are all your plans to ensure success for the coming edition? Are you planning to cross venture into other industry to make the event bigger? How many exhibitors are you expecting for the coming edition?
Well we have re-branded it, created new ideas, implemented new marketing techniques and invited new participants. We strongly believe that our event is doing better so there is no requirement to cross venture our event with other industries to make it bigger. It is going bigger by itself and its uniqueness in this sector makes it very special. Since, we have opened our bookings for the next editions we have received a lot of inquiries across the market and with all the efforts we hope to pass the line of 150 exhibitors.

Don’t you think that the events relating to paper industry are getting unnoticed in this region? For instance, your 2014 event has attracted more than 7,000 visitors but went down in the coming years?
It’s the way how we see the event but on the contrary, we have participants who have recently launched their manufacturing plants and they are eagerly waiting to participate in Paper Arabia event only. We look into the number of visitors but we focus on the amount achieved through the deals completed during the exhibition, which is growing year on year. Again, this is why we have plenty of loyal exhibitors who book from the running edition to the next one.

What was the main reason to withdraw the 2017 edition? Is there any strategy behind it or you are going to keep the event once in every two-year? Do you have any plans to merge the event with other shows to attract more visitors?
In the tissue and paper industry, innovations are launched every 2 to 3 years, thus our exhibitors requested to make it Biennale for better exposure. Of course there will always be a different strategy from the previous edition and we will make it Biennale. As of now we don’t have any plans or need to merge Paper Arabia with other shows as we have enough visitors (we look into quality more than quantity).

Don’t you think that the logistics and pricing at DWTC is expensive for exhibitors? In accordance to that, are you planning to shift the event to some other location?
Everyone in the industry knows very well that DWTC is a governmental entity and they price according to the services they provide. However, I believe that there should be a special price for continuous exhibition like Paper Arabia. We don’t see a need or requirement to shift the show to any other location as our exhibitors rate DWTC location as 9/10. Again, the visitors definitely prefer to attend the show in DWTC.

Everyone in the market is cutting down their marketing activities that will mainly affect their participation in the events so how you are going to address the situation? What are all the other facilities you are going to offer to the exhibitors to grow together?
Cutting the marketing activities is the not the solution; channelizing it will provide more positive results. We are working on strategic marketing planning that will hit the goals we have set. We have provided many facilities to our loyal returning exhibitors and we are offering additional free services for all of them. Apart from this, we have several plans to offer service to the new participants who are planning for our show.