Muscat: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that 259 exhibitions were granted licences last year, which is a significant increase over 120 exhibitions organised in 2017.
These were organised by the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre and Oman International Exhibition Centre and include marketing exhibitions, exhibitions associated with festivals and forums, cultural exhibitions, trade shows, specialised consumer exhibitions and one-state exhibitions, charity exhibitions, and exhibitions of national products.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that it was giving the exhibition sector more attention and care, as it is an important factor in the future growth of the local economy.
Awad bin Said Al Alawi, Director of Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that trade fairs were the best way to meet clients, offer goods and services, and deal with commercial agencies.
"These are a key player in the transfer of information and technology and provide an opportunity for countries, cultures and civilizations to understand each other, and their main objective is to promote national industries, products and crafts."
Al Alawi said that the exhibition sector of all countries was aimed at marketing local products, creating partnerships for companies and attracting investors. They are not just consumer exhibitions. The government would attract international and regional exhibitions to be held in the Sultanate in the near future. It would also attract local and foreign investors to organise exhibitions in accordance with Oman’s regional and international commitments, as well as meet the requirements of economic and commercial development in the country.
He said that 74 marketing exhibitions were held last year compared with 71 in 2017. Similarly, there were nine specialised consumer exhibitions held last year compared with 14 in 2017, six one-state exhibition in 2018 compared with three in 2017, 12 exhibitions accompanied with festivals and forums in 2018 compared with seven in 2017, 58 exhibitions of national products and industries in 2018 compared with 21 in 2017, seven cultural exhibitions last year compared with two in 2017, 15 charity fairs in 2018 compared with just one in 2017, nine exhibitions by the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre and Oman International Exhibition Centre last year compared with just one exhibition in 2017, five exhibitions organised by commercial centres and complexes and 64 conferences and seminars held in 2018.
Al Alawi said that the exhibition sector was the key for building and understanding relationships and the exchange of cultures with countries and helps increase tourism revenue and attracts a lot of economic investments, which benefit the local economy. The exhibitions and conferences sector is a major generator of permanent and temporary jobs. There is a strong and consistent relationship between the local economy and the exhibitions and conferences sector as this sector integrates with all economic sectors and promotes local industries and contributes to the strengthening of channels of communication and increases the capabilities of workers in various economic sectors.
The law for holding exhibitions issued under Ministerial Decision No. 182/2017 states that if you want to organise marketing exhibitions, you must obtain prior approval from the organisations concerned about the content of the exhibition, and its purpose in the various governorates of the Sultanate, he said.
Al Alawi said that the licence for specialised consumer exhibitions was given through an auction system, which has been the practice since the beginning of 2018. It is assigned to companies, which meet the conditions and requirements for such exhibitions, and have the highest technical and financial evaluation. The exhibition should not be held for more than 10 days, or less than three days and is not to be held 30 days before the holidays.
He said that the one-state exhibition should not be organised from the same field except once in a year, provided it has prior permission from the foreign ministry and the embassy of the country in Oman. It should not be held for more than seven days or less than three days. As for exhibitions of national products and industries, there is a special section of rules and regulations which exempts them from many rules meant for other exhibitions. They have to be held according to the ministry's social, economic or historical considerations. However, the products, which are to be exhibited at these exhibitions, have to match the objective of its organisation. Non-Omani products are not allowed to be displayed at these exhibitions.
The exhibitions organised by the commercial centres and complexes could be for promotion and marketing of these commercial establishments only where they are being held. These exhibitions should not last for more than three days. Each mall or commercial complex is allowed to organise only two exhibitions in a year.