(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The UAE hospitality sector, which ranked fifth globally for new hotel openings over the past five years, is set to change fast by adding more rooms and other facilities as part of the preparations to host the world's third-largest event in 2020.
"World Expo 2020 is going to be a big game-changer for the country's hospitality industry. Even during the slowdown, the sector was driving the country's economy... now it is going to be a direct beneficiary of the winning bid to host the expo," Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, chief executive of Expo Centre Sharjah, said in a statement to Khaleej Times on Tuesday.
The hospitality industry officials, which converged on the inaugural Kitchen Equipment & Technology Exhibition Middle East at Expo Centre Sharjah, said the three-day event is providing the region's hospitality and catering sector easy access to latest kitchen essentials such as food storage, and preparation and handling technologies and products.
"Looking at the number of hotel rooms needed to accommodae visitors and participants to the World Expo, the large number of jobs the event will create and the equipment and manpower required, the hospitality sector will be on an overdrive for years to come. The Kitchen Equipment fair is tailor-made to address the surging needs of equipment and technology arising out of this boom," Al Midfa said.
"The whole country needs to be well prepared to meet this demand, with some predicting that the demand may spill over to neighbouring countries," said Shanaaz Raja, course director of the International Centre for Culinary Arts Dubai.
The kitchen equipment industry is also quite optimistic of the impending boom and is awaiting the new orders to be generated in the medium term. Mohd Saleh Al Dibsawi of Kitcherama Trading was also of a similar view.
"We have increased our local manufacturing capabilities and now manufacture a full range of hot cooking lines in UAE itself. This has benefited the hospitality industry greatly as European technology and quality is now manufactured locally."