(MENAFN Press) The regional wedding industry is poised for sustained growth, courtesy surging economies and a young and fast-growing population, according to top executives and professionals in the field.
Citing recent studies, they pointed out that the populations of Gulf oil producers have risen more than 13 million in the past eight years to peak at 46.8 million at the end of 2011 and the figure is set to rise to 49.8 million in 2013. Of this population, about 60 per cent are below the age of 30.
The executives were responding to a straw poll on the opening day of the Perfect Wedding Show at Expo Centre Sharjah.
On the economy front, they said an increase in crude prices and higher production by Gulf oil producers have boosted their economies by 29 per cent, while the real GDP raced by around 7.8 per cent in 2011, giving a big push to the economic and financial situation in the six member countries and generating better jobs prospects and incomes for its nationals and expatriates.
Qatar, which has been recently ranked as the richest nation in the world, has a per capita income of more than US 88,000, while the UAE, which features at number six, has a per capita income of US 47,500. This growing affluence in the region is fuelling higher demands for extravagant weddings, thus putting the industry on the track for fast growth.
Highlighting brighter prospects of the industry and at the same time catering to demands of those planning to get married, the seventh edition of the Perfect Wedding Show got under way at Expo Centre Sharjah on March 7, 2012. It will run until March 10.
The four-day show was inaugurated by Sheikha Nada Bint Salim Al Qassimi.
"The wedding industry in the region is driven not just by the growing affluence among the newer generation but also our culture and tradition where such events are known for their lavishness, opulence and class," said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah.
"An increasing number of couples are spending more on making their big day a memorable one, opening their purse strings for their wedding dresses, jewellery, honeymoon packages and parties. The Perfect Wedding Show can guarantee them every imaginable merchandise and expertise that is required for organizing weddings that are perfect to the minutest of details," said Mr. Midfa.
The industry is also counting on the UAE's surging popularity as an exotic wedding destination. "The UAE has air connectivity to almost all important cities of the world and we can boast of a hospitality sector that is second to none. We are also known globally for our deserts, islands and sea. These are some of the irresistible advantages for those planning to hold their weddings in the UAE," said Mr. Midfa.
The industry received a shot in the arm when many regional countries announced generous pay hikes to their national employees. Meanwhile, a move by the regional countries to offer better employment opportunities and social benefits to their citizens will also augur well for the wedding sector.
"We are also witnessing a new trend, where expatriates who used to hold their engagement ceremonies here and the main event back home in their respective countries are now opting to wed here. This is particularly so when both the bride and groom are living and working here and have relatives, friends and colleagues here. The UAE is always the first choice for those who are born and raised here," said Mr. Midfa.
Expo Centre Sharjah has tied up with Swiss Arabian, as the Gold Sponsor, Raqsaat as Silver Sponsor, Sharjah Ladies Club as Event Partner and several other leading names in the industry to organize a slew of activities at the show, which include fashion shows, cultural parades, live demonstrations of hair-styling and make-up and dance performances.
Leading local and regional designers will present their creations, while fashion shows featuring leading designers will give visitors a peak into traditional and trendy bridal wear and wedding accessories. The event will feature glittering fashion shows presented by leading international and regional designers with special bridal couture shows will be sponsored by VEET.
The previous edition of the show, held in March 2011, attracted 25,470 visitors, a 27 per cent increase over the 2010 edition, which recorded a turnout of 20,000. In a fitting finale for the show, a lucky couple won a fully sponsored wedding, which included a honeymoon trip to Malaysia, marriage venue, bridal dress, catering, stage and flowers. This year too, a lucky couple can win a complete wedding and honeymoon trip courtesy of Tourism Malaysia and Corniche Al Buhaira Hotel Sharjah.
More than 100 exhibitors are displaying a wide range of perfumes, ouds, cosmetics, jewellery, gifts and accessories, health and beauty products, cards and stationery, and related materials and services.
Parfam, showcasing perfumes, fragrances and aromatic oils, is being held alongside The Perfect Wedding Show at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Both the shows will be open daily from 3 pm to 10pm, while ladies will have dedicated timings on March 7 from 3 pm to 7pm.
The Perfect Wedding Show and Parfam are being organized by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.