MANAMA: The worlds of construction and interiors converge on Bahrain today for one of the most eagerly-anticipated gatherings on the Northern Gulf's trade show calendar. gulfBID and gulfINTERIORS exhibitions - being held concurrently from today to Thursday at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre (BIEC) under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, offer an unrivalled window into the world of two vibrant sectors which are undergoing sustained regional growth.
Together, gulfBID and gulfINTERIORS will boast close to 140 exhibitors.
gulfBID, being held in BIEC Hall 1 for the sixth time since 2006, showcases market leaders from the specialist construction, contracting and related sectors, who will demonstrate their brands, equipment and services to discerning visitors, who include key decision makers, project buyers and other senior executives.
With all exhibition space now allocated, gulfBID 2012 promises to be the biggest show in the series yet.
High oil prices are underpinning massive new construction and infrastructure projects in the region.
The Saudi Gazette recently reported that some $750 billion-worth of projects were in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, in Qatar, Gulf Construction magazine quotes local bank QNB Capital as forecasting some $185bn worth of projects to be launched in the country in the run up to the 2022 World Cup.
In Bahrain, the energy sector will be subject to a $20bn long-term investment programme, while up to $1bn in new housing schemes - including 23,000 units in new cities in East Hidd, East Sitra and Northern Town by the end of 2016 - are among capital-intensive projects being planned.
Against this background, GCC contractors are increasingly focused on manufacturing and sourcing supplies in the region, reinforcing gulfBID's pivotal position in the industry.
Meanwhile, the second gulfINTERIORS exhibition, to be held in BIEC Hall 2, will represent the cream of the local, regional and international interiors, design and furniture community.
Targeting both the consumer and business markets, the interior designers, architects, retailers and contractors at the show will epitomise style and finesse. The latest innovative, luxury and designer products will be showcased in the fields of contract and residential furniture, interior design services and contracting, textiles and upholstery fabrics, beds and bedding, floorings and wall coverings, lighting, kitchens and bathrooms, art and accessories, ceramics, marble and granite, outdoor living, hospitality and office interiors.
For the consumer, some of Bahrain's finest furniture and design houses will be participating, including dwp, ID Design, Trends Haus, Dream Home, Home Centre, EM Dekor, Al Bait, Alchemy and Q Home DŽcor.
Several have announced special offers and promotions for visitors during the exhibition.
Industry data shows the Gulf's interior design market will grow exponentially over the next few years, following an estimated $57bn worth of spending in 2011.
The resurgence of select GCC real estate markets, as well as the announcement of a raft of new world-class projects in the region - from hotels and mixed-use projects to villas, residential communities as well as commercial fit-out projects - means influential interior designers now consider the buoyant northern Gulf as one of the world's most lucrative regions.
Anwar Abdulrahman, chairman, Al Hilal Group, - the parent company of show organisers Hilal Conferences & Exhibitions (HCE), said: "Through these shows, the group's vision is to provide a conduit for businesses active in the region's most economically-important sectors to connect with one another.
"In achieving our vision, we are indebted to the support of the government of Bahrain, led by HRH the Premier," he added.
"The fact that exhibition space at both shows is sold out is testament to both the pent up market demand for specialist, professionally organised business-to-business trade exhibitions, as well as the optimism prevailing in the region," HCE managing director Jubran Abdulrahman said.
"Our ability to consistently deliver a high-calibre trade show would, however, not be possible without the valued support of our generous sponsors, not least the government of Bahrain, to whom we owe a great deal of gratitude.
"This includes Tamkeen, whose Tarweej programme subsidises 80 per cent of the exhibiting costs of more than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises at the exhibitions," he added.
"Every year we look to raise the standard of the shows we organise. Given the sheer quality and quantity of exhibitors this year we are confident of exceeding all expectations, and look forward to reporting millions of dollars worth of construction- and interiors-related deals," HCE conference director Ahmed Suleiman said.
gulfBID and gulfINTERIORS both enjoy strong support from both the public and private sector.
These include Tamkeen, Industry and Commerce Ministry, the German Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, British Expertise and the Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority.
Both exhibitions are open to visitors from 10am to 8pm on all three days.