DIYAFA 2012, The 7th International Hotel, Restaurant and Food exhibition in Qatar, organized by International Fairs & Promotions (IFP) Qatar, opened its doors yesterday amidst much fanfare from the gathered guests.
Hot Hoteliers, a regional initiative aimed at connecting hoteliers in the Middle East to share experiences, industry knowledge and best practices, led the opening by gathering hoteliers from Qatar and the GCC in general in celebrating the opening of another landmark year for Qatar’s home-grown hospitality exhibition. The 5pm opening ceremony attracted hospitality industry professionals and interested visitors alike.
DIYAFA 2012 features this year a wide array of products for both commercial and personal hospitality use. Manufacturers from across the world have arrived to market their products and services to one of the most lucrative emerging hospitality markets. With the country seeing a 22% increase in visitors just in the first quarter of 2012, the industry is gearing up to service more customers than ever before.
Qatar however is not just seeing an increase in visitors, its hotel sector is booming too. In 2011, the country was home to 74 hotels. In 2012, that number stands at 112. The increase in hotels and restaurants is leading a wide variety of hospitality service providers to DIYAFA – from the largest to the niche.
George Ayache, General Manager of IFP Qatar noted: “With several international pavilions showcasing the best hospitality products from countries such as Germany, Italy and Turkey, DIYAFA has grown to sustain the needs of the market. We invite the industry leaders and business professionals and all interested parties to visit the exhibition and check out the latest products and services offered in the hospitality industry.”
The DIYAFA exhibition introduces a new specialty this year: Spa products, attracting top spa-related companies to exhibit in the first time in Qatar.
Yet some things remain the same and at DIYAFA, these are Salon Culinaire and the Boecker Training courses in food safety. Both events attracted interested crowds on the first day, with more competitions to follow on days 2 and 3, accompanied by another crowd-favorite – The Redbull Bartenders Academy.
The Boecker training course on Day 1, part of a two full day training certification program, hosted hospitality professionals looking to meet international food, health, and safety standards. Delivered free of charge by Boecker Food Safety, the training program reaffirms the company’s commitment to improving the local hospitality industry, says Boecker Country Manager, Carla Ghlaeb: “This is the 4th year Boecker is delivering these workshops at DIYAFA. This is both a testament to how valued such training is within the hospitality industry as well as being an indication of how fast the industry is growing.”
Notes Ayache: “DIYAFA has become a milestone of the industry in Qatar. It facilitates professional betterment through trainings, showcases expertise and talent through competitions and helps the industry develop commercially by attracting international suppliers and local business operators to the same location every year.”
Day 2 will bring with it the Qatar Choice Awards, highlighted by a Gala Dinner tonight that will celebrate the best of Qatar’s hospitality service providers. Being hosted at Al Gassar Ballroom, ticket holders will be arriving to recognize Qatar’s choice of winners. The first ever event of its kind, the Qatar Choice Awards have already caused a stir: with 372 registrants, Qatar’s public nominated 181 contestants with 12,166 votes cast. The public voting continued and one winner emerged in each of the 26 categories of the competition.
Akram Salem Hamada, Managing Director of Al Isteklal (IAC Qatar) believes that the Qatar Choice Awards’ experiment is just what the industry needs. By allowing the public a platform to vote, and then a platform to recognize the winners in person, we hope that a tradition can be built where hospitality providers aim to be the best in the nation. Nothing could be better for the industry than that.”
DIYAFA 2012 exhibition runs until 18 October from 3 pm to 9 pm daily at the Doha Exhibition Center with the signature events continuing every day. To find out more about Diyafa, visit www.diyafaqatar.com.
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