Work planner: Conference scene is lean but not totally mean

The Gulf’s main conference season does not start until September, writes Ben Flanagan, so regional executives may have to fly further afield to get their fix of networking, keynotes and hummus-heavy buffets.

For those prepared to travel, the summer months see a host of trade events to keep the business cards flying. Here’s some notable events held in July and August.

Global Innovation Summit

Where: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai

When: September 1

Conference season kicks off in the UAE with The Global Innovation Summit in Dubai on September 1. The one-day event, which is supported by the Government of Dubai, is set to include discussions and demonstrations on cool technologies such as wearable devices, smart cities, the ‘internet of things’ and 3D printing. After this summit there is the usual run of big events in the UAE, such as Cityscape Global (8-10 September), Gitex Technology Week (18-22 October) – both in Dubai – and the World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda in Abu Dhabi (25-27 October).


ENTRY: Free, or Dh100 with lunch

Port Security and Coastal Surveillance Oman

When: 17-18 August

Where: InterContinental Muscat, Muscat, Oman

Oman, given its location on the strategic Strait of Hormuz, is perhaps an apt place to host this conference on port security and coastal surveillance.  The two-day event – one of few serious conferences in the Gulf region held this summer – will include speakers from around the world discussing maritime security issues and how to monitor and prevent incidents.


World Engineers Summit on Climate Change Expo 2015

When: 21-24 July

Where: Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Singapore

There are so many climate-change conferences these days, one wonders what the environmental impact is… But still, climate change is real, and this conference is all about it. Experts will jet in from around the world to talk about sustainability, energy conservation and demonstrate green products. The target audience includes engineers, scientists, governments and NGOs. Philippe Joubert, senior advisor to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, is one of the keynote speakers.


San Francisco International Gift Fair

When: 25-28 July

Where: Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, USA

For all the thousands of shops in the UAE, sometimes the products on sale can feel a little samey. Retailers wanting to stand out from the crowd could venture to this summer’s gift fair in San Francisco. It’s a long way to travel but there are a diverse range of products on offer, from handicrafts to home furnishings. It’s open to trade visitors only so only serious buyers can apply.


International Conference on Advanced Robotics

When: 27-31 July

Where: Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey

You’ll need more than a casual interest in robotic gadgetry to get the most out of this conference, aimed at top academics in the field. The technical programme will consist of talks, workshops and the submission of academic papers on everything from how robots can learn to their interaction with humans.


Y20 Turkey Summit

When: 15-21 August

Where: Convention and Exhibition Centre, Istanbul, Turkey

Y20 is the official youth-engagement group of the G20, and aims to give young people a chance to have their voices heard concerning the global economic and social issues of the day. The agenda this year include themes like the impact of technology on youth unemployment, the youth’s contribution to peace and education.


India International Jewellery Show

Where: Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre, Mumbai, India

When: 6-10 Aug

More than 1,100 exhibitors are expected at this large fashion jewellery show in India. It’s a trade-orientated event designed for professionals in all walks of the business, from loose diamonds and plain gold jewellery to high-fashion items.


World Halal Gourmet Expo

When: 14-16 August

Where: Singapore EXPO Convention and Exhibition, Singapore

The global halal food and beverage market is forecast to be worth a whopping $1.6 trillion a year by 2018, and is growing by about 6.9 percent annually, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce estimates. Little surprise, then, that there are whole trade shows dedicated to the industry. This show in Singapore is expected to pull in 65,000 visitors over three days. Billed as a “food theme park”, it will include celebrity chefs, demonstrations and product showcases. It’s geared towards trade visitors.


Kid Show Las Vegas 2015

Where: Planet Hollywood Hotel, Las Vegas

When: 17-19 August

Las Vegas is not exactly the first destination that springs to mind when it comes to child-friendly products and services. But the Kid Show Las Vegas 2015 specialises in just that, showcasing the latest kit – including clothes, accessories and footwear – for babies, kids and expectant mothers. It’s aimed at wholesale buyers rather than the casual consumer – so perfect for Gulf retailers looking for the next big thing for the little ones.