Spotlight on The Big 5 Exhibition: a note from the portfolio director

Spotlight on The Big 5 Exhibition: a note from the portfolio director
Published: 18 October 2019 - 2 a.m.

Portfolio director of The Big 5, Josine Heijmans, looks ahead to the fast-approaching 2019 edition of show.

This year, The Big 5 is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

More than a fantastic milestone, this is a unique opportunity for us to look back and remember how it all started.

I was told by colleagues who have been working at dmg events long before I joined that The Big 5 has origins in an event known as Arab Water.

In fact, the show that we know today as the largest construction event in the Middle East derives from the unification of five separate product-focused events that all had a link to the construction sector.

As we celebrate four decades of uninterrupted success, I often find myself wondering how The Big 5 trade show looked in its early days.

READ: Spotlight on The Big 5 Exhibition: last year's Top 10

To get a rough idea, I Googled pictures of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in the late ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The Deira Clock tower surrounded by desert, and more desert, is what most of the oldest pictures show.

As the years pass by, we start recognising the Trade Centre Apartments and the Dubai World Trade Centre Tower alongside Sheikh Zayed Road.

We can easily imagine that, at that time, The Big 5 was some kind of outdoor market place where traders would come together, and builders would go to in order to find the products they needed to develop the city.

In its early days, The Big 5 didn’t have the numerous international country pavilions and tens of thousands of professional visitors from all around the world it welcomes today.

Neither did the first editions of the show offer the CPD- accredited workshops and conferences, nor host the impressive stand builds surrounded by the state-of-the-art DWTC venue facilities we are used to nowadays.

Yet, it already had its most important feature, which continues to drive the show’s success today: the ability to connect industry professionals from around the globe in Dubai, enable them to meet face-to-face, exchange ideas, and grow their business.

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