Fespa’s new Middle East event to target print and signage market

First edition in Dubai, 29 to 31 January 2024

Fespa Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo 2022 are set to open today and will continue to 3 June 2022 at Messe Berlin, Germany
Fespa Middle East Dubai is expected to welcome over 100 global brands.

Fespa has launched Fespa Middle East, a new event serving the speciality print, signage, and visual communications community in the Middle East and Africa regions. The first edition of the annual exhibition will take place at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, United Arab Emirates, from 29 to 31 January 2024.

The exhibition is expected to welcome over 100 global brands. At the event, Fespa will host the first World Wrap Masters competition in the Middle East, a Sustainability Spotlight educational feature, a conference, and technical training program, and a Club Fespa Lounge for Fespa Direct (MEA group) members to network. 

Fespa CEO Neil Felton says, “Major vendors have been expressing a strong appetite for a content-led FESPA event in the Middle East for some time, matched by demand from the leading speciality print service providers. It’s a market that continues to show solid year-on-year growth, with key sectors such as tourism and property demonstrating healthy post-Covid recovery, alongside the region’s renowned core industries. Landmark events have recently showcased the region’s capacity to serve international visitors with world-class facilities. Through our recent FLEX Summit and our increasing Fespa Direct membership in MEA, we’re establishing Fespa’s brand in this region, and we believe that now’s the perfect time to inspire and stimulate the Middle East’s print, signage, and visual communications community with a Fespa event.”

Regional print industry stakeholders at the recent exclusive Fespa Leadership Exchange (FLEX) Summit in Dubai responded enthusiastically to the idea, commenting, “There’s a lot of development in this region which leads to new opportunities in the print field. Fespa’s experience and know-how will complement it.” Another one said Fespa Middle East will be an important training and learning event for printers in this region, and it will be a great chance for us all to share and connect. Yet another stakeholder said,  “We’re excited for the event to come to the Middle East to help lift the industry, increase education and make a difference in the market.”

Like Fespa’s established regional events in Eurasia (Istanbul), Africa (Johannesburg), Central America (Mexico City) and Brazil (Sao Paolo), Fespa Middle East will provide an important, targeted sales and marketing platform for exhibitors including principal suppliers and distributors of equipment, software, media and consumables for digital, screen, textile printing and sign-making.

The visitor audience will comprise large-format digital printers, textile printers, print service providers, fleet graphics producers, sign-makers and fabricators, brand owners and creative agencies, interior designers and architects, and visual communications professionals from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.

Fespa has selected the location of the Middle East event to attract the regional print industry from a wide geographical area, including the Gulf Corporation Council countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain), which have a combined population of over 57.2 million and a GDP of over $4.37 trillion. Dubai is also an accessible location for visitors from the wider Middle East, North and Central Africa, and South Asia. 

Centrally located for this region, Dubai is the choice of many global brands seeking to establish a direct presence in the Middle East, including multiple major print equipment and materials vendors. It also serves as a commercial gateway to Africa for many industries. 

The city’s well-developed infrastructure and excellent travel and logistical connections via air, sea, and land make it an appealing host city for an international event of Fespa’s caliber. Jabel Ali Port serves as the 9th busiest port in the world and Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the #1 international airport in the world serving more than 240 destinations via over 100 airlines connecting Dubai to a third of the global population within four hours’ flying time. Dubai also has an interlinked road network connecting the wider region.

Fespa has appointed an experienced exhibitions team in Dubai to sell and promote the new Fespa Middle East event, supported by the resources and expertise of the global sales teams based out of the UK, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, and China. 

Founded in 1962, Fespa is a global federation of Associations for the screen printing, digital printing and textile printing community. Fespa’s dual aim is to promote screen printing and digital imaging and to share knowledge about screen and digital printing with its members across the world, helping them to grow their businesses and learn about the latest developments in their fast-growing industries.    

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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