As the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) nears its much-awaited opening date, media were treated to an exclusive press preview of the world-class exhibition and conference facility.

Catching the first glimpse into the future of Qatar’s event and venue landscape, local and international media representatives attended a tour of the 47,700m² site including the state-of-the-art exhibition hall, modular wall system, high-tech meeting and conference rooms, an exquisite VIP hosting suite and a vast underground parking system. With the ongoing growth of the events industry in the region, DECC is the first purpose-built city-centre venue of its kind in Qatar and is set to welcome new global events to the region.

DECC Outside

Located in West Bay, the epicentre of Qatar’s commercial district, the venue boasts five exhibition halls ranging between 5368 sq m to 7160 sq m with the capability to use the space in its entirety as one exhibition hall totalling 29,000 sq m, thanks to a unique wall partition system. The impressive 18-metre high ceiling is the highest in the Middle East and is supported by a revolutionary cantilever roof meaning the whole space is pillar-free making it more versatile than many other standard exhibition halls.

The venue is overseen by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and managed by a joint venture between Fira Barcelona International and ELAN Group – and is set to host a number of hugely popular events including the Qatar Motor Show and Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition.

According to Hamad Al Abdan, Director of Exhibitions at QTA, Qatar has witnessed a substantial increase in activity in the business meeting and exhibition sector, averaging 150 events a year, with exhibitions experiencing an average of 35 percent growth each year for the past three years.

The opening of DECC is sure to act as a catalyst to the development of the business events sector, which we estimate attracts 70% of Qatar’s visitors. Our strategy to increase visitors to Qatar by 20% in the next five years places a strong emphasis on business events as a key driver towards achieving this goal. The welcome addition of DECC to Qatar’s venue portfolio will significantly contribute to Qatar’s status as a globally competitive destination for business events.’

The venue is now complete and will host its first event on 2 November 2015. As the region’s business tourism continues to grow significantly year-on-year, the addition of this valuable and unique venue is expected to solidify Qatar’s position in the GCC events market – estimated to be worth $1.3billion¹.

DECC 2 Exhibition Doha

Jaber Al Ansari, Group Chief Executive Officer of ELAN noted:

We are very proud to be unveiling this outstanding venue today and are confident that it will play a crucial role in affirming Qatar’s reputation as a leader in the MICE industry. Working with Fira Barcelona International to nurture this project has been a great experience and with our combined expertise, I’m confident in our ability to manage this venue and host world class events.’

Doha Exhibition and Convention Center CEO, Jose Vicente, said at the preview:

The opening of DECC will precede a new era for event delivery and business tourism here in Qatar. The Middle East is the fastest growing international meeting market in the world and growing year on year. I believe DECC is set to become one of the most attractive MICE² venues in the Middle East, and we are looking forward to welcoming clients and guests to transform this massive potential into a reality for Qatar.’

DECC Glass

The Doha Exhibition and Convention Center has a unique natural lighting system with over 330 ‘sun wells’ flooding the exhibition hall during the day. By night, the wells are up-lit with environmentally friendly LED lighting available in a variety of colors. Interior walls are given interest and texture with a mix of stunning oak-paneling, ornamental steel gauze and polished natural stone.

Commenting on the unique features of the venue, Hamad Ali Abdulmalik, Executive Director – Building Projects in Lusail said:

DECC is a valuable addition to the urban landscape in Doha. Through its state of the art facilities, the venue will host international events, contributing to the growing status of Qatar as a destination.’

DECC is situated just a few minutes away from the popular Corniche waterfront and many of Qatar’s finest hotels and tourist attractions. It contains a spacious glass-sided concourse, cafes, prayer rooms, a loading zone, storage, and a climate controlled car park in the basement able to accommodate up to 2815 cars and 200 spaces for taxis to collect visitors from inside the venue itself.

Ricard Zapatero, General Manager of Fira Barcelona International commented:

With such a versatile and unique offering – thanks to its considered design, central location and modern technology – DECC can cater for a wide range of clients and industries making it the perfect blank canvas for existing and new clients.’

As of 2015, Qatar’s calendar of events includes 50 annual exhibitions, bringing visitors the latest in everything from medicine and education to real estate and handicrafts. DECC is expected to host its first event in November 2015.