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Riyadh Aims To Become A Center For International Events

Saudi Arabia's premier event organizers, behind major gatherings like LEAP, the world's largest tech conference, and the acclaimed Black Hat MEA Exhibition, aspire to position Riyadh as a global events hub. Under the topic of "Ensuring Abundant Tomorrows," their most recent effort, the InFlavour Expo by Tahaluf, brought together prominent chefs, figures from the culinary business, and global investors to discuss urgent concerns pertaining to the food and agriculture sectors.

Annabelle Mander, Tahaluf's Senior Vice President, highlighted their dedication to launching events in key Saudi markets. This commitment is evident in their track record, with Cityscape in real estate, LEAP in technology, and Black Hat in cybersecurity. They aim to elevate the food and beverage and hospitality industry by creating a significant event backed by the Saudi government, with ambitions for it to become a global leader in the next few years.

The debut of the Cityscape Global event in September drew 160,000 visitors from 170 countries, solidifying these events as crucial fixtures in the annual calendar, targeting Saudi Arabia's strategic sectors and attracting global industry leaders.

InFlavour featured prominent chef Marco Pierre White, along with over 40 international chefs, who showcased creative culinary concoctions using Saudi ingredients. The event included masterclasses, live cooking demonstrations, and competitions at the Chef's Arena.

Mander emphasized the event's global reach, with diverse participants sharing insights and stories about their favorite dishes. They also facilitated connections between promising investors in agriculture and food tech and local and international companies.

The Kingdom's Events Investment Fund, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones, and the UK business intelligence and exhibitions group Informa are among Tahaluf's shareholders.

While securing government partnerships is vital to the success of these large-scale events, challenges arise from their rapid growth. Mander highlighted the need for larger exhibition spaces, which they are currently addressing with temporary structures while looking forward to future, more expansive venues.

With funding from the EIF, Tahaluf runs a programme to train local talent in a variety of capacities. Young Saudi professionals are given excellent training by the Tahaluf Academy, which also places them in Informa offices around the world.

Going forward, Tahaluf hopes to recruit 150 individuals in Riyadh next year, both domestically and abroad, and organize more events in Saudi Arabia. Annabelle Mander expressed her enthusiasm for the future, noting that Saudi Arabia is the perfect place for their endeavors.

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