Dubai leather trade show offers global players gateway to Gulf’s US$2.9bn market

DUBAI, — Exotic Indonesian reptile skins, luxury fashion accessories, UAE-produced camel leather goods, and the global launch of 24 karat gilded stilettos from Italy all shared the stage, as the Middle East’s dedicated leather industry trade show opened in Dubai today (30th April).

The exhibition was inaugurated by Butti Saeed Al Kindi, Second Vice Chairman of Dubai World Trade Centre.

The third edition of Leatherworld Middle East runs for three days at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, where 65 exhibitors from 16 countries attempt to tap into a Gulf region that traded US$2.9 billion worth of leather goods, services and materials in 2016.

According to analysts Euromonitor International, the Gulf Cooperation Council imported $2.6 worth of raw hides, skins, furs, and leather articles such as saddlery and harnesses last year, as well as travel goods, handbags, wallets, apparel, and accessories. Exports were valued at $345 million.

The UAE was a key regional player, importing leather goods worth $1.2 billion in 2016, while exports added up to $263 million. Saudi Arabia’s imports were worth $400 million, while exports amounted to $69 million.

Global and local players will look to make a mark with their latest wares, from exotic hides such as alligator, snake, stingray skins, and Amazonian fish hides, to finished leather goods, including footwear, handbags, and belts.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Leatherworld Middle East, said: “Leatherworld Middle East is the embodiment of luxury and exclusivity, and this is evident the moment one walks through the entrance into an array of exotic animal hides, high-end consumer goods, or finely tuned machinery.

“Manufacturers and suppliers are coming from every corner of the globe, from Australia, Germany and Italy, to Thailand, Iran, India, and of course, the UAE. The international stature this week is underlined by national pavilions from France, South Africa, Indonesia, and for the first time, Egypt,” added Pauwels.

Taking centre stage at Leatherworld Middle East 2017 is the Trend Forum, an exclusive showcase of exquisitely finished leather innovations and designs. This included the focal point of the global launch of a gold embossed, diamond encrusted women’s shoe collection from Italian shoe designer Antonio Vietri.

Leatherworld Middle East 2017 is supported by the French Hides Association, the French Federation of Tanners, South African Footwear and Leather Export Council, the Indonesian Footwear Association, and the Egypt Expo and Convention Authority.

Source: Emirates News Agency