Abu Dhabi Convention Center Opens

Abu Dhabi -- The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre opened this week, the centerpiece of the new Capital Centre commercial and residential complex here in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The first phase, which contains more than 300,000 square feet of exhibit space, was built in just eight months so the facility could open in time to host IDEX 2007. The annual show, which opened Sunday, is one of the world's largest exhibitions of military equipment.

In addition to the exhibit space, the center contains two conference rooms that can accommodate up to 1000 people, 16 meeting rooms, a food court, business center, and travel center.

"The unprecedented scale of development in Abu Dhabi has stimulated the demand for exhibitions across a range of sectors, and now there is a facility to meet this demand," Simon Horgan, the center's chief executive, said during the opening ceremony.

The new center has already booked more than 50 major events, according to Horgan. He predicted that the center will expand the events and trade show industry in the Emirates by at least 25 percent.

Phase two of the project is already underway. When the entire project is completed, expected next year, the center will offer more than 592,000 square feet of exhibit space.