Former staff from Birmingham's NEC are helping drive forward a spectacular £200 million exhibitions complex in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Total value of the overall project, including commercial developments, will reach £1.4 billion.
Expertise developed at the Birmingham venue is driving all aspects of the new exhibition centre, from design and operations to sales and marketing. The first phase of the 57,000 square metre halls complex is already under construction and set for completion before the end of 2006.
Four of the world's most influential exhibition organising companies - Reed Exhibitions, CMP Information, IIR and dmg world media - have already entered into long-term agreements with the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company to stage shows at the venue. Former NEC commercial director Simon Horgan is now its chief executive, with other senior management also drawing on substantial experience from the Birmingham venue.
Mr Horgan said: "Abu Dhabi's leaders, in looking to create a world-class exhibition centre, have recognised Birmingham's reputation within the events industry, and are now harnessing the expertise in all aspects of design, operation and sales. We are creating a new state-of-the-art venue in one of the world's fastest growing and most exciting destinations.
"The trade show sector is particularly strong. We've introduced an innovative approach to programming the venue and some of the UK's leading exhibition organising companies are already taking advantage as our 'foundation partners', bringing major shows into the centre."
Abu Dhabi is tipped as one of the most up-and-coming destinations, with development projects through the next five years expected to be worth a combined £75 billion.