Abu Dhabi cuts back invitation programme

<p>Organisers of the Abu Dhabi Book Fair will be &quot;keeping a keener eye on the budget&quot; in 2011 with a &quot;small, focused invitation programme&quot; to attract international publishers to the event.</p><p>KITAB general manager Monika Krauss, in London last week for a presentation to UK publishers, said that the general economic downturn and the blow to the Dubai economy in particular had encouraged the Fair to limit its programme of &quot;invitation packages&quot;, which pay the flight and hotel costs of exhibitors, for the 2011 event. </p><p>The packages will still be on offer, but only to &quot;a certain number&quot; of publishers, encouraging &quot;the really interested ones&quot; to apply, Krauss said.</p><p>This year&#39;s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, held in March, saw a 32% growth in exhibitor numbers, with a total of 839 exhibitors from 60 countries in all. Some 236,000 people attended, with 1,500 attendees to the professional events laid on by the organisers. In total 50 authors, Arab and international, took part.</p><p>Krauss said the Fair was aiming for a &quot;healthy growth of 10%&quot; for 2011, when the event will have a focus on illustrators and will feature an expanded business and rights centre plus an expanded and modernised &quot;e-zone&quot; with broadband access. </p><p>There were 30 UK publishers, both education publishers and others, in attendance at the presentation last week. Krauss said interest in the Fair was increasing with the difficult economic climate in home markets. The 22 Arab countries have a combined population of 400m, with a high proportion of that number below the age of 28. </p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a possible export market, an emerging market, and Abu Dhabi is the gateway. Education publishers are very interested,&quot; she said. </p>