MANAMA: Last year Dutch honorary consul in Bahrain Jaap Vaandrager decided it was time for industrial companies in the Netherlands to look at Bahrain and GCC markets.
He took the decision for his country to dip its toes in the regional market when he booked a 24sqm site at the Gulf Industry Fair where he was supported by 22 firms who sent out brochures to promote their businesses in the Middle East.
That proved a massive success and this year 14 companies have turned up to take part in the show as part of a Dutch pavilion covering 170 sqm.
"We did a roadshow round with some of the companies who showed an interest a year ago and the take-up has been excellent with some of the Netherlands' leading companies coming out this year to tap into this market," said Mr Vaandrager.
"Already a number of companies who have come to Gulf Industry Fair this year are looking to set up joint ventures and do business in the region and their decision is proving a big success."
Cutting tools firm Euroboor was one of the Dutch businesses that decided Bahrain could be a key destination to tap into to the Northern Gulf market and it has proved a good move, according to director Albert Koster.
"This is a good exhibition but we had an unexpectedly positive response on the first day," he said.
"The quality of people coming here is excellent and they are here to do business.
"We have made a lot of contacts and did some positive business on the first day and I was extremely impressed with this show.
"I can say that we will definitely come back next year," he added.
That was a view echoed by TGS managing director Emiel Bleyenberg whose company is a grab specialist.
"We have some business with Abu Dhabi and Dubai but this is our first venture into the Northern Gulf and it is proving fruitful," he said.
"We have made a lot of good contacts and have set up some appointments to follow up these opportunities."
Specialist in in-house training group ROVC also praised the quality of visitors to the show.
"We train people in-house who already have jobs rather than students and we have had good discussions with employers," said ROVC chief executive John Huizing.
"We have picked up a lot of information which will help us to proceed in offering services across this region in the future," he added.