The world's largest book fair, the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) which ended Saturday, attracted 1,692,463 visitors from 109 countries, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 11-day fair, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) at the Sharjah Expo Centre, brought together 1,632 publishers and literary agents from 83 countries looking to network and do business with each other.
Statistics released by SBA reveal that females accounted for 51.9% of SIBF visitors while males 48.1%, and as for age groups, 1.3% of visitors were under 15 years, 52.2% between 16 and 30, those between 31 to 45 constituted 35.5%, while 11.1% were 46 years and older.
An interesting finding made by the book fair this year was that around 20,000 amongst the more than 1.6 million visitors to SIBF 2021 walked into the fair more than once and thousands had visited it three to seven times.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) secured the top spot for visitors, followed by India, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Philippines, Morocco, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Algeria, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, the United States, Canada and other countries.
"The conclusion of the book fair marks not the end but the beginning of a new journey of cultural excellence for the UAE and the Arab region, one in which the distinct voices of writers and intellectuals are heard and begin to resonate with the whole world," said SBA chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri.
"We look forward to seeing more and more creative minds contributing to humanity by achieving shared developmental goals through cultural appreciation and exchange,” he added.
The SBA chairman also stated that the strong participation by publishing professionals as well as the visitor turnout were both an affirmation of the willingness of both current and future generations to embrace books and knowledge.
He said it also demonstrated Sharjah’s regional and global appeal as a platform where the best in literature, creativity, arts and culture intersect.
"The strong foundations of learning laid down by books will stand firm in the face of any adversities; and enlightened minds can build on it to drive prosperity for all,” he said. - Bernama
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