In the past, if you asked someone to locate Dubai on a map, the common response would be a bewildered expression. Today, however, people are taking notice of this country’s modernization and global progress. One area gaining attention is the Dubai floral market, thanks to Manohar Gidwani, managing director of AL Lokrit International, a floral wholesaler in the Middle East for the past 31 years. Working continuously to make Dubai the hub for flowers in the region, he has coordinated flower shows, floral design competitions, workshops, presentations and demonstrations offering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a fresh approach to flowers since 2005.


This year, he decided to try something different. With the help of internationally renowned floral artist Tomas De Bruyne, EMC, the first Dubai International Flower Festival (DIFF) 2018 took place from Feb. 22-24. “The purpose was about flowers,” comments Gidwani. “It is about bringing in the techniques of international designers. We have good artists here, but they lack the techniques. It is about bringing new flowers and seeing the trends in floristry.”During the three-day event, the DIFF 2018 offered the public and floristry professionals a range of floral displays, international floral design competition, and exposure to a wide and diverse variety of flowers.“The public was mesmerized by the flower displays by Tomas and were impressed with the flower shows,” explains Gidwani. De Bruyne adds, “The competition brought together the World Champion and the European Champion, as well as other international designers and local designers. The DIFF competitors were from Belgium (Van Laer Sören, Champion), Hungry (Tamas Mezoffy, first runner-up), South Korea (Alex Choi, second runner-up), Poland (Tomasz Max Kuczynski), France (Thai Thomas Mai Van), Netherlands (Ilona Oostenveld) and the UAE (Arnold Salvador and Rex Tarubal). The judging was very high thanks to Chairman of the Jury Marios Vallianos from Greece, who shared details and his experiences with the jury,” reflects Gidwani.Ultimately, the goal for the DIFF is to prepare for Expo 2020 Dubai (World’s Fair) which will take place from October 2020 to April 2021. “The best of the best in the world will be here in Dubai for Expo 2020,” states Gidwani. “As a floral industry, we need to be the best to match what will be offered at the Expo. That is what we are preparing for, thanks to what we did at DIFF 2018. We want to attract the best international talent. Dubai maybe a bit backward, but we are catching up. We see North America with great talent, as well, and would love to invite them to come and compete in Dubai in the future.”