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Middle East’s importance in global economy drives meetings and events sector

GIBTM remains the leading platform for business, networking and education for the region’s MICE sector.

Confidence on the growth potential of the Middle East’s meetings and events sector has remained strong due to the increasingly significant role the region plays in a highly globalised economic setup.

Combined with its seemingly unabated infrastructure development, the Middle East has presented itself as a premier location for holding meetings, conferences and exhibitions that are relevant, not just for the region, but on a global scale.

“The abundance of venues in the region is helping to grow the sector,” said Lloyd Kenyon, Exhibition Manager of GIBTM, the 5th edition of which is set to take place at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi from 28 – 30 March 2011. “More significantly, the importance of the region within the global economy will surely drive meetings and events.”

With GIBTM established as an important industry platform, the event in 2011 aims to attract more than 2000 industry professionals, 300 Hosted Buyers and over 250 exhibiting companies. Some of the exhibitors that have already confirmed their participation include Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Government of Dubai, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority, Silversea Cruises, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Seoul Convention Bureau, Oman Ministry of Tourism and Qatar Tourism Authority.

“The meetings industry in the Gulf has embraced and recognised the enormous potential in attracting meetings and events to the region,” Kenyon explained. “And, the success and growth of GIBTM illustrates there is a hunger and a desire for the meetings sector to develop at a rapid pace in the region.”

Abu Dhabi’s business tourism, meetings and incentive infrastructure has expanded significantly over the past year. Business tourism currently accounts for around 70% of Abu Dhabi's hotel guest profile with 10% of this emanating from the Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Exhibitions segment.

Excellent flight connections make the Middle East an ideal location for global corporate gatherings; it is estimated that two billion people are within a four-hour flight radius of the Gulf.

“The potential for growth is considerable and over the next few years there is no doubt that the meetings industry could really enhance the economy of the Middle East.” Kenyon added.

The region’s status as an emerging hub for business, especially within the energy sector, pharmaceutical and financial industries, is also a key strength, and one that also feeds the other complementary meetings industry segments of meetings, conferences/conventions and exhibitions.

The 2010 Annual Middle East Industry Survey carried out by Reed Travel Exhibitions, predicted significant growth for the meetings and events sector, with increased numbers of events using a wider range of destinations.

As an essential venue for international and regional suppliers, as well as a source of insightful discussions of industry related issues, GIBTM expects an array of attendees to gather once again and work together to help further advance the regional meetings and events sector. These include national tourist organisations, destinations, convention bureaus, destination management companies, independent hotels and hotel groups as well as specialist service providers representing the Gulf and Middle East region, South and South East Asia, Europe, North Africa and beyond.

Visitors and Buyers to GIBTM include professionals involved in the planning or organisation of incentive travel programmes, congresses or events including: Conventions, Conferences & Meetings, Corporate Hospitality, Incentive Travel, International Congresses, Product Launches, Special Events, Staff Motivation, Training Programmes and Business Travel.


More information on GIBTM is available on


Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, ADNEC, Etihad and The Vision are all exclusive partners for GIBTM 2011. Meetme, published by NPI, is a global media partner and publisher of the Official Show Daily publication.