Since opening as the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) in 2006, ibtm arabia and it’s hosting city, Abu Dhabi, have undergone major growth. Shinu Pillai, Exhibition Manager, ibtm arabia, commented, “Over the past decade ibtm arabia has transformed into one of the Gulf region’s most exclusive and high-profile shows, providing a unique opportunity for top-level buyers to meet leading industry suppliers from the middle east and around the globe.
When we first opened our doors in 2007, the regional MICE industry outside of Dubai was only in its infancy. ibtm arabia was the first such event to help establish and build the industry in the Gulf region, and throughout the last decade it has served as a catalyst for expanding and developing the Arabian MICE industry.”
Mubarak Al Shamisi, Director of Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau commented, “Having recently undergone a significant enhancement in its tourism infrastructure, Abu Dhabi is now better placed than ever to meet organisers’ highest expectations. With headline attractions, stunning new resorts, a re-energised commitment to service and delivery excellence, the destination has entered a new era of maturity.”
A report from Alpen Capital suggests that international association meetings in the Middle East have more than tripled over the past 10 years. Supporting this, the last Amadeus report shows the GCC meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry is seeing continuous growth and that the Middle East is set to expand even further while attracting high-profile global events and state-of-the-art infrastructural investments.
MICE visitors to Dubai currently equate to 0.9 million, this is estimated to double to between 1.7 and 1.9 million by 2020. TCA Abu Dhabi suggested that the MICE sector is currently generating $US1.4billion per annum for Abu Dhabi and is expected to reach $US2.4billion by 2020.
Guy Hutchinson, COO of Rotana, which has been exhibiting at the show since 2008, commented, “ibtm arabia has worked out to be a great platform for bringing together key industry players from the MICE industry and also helped the development of MICE tourism in Abu Dhabi and the region. Abu Dhabi has successfully secured high profile events such as concerts with renowned artists, FIFA World Cup and FIFA under 17s, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Formula 1, Judo Championship, Jujitsu Tournament, WWE, Abu Dhabi Gourmet, Volvo Ocean Race, Redbull Air Race, HSBC Golf Championship and F1 Powerboat.”
Stuart Deeson, General manager of the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas commented, “ibtm arabia has been an excellent vehicle for bringing an increasing number of key decision makers to the city and getting them to experience the wonderful range of facilities and services the city has to offer.”
This year ibtm arabia will take place at the exclusive 5-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi from 9th – 11th February. ibtm arabia is run with the support of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and Etihad Airways.