Tourism stakeholders signed up to participate in the Gulf Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings Expo (GIBTM), which will run at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC) from March 24-26, are optimistic about the sector’s local future.
The five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers says 2013 was “an exceptionally good year” for MICE business – a year which saw it being named ‘Best Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi’ in the Business Traveller Middle East Awards and ‘World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Hotel’ in the World Travel Awards.’
“Despite the increase in competition with new MICE venues opening in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers’ market share actually continued to increase,” explained Doris Greif, the hotel’s General Manager. “The total number of events held last year at the hotel was 708 – a 63% increase on 2012. We credit this success on having built a strong, personable and reliable luxury brand image in the market among clients and corporate and government entities, as well as our dedication to the customisation of various packages to meet the needs of our guests.
“In the last 12 months our hotel has, on a number of occasions, played host to a number of extremely high profile conferences, such as the Global Vaccine Summit and the 13th Annual World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit. Additionally, we have also hosted numerous medical related symposiums and conferences, luxury product launches and extravagant weddings that have realised the largest opportunities for extended repeat and referral business.”
Greif says this year the hotel will be looking to acquire and increase the number of overseas clients and organisations choosing the hotel for MICE events.
“Building global awareness of our Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Conference Centre as an international venue for excellence in hospitality and event hosting will be a cornerstone of our activities and actions in 2014.”
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers offers private party event packages based on the themes of sea and water, where the events take place either above or besides the Arabian Gulf or in one of the hotel’s three swimming pools.
The ‘Above Water Group-Event Package’ is a three-hour group package of networking refreshments at the hotel’s Scott’s terrace or Observation Deck at 300 - so called because it’s 300 metres above the UAE capital with 360 degree views of the capital’s cityscape.
The ‘Besides Water Group Event Package’ is for groups seeking their own gourmet private beach party and includes live BBQ cooking stations, while the ‘In Water Group Event Package’ allows groups to live it up and get wet in one of the hotel’s three pools.
Also sharpening its MICE edge is the five-star Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi which is busy designing new business tourism offerings.
“We are planning to add customized industry event packages to the list of available offerings, including revised food and beverage menus incorporating both Arabic and Thai cuisines, flexible meetings and events arrangements to suit the growing market of MICE business and requests that we encounter throughout the year,” said Aaishah Bohari, Director of Sales & Marketing.
“Last year we hosted a series of successful events and large conferences for government companies and pharmaceutical groups.”
Abu Dhabi is making a major push for business events and MICE bookings and enquiries at this year’s GIBTM with 39 stakeholders joining a destination pavilion being mounted by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). The line-up includes hotels, DMCs, desert camps, professional conference organisers, Yas Marina Circuit – the Formula 1™ race track which annually hosts the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leisure parks including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor theme park, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC), attractions and sports resorts.
New to Abu Dhabi’s GIBTM line-up are Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Events – the one-stop online resource – the new, state-of-the-art Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium facility in Al Ain and the desert camp owner and promoter Al Badeyah Eyes Tourism.
“The simple fact is that there is now much more to business events in Abu Dhabi,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Promotions and Overseas Offices Director, TCA Abu Dhabi. “There is growing impetus amongst our private sector to develop MICE specific product and our intention is to roll out this expanding portfolio at GIBTM, particularly to its 300-strong hosted buyer contingent. We have assets and activities in the emirate which clearly sets the destination apart and which will give us a stand-out edge.”