Abu Dhabi now the fastest-growing destination in the Middle East for attracting annual conferences and associationsAbu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a division of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), made significant strides in attracting business into the emirate in 2016 by leading and supporting bids to host a number of key conferences in the coming years.
In total, the Bureau, along with partners and stakeholders, successfully submitted applications to host 14 conferences, which are expected to attract more than 35,000 delegates to Abu Dhabi.
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “2016 was a record-breaking year for Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau with the largest number of conference wins to date. These conferences have a highly beneficial economic impact on Abu Dhabi, bringing millions of dirhams of business into the emirate.
“Our achievements have also been recognised by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which has seen Abu Dhabi now rise to 73rd position for cities that attract international associations annually – which makes the UAE capital the fastest-growing destination in the Middle East.”
Major bids supported and won in 2016 include the hosting of the Special Olympics in 2019, which is expected to attract 10,000 participants; the International Conference in Medicine & the Healthcare Professions – Ottawa Conferences in 2018; and the World Obesity Federation – Gulf Regional Conference on Obesity in 2017.
Other significant bids won in 2016 related to medicine include the 6th Congress of the World Union of Wound Healing Societies, which will attract an estimated 6,000 professionals to Abu Dhabi in 2020, and the Wonca World Conference 2020, specialising in family medicine, which will also be held in 2020 with around 4,000 delegates.
A rise in the number and size of healthcare-related conferences is also having a beneficial strategic impact on the emirate, with the sector expected to grow as more conferences are encouraged to hold their annual meetings in Abu Dhabi.
In October 2016, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau signed a MoU with the Emirates Medical Association (EMA) and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in a landmark initiative set to further establish Abu Dhabi as a thriving international medical meetings hub.
The MoU aims to increase the number of international medical conferences hosted in Abu Dhabi, and foster a collaborative environment of lucrative and productive educational opportunities for medical practitioners throughout the region.
There has also been a significant rise in corporate meetings coming to Abu Dhabi with a special emphasis from India, which remains Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market for visitors into the emirate. Last October, Abu Dhabi hosted 600 members of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), which is expected to drive even more business and leisure tourism.
In the same month, the emirate also hosted the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). The UK is Europe’s largest overseas source market for visitor guest nights and a key market that has seen continued growth in visitor guest nights throughout 2016.
Among the key events earmarked for the emirate this year are World Skills – the world’s largest vocational skills competition – which is set to take place in October in Abu Dhabi with 7,000 young participants anticipated from 76 countries.
In December, up to 15,000 members of the global diabetes community will converge in the emirate to take part in the International Diabetes Federation 2017 Congress. More than 200 speakers, both world-renowned and newcomers, 230 national diabetes associations from 170 countries and high level participation from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and other health organisations will be in attendance.
2018 will also be another busy year for the emirate as the Bureau continues its momentum with the hosting of the World Roads Congress and the World Energy Congress.