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GIBTM: Middle East region emerging as international tradeshow hub

Middle East Region

Would you consider the Gulf Coast region as an emerging or mature market for tradeshows? How has the tradeshow industry grown in the region over the years?

The Gulf is an emerging, but well-established, market in the events industry as it is still growing.
Abu Dhabi and the wider Middle East has benefited from investments by the meetings and events industry in recent years and now boasts world-class facilities and conference centers, which are attracting outbound business from countries all over the world. ADNEC, where GIBTM is held, is the world’s most modern, and the Gulf’s largest, exhibition center. The facility welcomes up to 1.5 million visitors a year and incorporates 55,000 square meters of fully interconnected exhibition floor space.
The economic impact of these business events in the emirate is expected to grow by 7 percent each year until 2020, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

Recently, the Middle East meetings and events industry is becoming one of the fastest growing business tourism generating regions in the world. Abu Dhabi has shown its intent to become a Top 50 destination for the MICE industry within the next five years by opening a convention bureau.

In neighboring Dubai, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has almost doubled its meetings capacity in a bid to keep pace with demand from MICE clients.

How does Reed play an active role in promoting the region as a destination for tradeshows and conventions?

GIBTM is currently our only meetings and incentives show in the region. One of the benefits of attending GIBTM as a Hosted Buyer or Hosted Media is that we organize trips and post-show tours to showcase the region as a MICE destination. International attendees are seeing the Middle East for themselves firsthand and discovering the opportunities that are here.

Other than the United Arab Emirates, how are other nations in the region embracing MICE events?

Elsewhere in the Gulf, major infrastructure projects are underway, including the expansion of Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre (RICEC) where demand for events from an ever-wider range of business sectors is increasing.
Saudi Arabia and Oman are also building and expanding convention facilities. Oman is earmarking the MICE industry as a key growth market; the Sultanate’s tourism development and management company, Omran, is building the OR330 million Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC).


How is GIBTM tailored for the Gulf Coast region market?  gibtm-002_web_ready

As the leading platform for the incentives, business travel and meetings industry in the Middle East, GIBTM, now in its seventh year, is of great importance to the MICE market in the region. The show, which attracts in excess of 2,400 industry professionals annually, is the only event of its kind in the Gulf region. 
GIBTM is unique as it provides a platform for business opportunities that are not available elsewhere since many of the Middle Eastern buyers use GIBTM as their gateway to the international market, and so are unlikely to travel to other shows.

How does the hosted-buyer format benefit the Gulf Coast region exhibitors at GIBTM?

Last year, we saw more than 270 Hosted Buyers attending GIBTM from across the globe, who undertook some 7,672 pre-scheduled appointments. This year, we expect to see an increase in international Hosted Buyers.
Our Hosted Buyer program is aimed at international professionals who organize, influence or make budgetary decisions for international meetings, conferences, incentive travel, business travel, conventions, product launches, staff training and events. This makes meeting with our Hosted Buyers of benefit to our regional exhibitors, allowing them to create potential international business opportunities.

What changes or additions have been made this year to increase the effectiveness of GIBTM?

This year, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of European exhibitors attending the show; their presence on the show floor has quadrupled since last year with no less than 17 European destinations and companies participating. In order to support this increase, we have introduced a specialist European exhibitor pavilion and European ‘Market Focus Spotlight’ networking session.
We are also continuing with the technology zone, which provides exhibitors with the opportunity to highlight their newest technological releases and developments for 2013, placing GIBTM at the forefront of industry innovations in the region.

How does the Educational Program at GIBTM and the release of the seventh GIBTM Middle East Meetings Research study complement the exhibition aspect of the show and shed light on the region as a destination?

We have lots of great additions to the Knowledge Hub section of the show this year, many of which have been selected to enhance the experience of being in the Middle East. The program will deliver real life case studies, strategies for leveraging social media and new technologies designed to inspire meetings industry professionals and provide an opportunity to discuss their insight and examples of what is working and ‘what’s coming next’ in the meetings and events industry.
Event Camp speakers will discuss a range of topics, including marketing and social media at events in the Middle East; making hybrid events work; entering the world of augmented reality; and latest trends in event technology. Event Camp will also run as a hybrid seminar, making GIBTM education accessible to meetings industry professionals worldwide.

Anyone interested in learning more about the GIBTM 2013 Knowledge Hub education program should visit www.gibtm.com/en/Education.

*Answers provided by GIBTM Exhibition Manager Lois Hall

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