The success of the second day at the 6th Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), was highlighted by a well-attended first-of-its-kind free interactive Arabic session hosted by Ali Al Saloom of the AskAli.com fame, where matters pertaining to the meetings industry were explained.
As the aim of the session was to educate United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals and Arabic-speaking meetings professionals on the industry, the session focused on what business travel means for the UAE and the region, what possibilities it provides for the Middle East, as well as the value it holds for the economy.
Among the topics discussed in the session was ‘Emiratisation in tourism’ wherein the importance of UAE nationals getting more involved in the tourism industry and how being on the front line – such as speaking to guests, demonstrating Arab hospitality and becoming a main contact for travelers – would help in bringing about authentic UAE culture to the industry.
“The UAE is already a well-established tourism destination, and leisure travelers from all over the world come here to have a good time,” said Ali Al Saloom, a well-recognized industry expert and Cultural Tourism Consultant at Embrace Arabia Consultancy. “With its multicultural atmosphere, the UAE is an ideal place for people to meet and do business. We have outstanding venues, easy access to almost every part of the world and excellent travel infrastructure. Now, we need to focus on how to brand, market and utilise the destination with all its potential, and define and promote our unique selling point.”
In order to do that, Ali explained that UAE nationals and other Arabic-speaking professionals have to have a better understanding of the industry and for them to actively participate in it in order to bring out the authentic local and regional culture to the global audience.
“We see the business travel sector as important but regionally, it is not yet well understood. Therefore, by explaining the industry in Arabic, we are creating awareness of the entire spectrum and its commercial potential,” said Ali. “In order to be sustainable, we need to be authentic. In order to do so, we need the local touch and local people to be involved and visible as hosts for our international guests. Once we have strong local participation in the industry, we can then emphasize on creating unique experiences that are really ‘Made-in-the-UAE’.”
“We are truly amazed by the response that this new Arabic session to the educational programme has brought to the entire event,” said Lois Hall, manager, Reed Travel Exhibitions, GIBTM. “As a groundbreaking addition at GIBTM, we wish to thank Mr. Ali Al Saloom for his invaluable contribution to the first-ever Arabic seminar in the region solely dedicated to the MICE industry.”