Signs the regional and global meetings industry is confident about 2013 business prospects are clearly evident in the robust pre-show bookings reported from Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organizer of GIBTM, the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition. The show, which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center from March 25-27, has already sold 90 percent of all floor space with a flood of new exhibitors and existing participants snapping up larger displays.
“We are well on target to achieve our increased floor space target compared to last year and should have several more exhibitors on board within the next few weeks,” said Lois Hall, exhibition manager, GIBTM. “Newcomers to GIBTM this year represent a wide geographical spread and include the Madrid Visitors & Convention Bureau (MV&CB), the National Tourism Organization of Serbia, Cast Software and San Francisco Travel.”
Regular exhibitors demonstrating their confidence in the show’s ability to deliver results include Bahrain Ministry of Tourism, Etihad Airways and Jordan Tourism Board, which have all doubled the size of their exhibition stands for this year.
“It is significant that Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt have booked a large amount of floor space, and it’s another positive indicator that the region’s meetings’ industry professionals are upbeat about economic prospects for 2013 and beyond,” said Hall.
Ignacio Fernández, CEO, MV&CB described GIBTM as an “essential forum for making initial contact with travel and tourism countries in the Middle East,” a region Madrid has identified as a “potentially strong market for Meeting, Incentives, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) business.”
Fernández pinpointed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a key source market for Madrid given that air traffic between the UAE and Spain increased 34 percent in 2011 versus 2010.
The Hosted Buyer recruitment process for the 2013 edition of GIBTM is also well underway, with 300 senior-level regional and international buyers from leading associations, corporations, destination management companies and conference organizers expected to attend.
“The VIP Hosted Buyer Program, which was initiated to attract the region’s highly sought-after corporate buyers from Gulf Coast nations including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is also attracting decision makers from the lucrative vertical sectors such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, IT, finance and automotive,” said Hall.
GIBTM’s Hosted Buyer Program attracts buyers with a combined budget exceeding $827 million. These buyers attend 7,600 pre-scheduled appointments to meet with more than 350 exhibitors from 36 different countries.
Highlights of this year’s show include the European and Asian Market Focus Hours. These provide a full hour of networking between European exhibitors and buyers who have or will be placing business in Europe, and Asian exhibitors and buyers who have or will be placing business in Asia.
“This will provide suppliers in both regions with a highly-targeted platform for meeting buyers interested in placing business with them,” said Hall.
Now in its seventh year, GIBTM attracts more than of 2,400 industry professionals annually.