Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria and Fujairah will be joining already established exhibitors from across the region in what will be the biggest show in the event’s five-year history.
This year’s Gulf Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), which is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from the 28th to 30th March, is attracting a number of new exhibitors from around the Arab world for the very first time.
GIBTM is the premier event in the Middle East for the rapidly developing Middle Eastern ‘MICE’ (Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Exhibitions) market. It brings together a combination of regional and international industry buyers and suppliers, for three days of business opportunities, networking and professional education.
New exhibitors from Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria and Fujairah will be joining already established exhibitors from across the region in what will be the biggest show in the event’s five-year history.
Mrs. Nada Yaseen the Act. Asst. Undersecretary of the Tourism Sector – Ministry of Culture explained that GIBTM was central to raising the level of MICE activity within Bahrain’s developing tourism infrastructure. “As Bahrain continues to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons, the kingdom is emphasising its status as a strategic financial hub and business centre. The MICE segment is a mainstay of the Bahraini market and a number of upcoming developments will solidify Bahrain’s position as a regional centre for business travellers.
The country’s MICE segment, whilst a substantial contributor to the local industry, has already made significant contribution the country’s GDP and will be a future driver of economic growth for the country. Cost competitive and strategically located between the East and the West with a strong focus on culture and history, puts Bahrain in a good position to attract Meeting and Event planners looking for an authentic and memorable Arabic experience combined with first class service ,” she said.
“Bahrain is expected to generate revenue of more than $250m from the sector in the next two years, having already shown a healthy growth since 2008, when Bahrain launched its “Business-Friendly” brand, to build on the country’s reputation as a leading market for international business and MICE tourism. Bahrain’s excellent reputation for hosting of the Formula 1 Grand Prix continues to draw tens of thousands of visitors and we have a number of other attractions that make the Kingdom a venue of choice for those looking for a MICE destination with a difference. We will be using GIBTM as a platform to inform potential visitors of what we have to offer.”
Fujairah, too, will be exhibiting at the show for the first time this year. It will be the fourth of the Emirates appearing there (along with Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah) and will be hoping to attract new business following in the footsteps of its neighbours.
Al Diar Siji Hotel in Fujairah, a five-star hotel managed by Abu Dhabi National Hotels, will be exhibiting at GIBTM, explaining to visitors how it has shifted its focus onto MICE business. “We have been busy with conferences, company meetings and trainings, as well as weddings and other functions, thereby giving the hotel’s income a boost,” said Fouad Melhem, the hotel’s general manager. “We want more people to be aware that these facilities are available in the Northern Emirates, particularly in Fujairah where conference guests can also get to enjoy the beaches, mountains and other water activities,” he said. “That is why we will be fully promoting our meetings and conference facilities.”
Lebanon and Syria are also viewed as important new exhibitors at the show, and many see their presence as a reflection of the growing popularity of Middle Eastern destinations in the overall MICE sector.
“The cultural and historical melting pot you can see in one place is truly remarkable and makes you feel the true cosmopolitan nature of Lebanon,” says Dr. Nada Sardouk of the Lebanon Ministry of Tourism. “Lebanon is a fantastic place and a great Mediterranean destination in close proximity to Europe and the Gulf Region. The tourism sector contributes 23% to the country’s GDP. Considering the numerous high profile conferences and events taking place in Beirut, and the fact that there are beaches for summer and mountains for winter activities; Lebanon provides an experience and reason to visit all year around."
“Over US$3 billion is being invested in Lebanon’s tourism sector, with 20 international hotels currently under construction in Beirut, which will add an additional 1,000 rooms,” added Lloyd Kenyon, Exhibition Manager of GIBTM. “And the overall number of tourists visiting Syria rose 63 percent in the first half of 2010 to nearly four and a half million. Both countries have unique offerings which many who organise incentive travel and exhibitions will find irresistible.
“The growing importance of the Middle East within the global economy has been a major driver for the success of GIBTM. This is the only international exhibition in the Middle East region dedicated entirely to the business of meetings and events; and it provides the perfect business platform for both international and regional venues, hotels, destinations and suppliers to meet with local, regional and international meeting planners, incentive travel buyers and those involved in the global meetings and events industry,” Kenyon concluded.
More information on the exhibitors, networking opportunities and the seminars being given can be found on the GIBTM website.
GIBTM is being held under the patronage of its Chairman, HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, ADNEC, Etihad and The Vision are all exclusive partners for GIBTM 2011. Meetme, published by NPI, is a global media partner and publisher of the Official Show Daily publication.