SUCCESSFUL EXPO 2020 BID TO STIMULATE UAE MEETINGS INDUSTRY !!
MICE sector professionals and GIBTM exhibitors predict exponential growth in business events as global attention focuses on UAE’s world-class MICE infrastructure Dubai’s successful World Expo 2020 bid will accelerate economic growth throughout the UAE and MENA region, will provide renewed stimulus to the meetings and incentives sector according to industry experts and executives at Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings (GIBTM) showcase.
“The UAE will be the first ever Middle East nation to host the World Expo, bringing an anticipated 25 million visitors to Dubai, 71% of whom will hail from overseas,” said GIBTM Exhibition Manager Lois Hall. “This will raise the profile of the UAE even further, highlighting its status as a global meetings hub before, during and after the event and supported by an estimated US$7 billion worth of transport and tourism-related infrastructure development.”
Hall highlighted Bank of America Merrill Lynch predictions that the event could positively impact UAE GDP by as much as $23 billion between 2015 and 2021 and add 277,000 new jobs. “If you then consider Alpen Capital’s estimate that UAE tourism receipts will increase by 67% over the next five years, it puts the meetings industry in pole position to capitalise on this historic opportunity,” she added.
HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), said: “The Expo will deliver global exposure for the entire UAE and its tourism sector, including its world-class infrastructure.
“Those arriving to visit Expo 2020 will no doubt be open to discovering other parts of the country and its many facets both from a cultural and tourism perspective.” Dubai Convention and Events Bureau (DCEB) director of convention and business tourism Steen Jakobsen said the Expo would “position Dubai in the minds of so many people involved in the decision-making process for congresses and meetings”.
“They will look on Dubai and know it’s hosting the Expo, which will give them confidence; if they believe Dubai is capable of hosting an Expo they will know it is capable hosting their meeting,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO strategy and tourism sector development, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said hosting an Expo was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to be part of a dynamic international agenda that “established global partnerships to boost economies, bridge geographical divides by increasing connectivity and trade, and encouraging sustainable growth and development”.
The MICE sector currently generates AED 2.4 billion (US$653 million) per annum for the UAE capital alone, with annual growth of at least 7% predicted for the industry by 2020, taking its contribution to more than AED 5.1 billion ($1.39 billion) by the time the Expo takes place.
Martin Sirk, CEO of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), congratulated Dubai’s Expo win and said: “Having seen first-hand what a tremendous developmental and marketing impact the Expo made in 2012 on Shanghai, where ICCA has just held its own global congress, I am sure Expo 2020 will prove to be a massive stimulant to the entire (GCC) region’s meetings infrastructure and industry in general.”
ICCA, is just one of several key industry partners and exhibitors at the upcoming edition of GIBTM, which takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 24-26 March 2014. The show has recently confirmed participation from Bahrain and Qatar, which along with Jordan, will participate in GIBTM’s inaugural post-show familiarisation trip programme for Hosted Buyers.
Other new initiatives for GIBTM 2014 include Business Travel @GIBTM, which offers a full day of networking and educational opportunities for this specific sector; the first-ever GIBTM-hosted ‘Market Focus on Asia’ event along with a dedicated Asia Pavilion; and the sourceme Pavilion, in partnership with Nicholas Publishing InternationaI (NPI), which will showcase the region’s leading event service suppliers.