ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The international MICE industry gathered in Abu Dhabi this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ibtm arabia (formerly GIBTM). Representing buyers and sellers of MICE products from more than 40 countries, some 3,000 appointments took place alongside networking parties, an opening forum, knowledge forum, lunches and dinners with 250 participants staying together for the duration at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers creating the Arabian region’s annual MICE community gathering.
“Despite a late start, the rapid expansion of infrastructure, commerce and tourism in the UAE has outpaced every other destination in the world. As a result, this year we have had a lot of new exhibitors wanting to be part of our unique meeting pod event. We then matched each supplier’s business objectives with the right professional meeting planner resulting in a broad spectrum of Hosted Buyers from every sector of the industry.
“ibtm arabia really does provide the perfect setting for business connections. From Discovery Day providing an icebreaker to meet other attendees whilst exploring Abu Dhabi together, to 2 days of back to back business meetings to further those connections and create new ones, to the numerous networking events and the incredible hospitality of the 5-starJumeirah at Etihad Towers,” commented Shinu Pillai, Exhibition Manager, ibtm arabia.
With the MICE sector as the highest earning component of any tourism industry and increasingly having the greatest economic impact on a city and destination, ibtm arabia kicked off with the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau showcasing the Emirate’s depth, breadth and diversity of business event products and services with a Discovery Day.
The Hosted Buyer community also showed their support for the event. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from Reed Exhibitions, this has been the best chance to network in the Middle East, and it has provided a combination of business opportunities as well – I have signed 4 deals!” added Gavril Misios from 7 of 9 Services Cyprus.
Esther Romero of Andalucia Tourist Board said of the Hosted Buyer community: “We have met good Buyers who are looking for DMC’s and Convention Bureaus in Andalucia. It has been very interesting and a great show.”
ibtm arabia this year provided 100% new Hosted Buyers and saw an increase in the total number of exhibitors attending – the event is considered the leading international event of its kind in the region.
Malik Shishtawi, Marketing Manager of Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, added that as a first time exhibitor they liked the “new closed format which helped us utilize our time in the best way.” He also said that the whole event was a “great networking opportunity and a good way to create awareness about our new venue.”
“ibtm arabia is one of the most important shows in the Middle East, we have signed contracts with some big companies,” said exhibitor Hill MICE, Saudi Arabia, one of the country’s top events organizing companies.
First time exhibitor Mohsen Hafez of Golden Tours Egypt said that ibtm arabia raised the profile of their company: “It’s been a great opportunity for getting new business and letting other companies and potential clients know about our services. We’ve had some positive appointments – it’s been great exposure.”
ibtm arabia 2017 will take place from February 7-9.
eTN is a media partner for ibtm.