Abu Dhabi is on a fast-track trajectory to become one of the world’s leading MICE destinations, providing a solid base from which planners can access the very latest in forward-thinking expertise within a city conducive to mixing business with pleasure.
With strength in financial services, aerospace, healthcare and academia, Abu Dhabi is at the forefront of research and development across a broad spectrum of sectors. Its growing knowledge economy and forward-focused ecosystem across both public and private sectors add value for international associations and event organisers seeking to align themselves with local innovators and global leaders in a variety of industries.
Taking the lead in business events push
In recent years, efforts by the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau (ADCEB) have seen the emirate steadily climb up international rankings as a business event destination.
Not only has Abu Dhabi retained its title as the smartest city in the MENA region since 2020, according to the International Institute for Management Development’s Smart City Index, the emirate was also ranked the number one city in the Middle East for association meetings in 2022 by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
ADCEB has been strengthening ties with key international organisations in the meetings space, signing a strategic partnership with the United Networks of International Corporate Event Organizers (UNICEO). The joint venture will offer enhanced networking, business support and destination awareness opportunities to UNICEO’s community of corporate events decision-makers.
The Bureau also lent its support to spearhead and redevelop the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence’s (SITE) Arabia Chapter in Abu Dhabi in May of this year, with the aim of driving the incentive travel segment for the MENA region. ADCEB is also active within industry-led organisations including UFI, PCMA and ICCA to facilitate capacity building, industry development and knowledge transfer.
Growing connections with the world
Driving and growing MICE connections is at the heart of ADCEB’s proposition for international meetings and events planners.
ADCEB has continued to expand its international footprint into newer markets with the launch of a new representative office in Seoul, bringing its support closer to Asia Pacific where it already has offices in China (Beijing), India (New Delhi) and Australia (Sydney).
When it comes to international trade events, ADCEB has been making its presence felt at key MICE shows including IBTM and IMEX. At IBTM 2022, Abu Dhabi received the award for the Best Large Stand, and most recently, at IMEX 2023, it led a delegation of 22 co-exhibitors to the annual convention in Frankfurt.
On home ground, Abu Dhabi has been readily building connections to unlock opportunities in the MICE sector. Building on the success of its 2021 and 2022 editions, the Abu Dhabi Business Events Week is returning in September 2023 to once again bring together leading experts in the MICE industry from around the MENA region.
Exciting pipeline of events
Abu Dhabi’s innovative and knowledge-based economy, supported by a robust digital-first infrastructure, has seen the emirate swiftly grow its pipeline of world-renowned international meetings and business events.
A key event to be hosted in Abu Dhabi in October 2023 is the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investment – the 8th World Investment Forum. This forum aims to address key investment challenges caused by today’s multiple global crises, including the need to invest in food security, energy, health, supply chain resilience and productive capacity growth in the poorest countries.
The following month, Abu Dhabi will host The Fortune Global Forum, an event hosted by the editors of Fortune magazine since 1995 in cities on the dynamic frontiers of global business. The forum’s first foray into the MENA region is set to be a landmark gathering, bringing together CEOs and key leaders to shape the future of business on a global scale.
Parallel to its growth in hosting high-profile international meetings, Abu Dhabi is also increasingly attracting the incentive travel reward market. This year-end, the emirate will welcome 3,000 Chinese participants from a world-renowned company for a high-end incentive programme.
The dynamic roster of events continues into next year, when Abu Dhabi will welcome delegates to the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization and the 12th World Environmental Education Congress.
Pioneering creativity and sustainability
In line with Abu Dhabi’s vision to establish itself as a sustainable and culturally diverse global city brimming with creativity and discovery opportunities for visitors, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) is actively collaborating with local stakeholders to deliver world-class experiences underpinned by green principles.
Recognised by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Abu Dhabi has been officially designated as a ‘City of Music’. Furthermore, the capital city also welcomed the opening of the Abrahamic Family House, a testament to its commitment to bringing people and cultures together, housing a mosque, a church, and a synagogue within its premises.
To promote sustainability with the tourism and business events sectors, the DCT Abu Dhabi is spearheading new initiatives such as the introduction of a carbon calculator, allowing hotels in Abu Dhabi to estimate their carbon footprint, and conducting sustainability audits for all hotels across the emirate.
Event spaces of all shapes, sizes and styles
Abu Dhabi provides a range of venues, from high-end luxury to more modest spaces for those on a budget. The fit-for-purpose Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) offers an impressive 142,226 square metres of event space. ADNEC also has six on-site hotels, with standards ranging from three to five stars, offering a total of 1,800 hotel rooms.
Beyond ADNEC, visitors are spoilt for choice with meeting and accommodation options across a range of price points.
A supporting and enriching environment
To attract international B2B events, ADCEB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ADNEC Group to launch a new fund to provide financial incentives and support to corporate meeting planners and incentive houses hosting events with over 500 pax in the destination.
ADCEB’s existing MICE initiatives include Advantage Abu Dhabi Meetings & Incentives 2.0, an upgraded programme that stimulates MICE activities in the region, as well as the MICE Agencies Reward Scheme, targeting intermediaries such as agencies, planners and travel management companies with training, industry updates and the latest products.
To learn more and to discover why you should be holding your next event in Abu Dhabi, head over the ADCEB website for more information.
This article is brought to you by Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau.