Arabian charm works its magic on M&E

Abu Dhabi is gaining interest among meetings and events professionals globally. 

Testament to this is the number of high-calibre suppliers already registered to attend IBTM Arabia 2018, which will take place at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, from February 5 to 7, 2018.

Leading international suppliers confirmed to attend the event include the Azerbaijan Convention Bureau, Czech Tourism Authority, Interprefy, Norwegian Cruise Line, Singapore Tourism Board and the United Nations Conference Centre. Regional suppliers include Atlantis The Palm, Fairmont Ajman, Fujairah, Jumeirah Group, Matrix Audio Visual Entertainment, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority, Rotana Hotels and Resorts and The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah.

They will be joined by hosted buyers from organisations including AIM Group International, ALJ - Toyota, American Express Travel Services, Continental AG, Danone, Firmenich, GSK, Saudi Telecom Company and United Spirits Ltd, from countries including Italy, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

According to the latest IBTM Trends Watch Report, launched at IBTM World last month in Barcelona, the Middle East is fast becoming a major player on the international meetings and events scene. 

Said Shinu Pillai, exhibition manager, IBTM Arabia, "In such a dynamic industry, it is essential that we keep things fresh and exciting for our attendees. Abu Dhabi's ever evolving offer ensures we can do just that, resulting in the long-term success of the event.

The increasing demand in the region and the host city of IBTM Arabia is backed by latest industry reports showing that four- and five-star hotel construction continues to grow, with room occupancy typically ranging between 80-85 percent in popular destinations like Abu Dhabi.

On Abu Dhabi's MICE offering, Shinu commented that it has come a long way since IBTM first held an exhibition there in 2007.

"Now, Abu Dhabi experiences a huge level of ongoing investment and development, meaning that new venues launch every year," he said, citing the examples of the new Louvre Abu Dhabi which opened last month and upcoming major attractions like the Guggenheim.

He also highlighted Abu Dhabi's "major emphasis on networking and relationship building ahead of formal meetings", which makes this an ideal place for meetings and events.

During the three-day IBTM Arabia, attendees can look forward to 12 networking events, which will kick off with a 'Discovery Day', introducing suppliers and Hosted Buyers to some of the highlights of Abu Dhabi, whilst giving them the opportunity to network with each other and key media. 

This year, Discovery Day will include a trip to the new Louvre Abu Dhabi and the opportunity to experience some of the delights of Yas Island.

As part of the Knowledge Programme this year, keynote speaker, Rohit Talwar, global futurist, author and CEO of foresight firm, Fast Future, will provide invaluable insight on how the MICE industry can anticipate, respond and benefit from an emerging future in a world of constant chance.  The programme will also include a panel session led by ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) on destination competitiveness.

On the final day of the event, attendees will take away learnings from a session by Albert Dias, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of the UAE's first full-service OTA - Dias will explore how TMCs will need to bank on intelligence, rather than the outdated mainstay of service, to remain relevant in an era of constant change.

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