His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan – Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority opened the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition 2011 – GIBTM – in Abu Dhabi today, which over the next three days is playing host to the largest annual gathering of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) professionals in the Gulf and wider Middle East.
Lloyd Kenyon, GIBTM’s Exhibition Manager, reported that this year’s edition of the show had attracted over 275 exhibitors, which was a significant increase from 2010 which had 228 companies taking part. New exhibitors include BSL, Fujairah, Lebanon, Syria, Indonesia, Bahrain, MSC Cruises and Costa Do Sauipe. Those who have increased their stand space for 2011 include the Turkish Culture & Tourism Office, Argentina – INPROTUR, Jumeirah and Movenpick.
266 senior level Hosted Buyers, who are hoping to find out what’s new within the industry from both an inbound and outbound business perspective, will have more than 7,000 pre-scheduled appointments with exhibitors over the three day show. A 12 percent increase in pre-registered visitors for this year’s edition of GIBTM demonstrates the growing interest in the region’s MICE industry.
“Exhibitors represent all aspects of the meetings industry from destinations, convention centres, hotel groups and airlines to cruise companies, DMCs and technology suppliers,” said Kenyon.
“Since its inception five years ago, GIBTM has firmly established itself as the region’s premier event for the meetings industry. It 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.
“One of the other mainstays of GIBTM that is featured yet again this year is our educational programme. We will be staging a diverse range of subjects that underline the event’s commitment to raising industry standards and encourage learning and development among the MICE sector community. Of particular importance this year is our targeting of the private sector since there are still many who are not aware of the excellent deals and opportunities that there are out there.”
Lloyd Kenyon also previewed a presentation of the Middle East meetings industry research, which is commissioned by GIBTM in association with meetme each year for the show, saying that the results would yet again be presenting a positive and encouraging reflection on the future of the meetings industry in the region. The results from 555 buyer respondents are optimistic on the volume of events forecast for the year ahead,” he concluded.
GIBTM 2011 runs for a further two days – Tuesday 29th March and Wednesday 30th March – at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. Registration onsite is free of charge for business professionals.