The Middle East is tipped to be one of the biggest movers and shakers at this year's EIBTM as more countries in the region look to develop themselves as meetings destinations.
Several local MICE-related businesses and tourism boards have already signed up to exhibit at the event, which runs at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain from November 27 to 29.
"From Dubai to Oman, Qatar to Bahrain, this is a region that the rest of the world wants to do business with," said Paul Kennedy MBE, group exhibition director of EIBTM organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE).
"Over the longer term, the Middle East is expected to become a powerhouse as an outbound market although many expect it to be at least 10 years before any significant growth is seen."
To date, the Middle East and North Africa will be represented at EIBTM by Dubai World Trade Centre, Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. RTE plans to select a number of hosted buyer groups from the region.
“Demand for meetings and incentives from the region is as yet unknown and unmeasured, but what is very clear is that on the supply side, the pace of development in the Middle East is more impressive than even Asia," Kennedy said.
"A number of destinations from the Gulf and the wider Middle East are looking at Dubai and trying to reinvent themselves as meetings destinations - while the desire for business from the US opens up potential for association business."
RTE said it expected more than 95 countries to be represented at the show and some 6000 hosted buyers, trade visitors and press from around the world.
New exhibitors for 2007 include the China National Tourist Office, Nepal, Sun International, Korea, and Prestige Hotels of the World, while EIBTM will also welcome the biggest ever presence of Eastern and Central European participants, including Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Serbia.
New initiatives for 2007 include a new Mediterranean area; a daily Technology Hour; the MPI Technology Village @ EIBTM; an expanded Event Services Village with 21 exhibitors; and a new third Hosted Buyer Lounge.