BITE the region’s premier consumer travel show

Dr Al Ali and Wafa sign the sponsorship agreement

After five successful years under the patronage of HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, BITE 2010 will take place from May 13 to 15 at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Conference Centre (BIEC), under the patronage of Minister of Culture and Information Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa whose ministry is responsible for the kingdom’s official tourism efforts.

Jamil Wafa, group founder and executive chairman of Magnum Holdings the parent company of Magnum Events and Exhibitions Management (MEEM), which organises BITE 2010, paid tribute to the minister saying: “Her Excellency Sheikha Mai has extended the full support of the ministry to BITE. The ministry will be hosting a workshop for the hosted buyers.”

Hisham Al Baradie of MEEM with Sheikha Mai

MEEM recently welcomed Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) as platinum sponsor of BITE 2010 with the signing of an official agreement between Wafa and Dr Osama Al Ali, chief executive of Bahrain Airport Company. “We welcome Bahrain Airport Company on board BITE 2010 as the platinum sponsor and hope the relationship between BAC and BITE will grow over the years to come,” said Wafa.  Dr Al Ali added: “Bahrain Airport Company is pleased to support activities that seek to elevate the travel industry in Bahrain. Moreover, BITE will be a platform to showcase the direction we are taking to transform Bahrain International Airport into a world-class aviation hub and strengthen its contribution to Bahrain’s economy and travel industry.”

Speaking of the tough times that have been experienced in the travel industry in general and also across the Mice industry , Wafa said: “BITE is a commitment we have made to Bahrain and to the Crown Prince HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who supported the exhibition from its inception. We will continue with our promise and commitment despite all the challenges.

“Several leading regional and international companies are participating in a big way and there is no compromise on the quality of the show.  BITE will remain the gathering of the right company, meeting the right people, at the right time. A place where great minds meet!”

This year’s event will see 45 hosted buyers coming from Russia, China and India. At the workshop Dr Heba Aziz, executive director and advisor tourism affairs at the Bahrain Ministry of Culture and Information, will present a paper on ‘Bahrain … small is beautiful’ and Ashwini Kakkar, executive vice chairman Mercury India will talk about   ‘India Outbound’.

BITE has grown over the past five years from a show in 2005 with 14 countries and 40 exhibitors, which took up an area of 1,100 sq m, to this year’s event which will feature around 90 exhibitors, with 55 per cent of them from Bahrain and the others coming from approximately 30 countries, occupying an area of 7,000 sqm. The first show attracted around 12,500 visitors and BITE 2010 is expected to draw in approximately 15,000.

BITE, the region’s premier consumer travel show held just before the summer season, is  the ideal forum for the coming together of  local and international operators from a cross section of travel-related businesses, including airlines, car rental companies, conventions and exhibitions professionals, cruise lines, health resorts and spas, hotel accommodation providers, medical tourism, tourist attractions, tourism boards, tour  operators, travel insurance and travel and tourism publications, to interact with  consumers and international Mice buyers under one roof.

“This year will be more challenging than 2009 with corporate budget cuts and an early Ramadan this summer. However 2011 will see more travellers on the move,”  said Abraham John executive director MEEM.

“The exhibition industry around the world is going through a tough time. The number of exhibitors and visitors is on the decline. However, the BIEC calendar of events shows an increase, not taking into account all the events that are held at other locations such as the five-star hotels, Bahrain International Circuit etc.”

The next major event for MEEM is the Mother & Baby Bahrain Show (MBBS 2010) which will be held, for the second year, from November 24 to 26. For the first show the turnout was more than 12,000 visitors with 60 exhibitors from 11 countries participating. This year’s event is expected to be a sell out with a bigger space. More than 50 per cent of  space had already been booked by the beginning of April.

As well as Bahrain Airport Company as platinum sponsor, Qatar Airways is BITE’s gold sponsor and Gulf Air is the  official carrier. The show is actively supported by ABTTA (Association of Bahrain Travel and Tours Agents) and the Capital Governorate. Elite Hospitality is the official hotel, Avenue Car Rental & Leasing provides the ground transportation and TTN and Al Hilal Group are the media partners.