ibtm arabia celebrates ten years

The show is a great platform to bring together industry players and this year has seen an increase in the number of buyers – both corporate and regional – attending. It will also feature an impressive line-up of new, fully hosted buyers
ibtm arabia ... creating a true industry community

ibtm arabia 2016 this year celebrates its 10th anniversary as the leading international exclusive event for the Arabian meetings, incentives, conferences and events (Mice) industry. Since opening as the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) in 2006, ibtm arabia and its host Abu Dhabi have undergone major growth.

Shinu Pillai, exhibition manager, ibtm arabia, says: 'Over the past decade ibtm arabia has transformed into one of the Gulf region’s most exclusive and high-profile shows, providing a unique opportunity for top-level buyers to meet leading industry suppliers from the Middle East and around the globe.

'When we first opened our doors in 2007, the regional Mice industry outside of Dubai was only in its infancy. ibtm arabia was the first such event to help establish and build the industry in the Gulf region, and throughout the last decade it has served as a catalyst for expanding and developing the Arabian Mice industry.'

Mubarak Al Shamisi, director of Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, remarks: 'Having recently undergone a significant enhancement in its tourism infrastructure, Abu Dhabi is now better placed than ever to meet organisers’ highest expectations. With headline attractions, stunning new resorts, a re-energised commitment to service and delivery excellence, the destination has entered a new era of maturity.'

A report from Alpen Capital suggests that international association meetings in the Middle East have more than tripled over the past 10 years. Supporting this, the last Amadeus report shows the GCC Mice industry is seeing continuous growth and that the Middle East is set to expand even further while attracting high-profile global events and state-of-the-art infrastructural investments.

Mice visitors to Dubai currently equate to 0.9 million, this is estimated to double to between 1.7 and 1.9 million by 2020. The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) suggested that the Mice sector is currently generating $1.4 billion per annum for Abu Dhabi and it is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2020.

Guy Hutchinson, COO of Rotana, which has been exhibiting at the show since 2008, comments: 'ibtm arabia has worked out to be a great platform for bringing together key industry players from the Mice industry and also helped the development of Mice tourism in Abu Dhabi and the region. Abu Dhabi has successfully secured high profile events such as concerts with renowned artists, Fifa World Cup and Fifa under 17s, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Formula 1, Judo Championship, Jujitsu Tournament, WWE, Abu Dhabi Gourmet, Volvo Ocean Race, Red Bull Air Race, HSBC Golf Championship and F1 Powerboat.'

Stuart Deeson, general manager of the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, says: 'ibtm arabia has been an excellent vehicle for bringing an increasing number of key decision-makers to the city and getting them to experience the wonderful range of facilities and services the city has to offer.'

This year ibtm arabia will take place at the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi from February 9 to 11. ibtm arabia is run with the support of TCA Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and Etihad Airways.

'ibtm arabia creates a true industry community, where participants stay in the same hotel and attend the same activities, from meetings to lunch, drinks and dinner. This enables genuine ongoing relationships to develop which leads to real business. ibtm events are not about the size of an event, it is about making that event 100 per cent valuable to all attendees,' says Pillai.

ibtm arabia 2016 has seen an increase in the total number of buyers attending, as well as an increase in corporate buyers and regional buyers. This year’s event will feature an impressive line-up of new, fully hosted buyers, including Coca-Cola (Poland), AW Europe (Belgium), Peugeot Citroen (Russia), Korea Railroad Research Institute, Provident Global Capital Group (Hong Kong), Abbott (UAE), Cognizant (UK), Tata Capital Financial Services (India) and Kuoni Mice & Special Groups (Switzerland) as well as buyers from other countries in the Middle East and beyond including France, Germany, Portugal, the US, Latin America, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

All hosted buyers are handpicked, personally invited and verified against a strict qualification criteria, which requires that they are senior level decision-makers with proven budget and business to place in the Middle East. Some 80 per cent of the hosted buyers confirmed to attend ibtm arabia 2016 have a budget over $5 million and organise a variety of events; 90 per cent organise conferences and meetings, 80 per cent incentive travel, 71 per cent business travel, and 59 per cent luxury travel. Confirmed hosted buyers this year have also indicated a variety of product interests: 88 per cent indicated an interest in hotels, 80 per cent in destination management services, 66 per cent in conferences/meeting venues, and 63 per cent in attractions and entertainment.

ibtm arabia will also feature a number of new exhibitors including Fairmont, Raffles & Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, Alpha Destination Management, Attikos Ilios, Europe Hotel, Golden Tours, Hill Mice Saudi Arabia and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. All exhibitors at ibtm arabia will have access to the pre-scheduled appointment system, which gives them access to the world-class corporate, association, agency and incentive buyers at the show.

Exhibitors will be able to pre-schedule appointments with the Hosted Buyers that they identify as relevant to their business interests with a diary of up to 30 appointments.