Bookings for BITE 2009 already received

One of the impressive stands at BITE 2008

THE Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE) 2008, which greeted more than 18,000 visitors at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) last month, was declared as a resounding success by the organisers.

Soon afterwards it was revealed that more than 35 per cent of the exhibition space had already been reserved for next year's show.
“The response was so encouraging that we may increase the exhibition space from 8,000 sq m to 10,000 sq m or more next year,” said Jamil Wafa, group chairman of Magnum Holdings, the parent company of Magnum Events and Exhibitions Management (MEEM), the organisers of BITE.
“Besides national carrier Gulf Air, airlines like Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Bahrain Air, Jet Airways and Delta sold holiday packages to hundreds of visitors.
'Both Bahrain Air and Jet Airways have reserved bigger and better space for next year’s event.”
BITE 2008 provided the convenience of the weekend, thus making it more consumer friendly.
“Next year’s event will also be held during a weekend, from May 14 to 16,' said Wafa.
“I am very delighted with the response received from the exhibitors as well as the visitors,” he said. Some have already booked for the fifth time.
Wafa said next year efforts would be made to accommodate more hosted buyers.
“Though we received about 400 applications from around the world, we were able to accommodate only 110 from 22 countries this year,” he said.
“Many of them will now be looking at Bahrain as a MICE destination.
“They have already signed some important deals. I am sure the exhibitors and the consumers, profited from this expo in terms of exposure and transactions undertaken.”
Wafa reiterated that besides the positive reviews, he was not adverse to negative feedback.
“In fact, this will help us enhance on future exhibitions through constructive feedback from visitors and exhibitors, alike,” he said.
BITE was held under the patronage of Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Economic Development Board Chairman Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“The Crown Prince, during his absence abroad, delegated Information Minister Jihad Bukamal, to open the expo, and we are extremely grateful to the Crown Prince for his continued support,” said Wafa.
There were traditional dance performances by the artistes from Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Italy and Syria at regular intervals.
A total of 120 exhibitors, 110 hosted buyers and international media from 44 countries participated at BITE 2008.