22 Apr Catalyst for growth!
GIBTM 2014 opened strongly as regional destinations build towards hosting mega-events with widespread infrastructure development.
Raising the bar
The Gulf meetings industry is in its most buoyant state since the financial crisis of 2008, following a period of intense infrastructure develompent and several mega-events wins that have drawn the global spotlight onto the UAE and Qatar, in particular.
The announcement that Dubai was to be the host destination for World Expo 2020 and Qatar as the venue for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 immediately galvanised the meetings industry in both destinations. They are now catalyst for growth, both in the run-up to these events and as part of the legacy that will inevitably follow.
UAE has already accomplished its most successful tourism performance in history with its two leading emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, welcoming almost 14 million visitors combined. This represents a visitor-to-resident ration of more that 3:1 over the course of the year.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai have hosted so far over 328 events, many of them conferences and summits, and in the future such as EcoCity World summit 2015 and World Skills 2017. Considering this, both cities have represented excellent results for a large-scale meetings sector that was almost non-existent five years ago.
European exhibitors were present at GIBTM to capitalise on the immense outbound opportunities represented by a region that is increasingly becoming the global hub for business and operations straddling Europe and Asia. The objective was given a boost bt the announcemnet by the European Parlamnet to allow visa-free travel for UAE nationals to the Schengen areas if the continent .
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