First incentive exhibition hits Gulf

Reed Travel Exhibition’s first Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) is expected to sell 4,500 square metres of space and attract 1,750 visitors when it makes its debut in Abu Dhabi this March.

The launch of GIBTM supports Reed’s long-term strategy to develop its portfolio of global meetings and incentive events that include EIBTM, CIBTM, AIME, ICCA and LACIME. These events now serve the meetings and incentives industry across the globe. 

Set to take place during Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Week at the new ADNEC conference centre, GIBTM will compliment a new long-term initiative to develop tourism as a key driver for economic growth in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East and North Africa.

Abu Dhabi has recently emerged as a major meetings business destination for the Middle East, and according to Reed, there has been rising demand in the region to have a dedicated and regular event for the meetings and incentives industry.

“GIBTM aims to be a lynchpin in thrusting the gulf and the Middle East region head first into the running as a serious contender for the meetings and incentives industry,” says Paul Kennedy MBE, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions. 


“Reed Travel Exhibitions will bring together suppliers and buyers in a dedicated meeting place, where networking and professional education will play an important part in the programme.” 

Graeme Barnett and Katie Devaney have been appointed to head the organising team and will report to Paul Kennedy.

In order to facilitate Abu Dhabi’s growth as a major business meetings destination, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) is building a new state-of-the-art conference centre, which will be the venue for GIBTM.

When complete, the exhibition centre will feature 56,000 square metres of hall space, a 21,000 square metres concourse, an 8,000sqm high specification multi-purpose hall for conferences and events, as well as conference and banqueting facilities for 1,200 people.

“Abu Dhabi is developing at a phenomenal pace and this is driving an escalating demand for exhibitions,” says Simon Horgan, Chief Executive of ADNEC.

According to Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, quality exhibitions will play an important role in creating international awareness of Abu Dhabi, as well as in attracting investment, new industry and business tourism.

Reed were approached by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) to organise GIBTM because of their significant presence in the Middle East. The UK-based organisation already runs Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is now in its 14th year.

“It fitted perfectly with our current strategy to be represented in dynamic emerging markets with the real potential to become key destinations on the map for meeting planners,” says Katie Devaney, Reed’s marketing manager for GIBTM.

According to Devaney, international exhibitors from France, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Singapore, Thailand and the Middle East have already signed up for GIBTM.

Reed is promoting its hosted buyer programme - the buyer-driven format has already proved successful at EIBTM where over 30,000 one-to-one meetings took place in 2006.

Trade visitors and hosted buyers in attendance will include corporate buyers, agency buyers, professional conference organisers, meetings planners, business travel and incentive travel buyers and agency buyers.

A total of 250 hosted buyers are expected to attend GIBTM from the Middle East, Asia and Europe and will be invited to an ice breaker reception on the evening prior to opening.

Other networking events include free professional education seminars and the Chief Executives Summit meeting and dinner.

GIBTM has not been without complication, having recently announced a change of date in order to assist Abu Dhabi in hosting a major United Nations Organisation (UN) conference during the period when GIBTM was originally due to take place.

However Reed has remained upbeat about the situation and looked to the support they have received from sponsors and partners.

“We are very much on track to deliver an event that will bring together the Gulf and Middle East with international suppliers and buyers to create a vital forum for discussion, networking and education,” explained Devaney.

“This will transform the meetings industry in the region and that will be pivotal in the development and growth of the industry.” 

Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market won World’s Leading Travel Exhibition at the World Travel Awards 2006


By Anna Gouldman

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