The fourth edition of the Gulf Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) confirmed that the premier meetings event in the Gulf, attracting the largest annual gathering of meeting professionals in the region, continues to drive and shape an expanding sector.
Initial unaudited figures saw record numbers of Hosted Buyers, over 260 from 40 countries, up 10% on 2009. A total of around 7,500 meetings took place with the 220 exhibitors – up from 6,390 last year.
Commenting on the show Graeme Barnett, GIBTM Exhibition Director said: “In what has been a particularly challenging time for the industry in the last year, the event has proven there are clear, optimistic signs that meeting and event planners are recognising the enormous potential the region has to do business. One only has to see the new hotel and venue developments opening or being planned for Abu Dhabi alone.
“In what was my last year as Exhibition Director of GIBTM, before taking the reins of EIBTM, the show in is in excellent shape to grow and expand from both a regional and international exhibitors’ perspective, and attract even more regional trade visitors.”
GIBTM’s three day education programme attracted over 200 regional and international attendees. GIBTM’s Association and Education Manger said: “We were delighted with the attendance and the quality of the sessions this year at GIBTM. The content of the programme reinforces the need for professional education at the show. One of the highlights was the presentation of the fourth GIBTM Middle East Meetings Research Report 2010, which gave a valuable in-sight into the spending patterns and the mood of the market in the region. “We have already commenced the planning and development of the education programme for 2011 in partnership with ICCA, MPI and Site.”
Industry optimism from this year’s GIBTM is highlighted by some of the comments from exhibitors and Hosted Buyers.
What the exhibitors said
“For the fourth year running GIBTM was highly productive for Abu Dhabi and our stakeholders. The highlight was our hosting of 260 influential buyers - the largest in the show’s history - which gave us an unrivalled opportunity to demonstrate, first hand, this destination’s greatly expanded Business Tourism and MICE offering. The number of appointments were up by 17% and we noted a much greater presence of regional buyers this year which was particularly encouraging.” Gillian M. Taylor, Business Tourism Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority
“We have been participating at GIBTM since its launch. This event helps us connect and meet with Hosted Buyers from the region and overseas and we have seen serious buyers and groups with strong business potential.” Mohammad Ibrahim Masri, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, UAE.
“This is really good exposure for the brand, especially as we are launching more hotels in the Middle East with Doha next to open in 2011. GIBTM is a great opportunity for key industry players to come together, and we are looking forward to bringing our own Hosted Buyers in the future.” Valerie Vayssiere-Hugill, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, UK.
“We attend GIBTM every year to maximise the opportunity to develop awareness for our name to new and existing buyers. We had fifteen meetings on day one alone and have had interest from Italy and Belgium.” Nevine Albert Ezzat, Millennium Hotel, Abu Dhabi.
“Full appointments with no time for a break. A great success. The size of the show enables us to have fully focussed meetings that finalise deals.” Gamal Sadek, Director Oman Ministry of Tourism.
“A well run, organised, classy event which definitely suits our business. We’ve had the opportunity to meet a significant number of buyers from the Middle East and India and we are confident that we will gain a lot of business from the show.” Tom Kenyon-Slaney, The London Speaker Bureau.
What the Buyers said
“GIBTM has been great. I have met people that we will do business with. We are in the Middle East for the long haul and being at GIBTM is a great starting point.” Johnathan Bodansky, BSL World, UK.
“GIBTM is perfect for us. The meetings I have had have been excellent and I anticipate closing business deals.” Artem Kikitin, Personne Travel Club, Russia.
“GIBTM has given me the opportunity to meet representatives and suppliers I have been trying to meet for many years.” Rajeev Wadden, Omragga Conference and Services, India.
“The Hosted Buyer programme is made for us. We have had 40 appointments arranged over the three days. We are meeting with very good people and expect to do good business from the show.” Humaid Al Mujaini, Golden Tours, Oman.