The fifth Meetings Industry Research Report (in association with meetme) has launched at GIBTM, The Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition.
Presented by Sally Greenhill from The Right Solution and Rob Nicholas of meetme, the results of the research into the Middle Eastern MICE market suggests that although respondents to the survey voiced concerns with the political stability of some destinations, they remained optimistic. The study also revealed that key meetings destinations in the region are likely to enjoy continued growth in the volume of meetings, exhibitions and events for some years to come.
Many of the region’s leading hotels now have block bookings and healthy targets for group quotas. ‘Affordable luxury’ is the positioning of most destinations in the Gulf region and right now it is more affordable and the infrastructure is more developed than ever before. 2011 is seen by many as a watershed year, when the changes and maturity of the meetings industry seen since the financial crisis are expected to realise a more sustainable and positive future.
The research was undertaken during January and February 2011, with responses taken from over 600 international and regional buyers and suppliers.
Report at-a-glance summary
* During 2010 buyer respondents organised an average of 6.2 events in the MENA region, with 47% having organised up to 5 events each, and 13.6 events elsewhere in the world.
* 46% had organised more events in the last twelve months
* 71% of buyers predict an increase in the number of events they hold in the year ahead and a further 25% said the number of events will stay the same
* The UAE still dominates the region as the country of choice for meetings and events, with Dubai still the most popular emirate
* For 2012 and beyond Doha and Muscat could prove a serious challenge to Dubai and Abu Dhabi due to their new international and inter-regional air routes and convention centres
* The UAE was rated highest in the region for overall satisfaction, with Abu Dhabi rated the top of the emirates within the country; however the region only came in at fifth place when compared with other regions around the world
* The mean number of delegates attending events in the last twelve months was 208 - almost the same as 207 last year, yet up from 154 in 2009
* 32% said they had experienced more delegates at their events in the last twelve months
* The region has a shorter mean duration than Europe at 3.37 days
* The mean budget for events per respondent dropped to $1.89 million compared to $2.3 million last year with $300,000 allocated to events in the region compared to $495,000 last year
* Cost and quality of accommodation remain the top priorities for 2011, with security coming in at third place.
* 71% think the value of their business will increase, although the percentage thinking the volume of events will increase has not changed
* 86% of suppliers will be developing new business from the region in 2011/12, with on average 14% of their marketing budget allocated to activities in the region
* 41% of suppliers indicated that they thought budgets would increase in the year ahead. This conflicts with the thoughts of buyers who said they would like more for their money!
* Suppliers’ belief that the MENA region offers them more growth potential for future business than anywhere else in the world has not waivered despite current challenges
* The UAE has historically been seen as expensive and the message of ‘affordable luxury’ may still not be totally appropriate to some clients
* According to suppliers the key to increasing their business includes political stability and security, greater awareness of what the region has to offer through increased marketing, economic growth an improved financial climate, increased air routes and access and an easier visa process