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GIBTM: Annual Abu Dhabi show is largest ever

GIBTM: Annual Abu Dhabi show is largest ever Sultan Al Daheri of Abu Dhabi leads the GIBTM opening tour earlier

The Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings show welcomed over 74 first-time participants, over 250 key targeted hosted buyers, over 2,000 trade visitors, expanded its line-up to include a fresh business travel focus and added exclusive access to new industry research.

GIBTM 2014 is the eighth edition of the industry showcase and delivered its most content-rich programme to date, boosted by the region’s flourishing meetings calendar and vibrant business travel sector.

This year’s event, which took place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, saw local, regional and international suppliers and buyers meet face-to-face with over 8,000 appointments and take part in an expanded line-up of interactive seminars and panel sessions.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is considered the Middle East’s Leading Exhibition & Convention Centre by the prestigious World Travel Awards.

Headlining the three-day programme was the eagerly anticipated release of the inaugural Middle East Buyers Report, which surveyed planners from across the region to gain direct insight into their purchasing habits and the decision-making process.

“The results of this first-of-its-kind survey will be an invaluable resource for destinations, hotels and venues looking to increase their competitiveness and gain market share, and is indicative of GIBTM’s commitment to foster knowledge and share expertise in order to take the industry to the next level and understand the traits and mindsets of Middle Eastern buyers,” said Lois Hall, exhibition manager, GIBTM.

“The findings reveal not only the preferences of Middle East-based meeting planners in terms of the types of destinations and venues that they choose for their events, but also how they wish to interact with the sales and marketing professionals that are competing to host those events,” said report author, Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in events management at the University of Greenwich, London.

HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon is greeted by Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director of Overseas Promotions and Inward Missions at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing at the Dubai stand at GIBTM

A sneak peek at the findings revealed that the UAE is the leading destination for 66 per cent of meeting planners reporting having held meetings there in the last two years, with Dubai the most popular location.

This ground-breaking research is part of the enhanced GIBTM Knowledge programme, sponsored by Qatar National Convention Centre and supported by the world’s leading industry associations, International Congress and Convention Association, Society of Incentive Travel Executives, and Meetings Professional International.

This year welcomed over 250 regional and international Hosted Buyers from 36 countries who met with up to 300 exhibitors from 35 destinations from around the world.

Of which 74 are brand new to the show, with companies from Kazakhstan, Russia, Morocco, South Africa and South Korea making their debuts, the highest level since the show’s inception.