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October 8, 2008

Meeting demand

Jordan’s King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre (KHBTCC) is to undergo expansion. The centre, which already makes up more than 24,000 square metres of built-up area, will begin work on a new extension by the end of this year.


“The expansion plan includes building a convention hotel attached to the centre which will also increase hotel room capacity in the area, an upscale shopping district that will host major retailers and international brand names alongside coffee shops and restaurants. Also, work has already begun on a residential complex, which boasts hundreds of new luxury apartments and villas with playgrounds, shopping facilities, movie theatres, and civil services,” said Naif Zureikat, general manager, KHBTCC.


The first phase of the work will be ready before the World Economic Forum in May 2009.


Offering 25 meeting halls spread over three levels, complemented by large wrap-around terraces, KHBTCC is capable of accommodating events for up to 3,000 delegates and has played host to some of the world’s most prestigious non-governmental organisations (NGOs).


“KHBTCC targets large government and political meetings, which take place in support of official institutions such as local ministries. However, NGOs like the UN, UNICEF, UNRWA, the International Monetary Fund and others have been loyal customers from an early stage,” Zureikat explained.


The state-of-the-art Philadelphia Hall, measuring 2,120 square metres, provides a pillar-less space capable of accommodating up to 3,000 people theatre-style or 1,200 guests for a banquet.


In terms of private sector activities, KHBTCC fully caters to any business needs starting with big corporate launch events, client gala dinners and cocktail receptions, team building activities, seminars and workshops, trade conferences and exhibitions, etc.


The facility provides all the latest audiovisual and technical support, which is complemented by an experienced bi-lingual support staff, used to working on high profile, high security events, such as the World Economic Forum.


“The largest and one of the most demanding events that we hosted was the World Economic Forum on the Middle East. The WEF is a signature event taking place at KHBTCC every other year, alternating the venue with Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. The top 1,500 business entrepreneurs and political figures of the world meet at this very high profile, highly secure event,” said Zureikat.


Leisure events and activities do not fall short of supply at KHBTCC either. Musical concerts for world-famous artists and fashion shows are popular during certain times of the year; while private functions such as wedding ceremonies and engagement dinners fill the facility towards the end of the year.


Sporting events such as the FIA World Rally Championship also take up KHBTCC as their headquarters during the annual event every April.


According to Zureikat, KHBTCC has seen an increase in business in recent years, spurred on by the weakening dollar, which has helped establish Jordan as a value for money destination with international groups.


“The demand from international incentive buyers for the Jordan meetings product is very encouraging and is reflecting on KHBTCC’s worksheets. While less Jordanians travel within Jordan, local corporate meeting activities are increasing with general interest in the Dead Sea and Aqaba,” he explained.


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