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March 11, 2014

Abu Dhabi's New MICE Offerings On Track for 2018

Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry is reporting a significant uplift in its MICE and business events bookings. Even better, the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is predicting the trend will continue.

In January, our partners at MeetMiddleEast noted that more guests checked into Abu Dhabi’s 146 hotels and hotel apartments in the first seven months of 2013 than any other comparative period. From January to the end of July, guest arrivals topped 1.5 million, a 10 percent increase on the same period last year. 

Top-tier hotels in the emirate are also seeing strong numbers: MICE business at the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers increased over 2012, in spite of new venues opening in Abu Dhabi. “The total number of events held last year at the hotel was 708 – a 63 percent increase on 2012," said Doris Greif, the hotel’s general manager. “In the last 12 months, our hotel has...played host to a number of extremely high-profile conferences, such as the Global Vaccine Summit and the 13th Annual World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit. Additionally, we have also hosted numerous medical related symposiums and conferences [and] luxury product launches.”

Greif says this year the hotel will be looking to increase the number of overseas clients and organisations choosing the hotel for MICE events, and that developing global awareness of the property “will be a cornerstone of our activities and actions in 2014.”
Also boosting its MICE profile is the five-star Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, which is designing new business tourism offerings.
“We are planning to add customized industry event packages to the list of available offerings, including revised food and beverage menus incorporating both Arabic and Thai cuisines, flexible meetings and events arrangements to suit the growing market of MICE business and requests that we encounter throughout the year,” said Director of Sales & Marketing Aaishah Bohari. “Last year, we hosted a series of successful events and large conferences for government companies and pharmaceutical groups.”

RELATED: Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi plans a break from convention
As the host city for GIBTM, Abu Dhabi is making a major push for business events and MICE bookings, with 39 stakeholders joining a destination pavilion being mounted by TCA Abu Dhabi. The line-up includes hotels, DMCs, desert camps, professional conference organizers, leisure parks, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC), attractions and sports facilities.
New to Abu Dhabi’s GIBTM line-up are Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club; Abu Dhabi Events; the new Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium facility in Al Ain; and the desert camp owner and promoter Al Badeyah Eyes Tourism.

Aiming for 2018

While Dubai has its goals for 2020, the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau has a clear target for 2018: The bureau wants to be listed among ICCA's annual rankings of the busiest association meetings cities. To that end, the team has been been bidding for, and securing, international and regional business events.

Last year, Abu Dhabi was named among the top 100 busiest global meetings destinations. The UAE capital is now ranked alongside other major meetings cities including: Atlanta, Georgia; Brasilia and Perth, Australia; and higher than established global hubs such as Las Vegas in the US and Cologne in Germany.
To reach its 2018 goal, the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau is aiming for eight major business wins this year and a total of 10 wins during 2015.

Jasem Al Darmaki, deputy director general, TCA Abu Dhabi, noted that the emirate's hotel room rates are at their "most competitive" right now, which can be a deciding factor for major associations and business event organizers looking to secure a host destination. 

For more information about the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, visit http://tcaabudhabi.ae/en or http://visitabudhabi.ae.

Business already secured for Abu Dhabi includes:
May                 SPWLA (The Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts); May 18-22
June                IATA Slots 2014; June 10-12
October           Abacus Conference
October           International Pipeline and Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA); October 13-17 at The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal
October           Global G.A.P. Summit; October 27-29 at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
December       DRV 1000 German Travel Trade Industry Delegates; December 3-6
March              World Congress Health on Tobacco; March 17-21
April                 Ecocity World Summit ADNEC; April 9-11
April/May         Asia Pacific Cardiology and the World Congress of Echocardiography and Allied Techniques; April 29-May 2
October           WAZA 70th Conference of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Al Ain
Gastro 2016   
WorldSkills 2017

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