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March 18, 2013

Middle East: Industry Outlook Positive for 2013

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Hoteliers and destination management companies are seeing a positive trend in corporate bookings for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions packages as new developments and product offerings in regional destinations boost market confidence.

Werner Brosse, Deputy General Manager – Inbound Tourism at Planet Travels & Tours, said he expects the industry to perform much more strongly in 2013 than the previous year despite a slowdown in traditional markets such as Europe.
 “We are pushing for MICE promotions from all sides but, obviously, the source markets have shifted. Our offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Moscow, Beirut and Turkey have noticed this trend and we are expecting an influx of business from China, CIS and the Middle East,” he explained.
 Last year was a success for Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi – Yas Island as bookings in its meetings segment outperformed those made in 2011, according to Elias El Bahri, Meetings Director. The uptrend is continuing for the property with forward bookings for the first quarter of 2013 already secured – something El Bahri attributes to Abu Dhabi’s growing prominence in the meetings market.
 Future bookings at Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach-Dubai are posting an increase of around 20 percent from 2012, according to Deasy Bahriany, Director of Events & Catering at Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach – Dubai.
“The leisure market remains the staple source of business for the tourism and travel industry in the region. However, Dubai’s position as a safe and stable business hub lends itself well for the business travel sector, including meetings and conferences,” she said.
 Bahriany’s observation is shared by Katja Issig, Director of Catering & Event Sales at Mina Seyahi Complex, who said that the volume of new business leads coming in reflects the planners’ strong interest in Dubai.
Meanwhile in Qatar, Kevork Deldelian, General Manager of Oryx Rotana, anticipates corporate meetings to increase due to high-profile sporting and business events being hosted in the capital Doha.
 “Corporate individual business will be a key segment for us, followed by MICE,” he said, highlighting Qatar’s reputation as a predominantly business-oriented destination.
 The new year will also be dynamic for Rotana, Deldelian disclosed, as the company widens its exposure in Qatar with the opening of Rotana City Center in the West Bay area and the Rotana Residences in The Pearl district in the middle of 2013.

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