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December 3, 2014

Middle East: US$1.3 billion GCC MICE sector poised for further growth

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The GCC’s US$1.3 billion meeting, incentive, conference and event (MICE) industry is set to experience further robust growth, with the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia driving its expansion, according to a recent Alpen Capital report. 

The number of international association meetings taking place in the region has more than tripled over the last 10 years, earning for the Gulf global prestige as a popular meeting and incentive hub, the report highlighted. 

“The MICE industry is one of the key growth drivers for the region’s burgeoning economy, making significant contributions through income and employment along with attracting substantial foreign investment,” said the report. 

The UAE is the biggest MICE market, thanks to the combined efforts of Dubai and Abu Dhabi to ramp up its tourism and MICE related infrastructure. The country accounts for nearly 50 percent of the US$1 trillion construction projects currently underway in the GCC. 

The UAE is also staging an increasing number of international rotational congresses, home to many of the world’s biggest sporting tournaments and in 2020, will demonstrate its ability to execute mega events when the World Expo kicks off in October of that year. Dubai, which alone stages almost 27 percent of all events held in the region, is set to welcome more than 25 million visitors over the six-month expo period. 

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi generates US$700 million from its MICE sector, a figure forecast to grow at an annual rate of seven percent to reach US$1.4 billion by 2020. 

Helping to facilitate MICE industry growth are established event management firms such as Dubai-headquartered Dmg Events, which currently organises 25 high-profile annual events across MENA. 

Among them is the Big 5 in Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; The Hotel Show and Leisure Show in Dubai; the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC); the International Design Exhibition (INDEX); Middle East Concrete; and PMV Live. 

“The GCC’s MICE industry has witnessed exponential growth, contributing towards the region’s economic stability. Like in any country, the sector, which is instrumental in furthering organisational objectives and success, plays a fundamental role in the UAE’s overall economic development,” said Dmg Events MEA President Simon Mellor

“Meetings, conventions and exhibitions create economic value with increased travel and hospitality spending by MICE visitors who combine participations in events with leisure. More importantly, business events consistently provide powerful platforms for creating new information and fresh insights, helping boost the grand vision of the UAE leaders towards transforming the country into one of the world’s knowledge economies.” 

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