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April 16, 2008

RTE targets the Gulf

The Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) has been launched in response to the demand by the region to have a dedicated and regular event for meetings and incentives industry. Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) was approached by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) to organise the event, which joins an international roster that includes EIBTM, CIBTM AIME and ICCA. RTE’s Paul Kennedy explains the importance of the new events to EVENTS:review.

“GIBTM will be based on the successful format and brand values of EIBTM, which delivers business-to-business opportunities, networking and professional education,” says Kennedy. “A high-quality Hosted Buyer programme will ensure that exhibitors meet genuinely interested buyers with business to place in the region. A key aspect of the Hosted Buyer programme is that the appointments are buyer driven, an initiative we feel our exhibitors will be greatly in favour of as they have been at EIBTM ,where more than 26,000 one-to-one meetings took place in 2006.”   

A key role to play

Kennedy continues, explaining that GIBTM has a key role to play in driving gulf and the Middle East region into the running as a serious contender for the meetings and incentives industry. RTE will bring together suppliers and buyers in a dedicated meeting place, where networking and professional education will play an important part in the programme. “The Gulf region will need to actively work at educating the market if it is to succeed and we have the support and links with those that can really help in this area,” says Kennedy.

In line with its efforts, RTE is also carrying out industry research in conjunction with its global media partners Nicholas Publishing to assess the value of the region in the sector. The research will also aim to define the flows of business for the region and the nature of those flows.

“Our goals closely mirror those of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority [ADTA] and other destinations in the area, who are actively putting together a MICE plan and the infrastructure and marketing necessary to make it happen,” explains Kennedy.  “ADTA really sees Abu Dhabi as having a lot to offer the industry, and RTE believes that it has a unique and exciting proposition that we want to see come to fruition.”  

A  mixed appeal

Kennedy sees the show as appealing to a regional and global mix. “Exhibitors will be international suppliers and organisations that are targeting the meetings and incentive industry," he says. "They will include airlines, conference venues, convention and visitor bureaus, hotels and hotel groups, spas, event management, destination management companies, incentives specialists and tourist organisations, among others.”   

The event already has the full support and backing of key local suppliers and influencers, such as the hotels network Etihad and ADTA. What's more, a sizeable amount of interest is expected to come from outside the Gulf region, with many of the current exhibitors at EIBTM and CIBTM having already expressed an interest in the outbound business opportunities that will be presented by regional visitors to the event. Buyers attending GIBTM will come from the local Middle East region, as well as from Europe, India and South and South East Asia.

So what attractions can visitors expect? “The GIBTM event programme will offer a range of features that will really appeal to buyers attending the event,” replies Kennedy. “There will be networking events on days one and two for buyers and exhibitors. Plus buyers will have the opportunity to attend post-event familiarisation trips to surrounding locations and really experience first hand what the region has to offer.

What's on offer
“The professional education programme at GIBTM will be delivered by international industry experts, who will share their experiences as well as creating forums for debate. The programme will include a symposium about the MICE development in the region among other relevant topics.

“Finally, the chief executive summit taking place alongside GIBTM will see some of the meetings and incentives industry’s top decision makers and VIPs in attendance.”  

Kennedy is confident GIBTM deliver concentrated business opportunities. And although it’s hard to place a value on the business that will be placed, the event will bring a large amount of new interest into a sector that requires development and is hungry for success.

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