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January 26, 2009

Abu Dhabi bags World Ophthalmology Congress 2012

Abu Dhabi city is to host the World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC) 2012, which is expected to attract in excess of 12,000 international delegates. WOC is the world’s longest running and largest international medical meeting, having been established in 1857, with the Abu Dhabi event representing the 33rd congress of its type.


Being sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), the WOC 2012 is being hosted in Abu Dhabi by the Middle East African Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO). The move is being seen as a major coup for the UAE capital and a huge boost to its credentials as a preferred destination for international medical meetings.


WOC 2012 will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in February 2012.


“WOC 2012 gives us an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate Abu Dhabi’s capabilities as a world-class convention destination and its uncompromising approach to delivering unparalleled hospitality,” said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and of ADNEC.


Abu Dhabi was chosen as the 2012 venue following a collaborative bid which featured leading stakeholders from throughout the emirate.


“WOC is a biennial event traditionally held in a different world region – with 2012 marking its debut on Middle East and African territory.


“The move to the Middle East and Africa represents a significant outreach for ICO which has traditionally opted for more conventional venues within the Americas, Europe and Asia,” said Dr. Bruce Spivey, President, ICO.


“The meetings sector has higher economic returns delivering between seven-to-nine times more income to a destination than leisure tourism,” explained Sheikh Sultan.


“The benefits though extend well beyond the convention as it is highly sustainable being resilient to economic downturns, it often leads to foreign direct investment, exports knowledge transfer and development collaboration, and produces significant repeat delegate visitation.”


As part of ADTA’s philanthropic contribution, it has offered to provide 200 hotel rooms within the UAE capital which will be allocated to WOC delegates from less wealthy developing nations within the Middle East and Africa region.


“Abu Dhabi’s hotel room inventory will be in excess of 26,000 in 2012 and the destination is also rapidly developing the international convention expertise to ensure its success as a major global meetings destination,” explained Sheikh Sultan.

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