Biggest Gulf gathering

  • Reed Travel Exhibitions’ GIBTM show claims record visitors, hosted buyers and business appointments

As the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) 2009, closed at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi, organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions hailed record visitor, hosted buyer and exhibitor numbers for what was the largest gathering of meeting professionals ever in the Gulf region.

Pre-audited figures showed a total visitor attendance a tad shy of Reed’s prediction of 2,000 as the show opened. The final figure given was 1,904, which included 236 hosted buyers, an increase of 15 per cent on 2008. Buyers came roughly one third from Asia, one third from Europe and the remainder from the Gulf and Middle East.

Exhibitors had increased to 768 attending personnel, Reed reported, and 6,390 pre-scheduled appointments were undertaken at the event – up 23 per cent on 2008.

Said exhibitor Charles Drewe from South Africa: “The industry in the Gulf is really beginning to take shape. Year one, there was a lot of learning, year two the seeds were sewn and business started to shape, this year we really have met some serious planners. It’s the developing markets which are really becoming exciting and it’s the time to be brave and try them in this time of economic turmoil.”

Event director Graeme Barnett said he was delighted. “One of our aims since we first launched the show in 2007 was to drive the development of the meetings industry in the region and I think what we’ve seen this week is the culmination of three years work with everyone involved.”

At a press conference in Abu Dhabi, RTE group exhibitions director Paul Kennedy told Conference News that the 2009 show was seven per cent larger than last year’s and pledged to continue the effort to bring in representation from Gulf states and Emirates currently not represented as exhibitors.

“We start our travels for the 2010 show in two weeks time,” said Kennedy. “We will be talking to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the other Emirates. The ambition is to have complete regional representation in due course.”

GIBTM 2010 will take place from 29-31 March at ADNEC Abu Dhabi.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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