Reed Travel Exhibitions opened its third edition of the Gulf Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition in Abu Dhabi 31 March, the largest gathering of meeting professionals in the Gulf.
“GIBTM is seven per cent bigger than 2008 and we are expecting 2,000 visitors to the show, including 240 hosted buyers,” said RTE group exhibitions director Paul Kennedy.
While acknowledging that these were “tough and challenging times, with budgets for meetings being squeezed,” Kennedy said: “T here is increasing recognition of the importance of meetings and events to an organisation’s success and GIBTM is a testament to that”.
The three-day event is taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC), which has added 28,000 square metres of hall space in the last 12 months, and will next turn there 29-31 March 2010.
The GIBTM follows MPI’s second Gulf Meetings and Events Conference, held in Abu Dhabi 28-29 March, both events forming a Gulf Meetings Industry Week.
The third annual edition of the Middle East Meetings Industry Research Report released at GIBTM showed some remarkably positive data, with over half of the 258 buyers surveyed reporting organising more events in the region in 2008.
Dubai remains the most popular destination in the region, with Abu Dhabi also gaining market share.
Suppliers surveyed saw an increase in the value of their meetings business in the region from an average of USD$826,000 last year to USD$1,030,250.