Leading international and regional experts will be contributing to marketing the capital’s potential as a tourist destination as they participate in the GIBTM (Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition) to be organised from tomorrow until Thursday.
The major event is being organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions and sponsored by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). The organisers highlighted that Abu Dhabi is targeting high-end leisure and Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) business rather than mass tourism.
Another focal point is the existing facilities and offerings, and ongoing expansion and improvement of infrastructure needed for the conferences and related activities.
They also focused on the fundamentals required to create and promote the ideal image of Abu Dhabi as a leading destination for MICE tourism.Other forum topics include enhancing promotional skills and the need for high service levels, and their direct impact on the success of incentive tourism.
This is made possible by maintaining, protecting and encouraging tourism partnerships with the private sector and transforming Abu Dhabi into an international hub for joint investments and a world-class destination for international meetings and incentives providing the ideal platform for professionals, marketing managers and tourism service providers.
On the culture and heritage levels, Imma Plana, Strategic Planner at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH),
highlighted Abu Dhabi’s cultural strengths and rich heritage that add special value to the emirate’s tourism potential. She said such components contribute to Abu Dhabi’s cultural and tourism diversity and enrich the MICE forums and conferences by providing further vitality and advantages to these activities.
Plana highlighted the efforts put together by ADACH and its partners towards the protection and maintenance of archeological sites and historic buildings.
“While preservation works can guarantee the survival of the historic fabric of these places, adaptive reuses are needed in order to support their long-term maintenance and protection. MICE tourism can generate new uses for these buildings while giving visitors an exclusive experience in the emirate,” she added.
Today, the influence of local heritage is evident in many aspects of modern society such as architectural designs, tourism and cultural services, exhibitions and other events.
Abu Dhabi’s heritage is not only a key pillar of the emirate’s cultural identity but also a major contributor to its successful tourism offer, and in particular to the enhancement of the MICE market.
David Hackett, CEO of BI Worldwide, a global improvement company and one of the leading international incentive houses, talked about the incentive travel industry in relation to the UAE’s capital.
He confirmed that the emirate possessed all the ingredients of success in this domain with the capability to generate the desired expertise, surpassing all expectations.
Hackett highlighted the diversity of the Abu Dhabi tourism sector and the importance of promoting it to compete with other global destinations.
He pinpointed Abu Dhabi’s efforts to protect the environment and implement world’s best ecotourism practices, a principal criteria to successfully market world tourism destinations.
He also emphasised that Abu Dhabi should concentrate on its strengths, to maintain its cultural heritage and unique character and also highlighted the need for flexibility in meeting the requests of international incentive travel participants.
Didier Scaillet, Vice-President for Global Development, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), a global community of 20,500 meeting and events professionals, expected Abu Dhabi to achieve an advanced position in the meetings industry worldwide, given the varied and integrated factors, currently serving different tourism and investment sectors and activities.
“The international interest in Abu Dhabi reflects the unwavering trust bestowed on the emirate as a highly-competitive and profitable destination for investors and visitors. The success is obviously highlighted by the number of major global tourism companies and industry players that have launched operations in Abu Dhabi within a short span of time,” he said.
Roger Tondeur, President of the MCI Group, one of the foremost global association, communications and event management groups in the world, discussed the concept of global associations and available opportunities in the Gulf Co-operation Council region for economic alliances between major businesses.
He said Abu Dhabi is well-placed to meet the requirements and surpass expectations in terms of services and opportunities but we should learn by observing the best practice of the successful destinations in handling association business such as Brussels, Vienna, Chicago, Washington, Singapore and Geneva.
World business tourism is valued at $672.5 billion (Dh2.47 trillion) annually and is a key component of all strong tourism destinations. Abu Dhabi is an vibrant business destination and has all the parameters that position it as a business tourism attraction.
International business tourism experts agreed that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi will achieve greater success in the meetings and incentive industry in the coming years.
This is specially so given the balanced economic growth witnessed by all related sectors and the strategic geographic location of the emirate at the junction between Europe, Near East and Far East.
One of the ADTA’s missions is to rise the professionalism of destination management through meetings and incentive industry events such as GIBTM, which enhances the promotion of the value of the meetings and incentive travel industry of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi focuses on tourism