GIBTM overcomes date setback

The inaugural GIBTM show in Abu Dhabi has more than achieved its exhibitor and visitor targets despite an enforced change of date, which caused some exhibitors to cancel. The Middle East travel show had been scheduled to be held on 27-29 March at the new Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), but was moved to 13-15 March because Abu Dhabi was asked to host a major UN conference at short notice. The new date meant GIBTM fell close to ITB – held in Berlin on 7-11 March – in the show calendar. The date change led to a number of exhibitors, including key destinations such as Jordan and Bahrain, to pull out. In spite of the difficult start, GIBTM has exceeded the expectations of organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions. There were 2,000 pre-registered visitors for the exhibition, plus an additional 218 hosted international buyers, whom Reed Travel Exhibitions group exhibition director of meetings and incentive events Paul Kennedy said had been carefully screened. “Our target was a minimum of 200 so we’re pleased to hit that,” he said. “We want GIBTM to be a pivot around which the meetings industry develops in this region.” The show also surpassed expectations on the exhibitor side, with more than 200 companies participating across 55 stands and 3,950sqm of exhibition space. There were also 3,500 pre-scheduled appointments between exhibitors and hosted buyers. “We set out to attract 175 participating companies so we’re thrilled,” Kennedy added. “There would have been even more if we hadn’t had to change the dates.” GIBTM is an extension of Reed’s flagship EIBTM show, which it is in the process of rolling out globally. It has also launched CIBTM in China, and Kennedy said: “It is an open secret that we are working on a number of proposals elsewhere in the world as well.” GIBTM is also only the second exhibition to be hosted at ADNEC, which on completion in 2009 will be the region’s biggest purpose-built convention and exhibition centre.

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