GIBTM: Gulf states steal market share

Abu Dhabi and Oman are taking significant C&I market share from more traditional destinations in the Gulf/Middle East/North Africa region, according to new research announced today at GIBTM. The survey, which includes input from 368 buyers and 192 suppliers worldwide and was conducted in association with Reed Travel Exhibitions, revealed that buyers’ top five destinations in the region in the last 12 months were Dubai in first place, followed by Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. However, the top five destinations for events to be held over the next 12 months are: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Morocco and Oman. Dubai is strengthening its stronghold on the region with 75% of buyers naming it the top destination in the last 12 months, and 84% putting it top for the next 12 months. Meanwhile 58% of buyers said Abu Dhabi was their top destination for the next 12 months, putting it in second place behind Dubai. Sally Greenhill, director of MICE market consultant The Right Solution said: “Abu Dhabi is really taking a march on Dubai in terms of share. It shows what marketing a destination well can achieve.” The entire region is seeing increased business, according to the research, with 84% of buyers saying they plan to hold events in the Gulf/Middle East/North Africa, compared to 35% who have organised events there in the past 12 months. A quarter of buyers also said they would hold increased numbers of events in the region in the next year. The reasons for the increase include greater interest in the region from clients, improved infrastructure and high quality developments. “This region is on the meetings planners map in a big way,” said Reed Travel Exhibitions group exhibition director of meetings and incentive events, Paul Kennedy. “In launching this research, we wanted to add an enhanced focus to the meetings industry in this region at a time when GIBTM is raising awareness of what is on offer.”

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