Uplift in MICE & business events, reports Abu Dhabi tourism industry

RetailME Bureau

Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry is reporting a significant uplift in its MICE and business events bookings and is predicting the trend will continue. Tourism stakeholders who signed up to participate in the Gulf Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings Expo (GIBTM), which will run at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC) from March 24-26, are bullish about the sector’s local future.

Abu Dhabi is making a major push for business events and MICE bookings and enquiries at this year’s GIBTM with 39 stakeholders joining a destination pavilion being mounted by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). The line-up includes hotels, DMCs, desert camps, professional conference organisers, Yas Marina Circuit – the Formula 1™ race track which annually hosts the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leisure parks including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor theme park, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC), attractions and sports resorts. “The simple fact is that there is now much more to business events in Abu Dhabi. There is growing impetus amongst our private sector to develop MICE specific products and our intention is to roll out this expanding portfolio at GIBTM, particularly to its 300-strong hosted buyer contingent. We have assets and activities in the emirate which clearly sets the destination apart and which will give us a stand-out edge,” observes Mubarak Al Nuaimi, promotions and overseas offices director, TCA Abu Dhabi.

The five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers also believes that 2013 was an exceptionally good year for MICE business – a year which saw it being named ‘Best Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi’ in the Business Traveller Middle East Awards and ‘World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Hotel’ in the World Travel Awards.’ “Despite the increase in competition with new MICE venues opening in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers’ market share actually continued to increase,” explains Doris Greif, the hotel’s general manager. “The total number of events held last year at the hotel was 708 – a 63% increase on 2012. We credit this success on having built a strong, personable and reliable luxury brand image in the market among clients and corporate and government entities, as well as our dedication to the customisation of various packages to meet the needs of our guests. This year the hotel will be looking to acquire and increase the number of overseas clients and organisations choosing the hotel for MICE events,” he adds.

Also sharpening its MICE edge is the five-star Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi which is busy designing new business tourism offerings. “We are planning to add customised industry event packages to the list of available offerings, including revised food and beverage menus incorporating both Arabic and Thai cuisines, flexible meetings and events arrangements to suit the growing market of MICE business and requests that we encounter throughout the year,” reveals Aaishah Bohari, director of sales & marketing.