The Gulf continues to step up in class and, according to the International Monetary Fund, is expected to see growth of 3.4 per cent in 2013, rising to 3.8 per cent in 2014. Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) says this positive regional outlook helped triple corporate buyer attendance at the Gulf Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) trade show earlier this year.
“According to Standard and Poor’s latest forecast, GDP growth within the Gulf economies will reach 4.6 per cent, valuing the GCC economy at $1.5 trillion,” says Lois Hall, RTE’s GIBTM Exhibition Manager.
“As a consequence, the region is clearly attracting an increasing number of meetings, incentives and business travellers, especially from key regional and international trading partners,” she adds.
Dubai had a market share of over 60 per cent of international meetings in the UAE in 2012, according to the Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, and following a recent change in the law to allow international associations to open regional headquarters in Dubai the bureau expects to further increase its market share.
“Dubai is a safe destination and we benefit from offering the ‘thrill of the unknown’. Many delegates won’t have visited before and have that inherent curiosity to discover a new destination, which helps bolster attendance levels,” says Executive Director for Business Tourism at Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Hamad bin Mejren.