The Gulf meetings sector was surrounded by positivity long before November’s news that Dubai had won the right to host Expo 2020, the biggest event on the planet after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games. The indicators, both statistical and anecdotal, were already pointing to an improving picture, with the organisers of the 2014 Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings exhibition (GIBTM) predicting a year-on-year growth of seven percent from 2014 to 2020 when the World Expo will take place.
Expo, though, is now a clear target on the horizon, with the accompanying infrastructure and hospitality developments helping to provide more facilities for meetings and a huge billboard for Dubai’s readiness to host them. GIBTM 2014, which will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), will be helping venues, facilities, tour companies and hotels benefit from the surge in interest in Dubai, the UAE and the wider Gulf region in the build-up to the event.
“The UAE will be the fi rst ever Middle Eastern nation to host the World Expo, bringing an anticipated 25 million visitors to Dubai, 71 percent of whom will hail from overseas,” said GIBTM Exhibition Manager Lois Hall.