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Abu Dhabi promotes business tourism at IMEX America.

Summary: Abu Dhabi's business tourism industry is expanding its influence Stateside with a debut appearance, next month, at IMEX America - the USA's largest exhibition for the meetings sector - in Las Vegas.

Abu Dhabi's business tourism industry is expanding its influence Stateside with a debut appearance, next month, at IMEX America - the USA's largest exhibition for the meetings sector - in Las Vegas.

Eight local industry stakeholders will join Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) in its 100 square metre pavilion.

They include: Al Masaood Travel, one of the emirate's largest travel and tour operators; the soon-to-open, beachfront The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, which will mark the luxury brand's entry into the UAE capital; Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, which operates the Gulf's largest and most modern exhibition and convention centre; The Vision Destination Management; Emirates Palace, which is one of the world's most opulent hotels; the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; the four-star Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel which adjoins Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Etihad Airways, the award-winning national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

'The US currently ranks as Abu Dhabi's fifth most productive overseas market for hotel guests and we anticipate arrivals from the States growing as our recently-opened promotions office in New York takes effect and with Etihad planning to launch flights from Washington DC to Abu Dhabi next March,' said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, International Promotions Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.

'Home to the largest associations market and corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 companies, the US is a fertile ground as a source market for meetings events. Abu Dhabi's interest in reaching the US MICE market through IMEX is three-fold. First it is a rich source market for our pipeline of events. Secondly, it is an opportunity to brand and put Abu Dhabi on the map as a top MICE destination in the Arabian Gulf and thirdly, to tap into the expertise and knowledge of the USA's MICE industry to spur the development and growth of our local MICE players.'

Abu Dhabi, which was recently voted 'Best Luxury MICE Destination Of The Year' in the 11th China Travel Meetings Industry Awards, has made significant headway over the past two years in attracting major convention business to the emirate - the latest 'win' being the November 2012 hosting of the International Conference on Neurology & Epidemiology which will bring between 600-800 of the most eminent practitioners in these specialized fields to the UAE capital.

Other major conventions due in Abu Dhabi emirate include: the World Travel & Tourism Council's Global Summit in April 2013 to be attended by around 1,000 of the travel and tourism industry's leading decision makers; the 16th World Congress of Health or Tobacco 2015; the 20th Asia Pacific Society of Cardiology 2015 and the 70th Annual Conference of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums 2015.

'Having under our belt the successful hosting in February of this year of the World Ophthalmology Congress which was attended by upwards of 10,000 delegates, our major meetings credentials have been significantly strengthened,' explained Al Nuaimi.

'We are now looking to build on this reinforced reputation for hosting capabilities, which is powerfully supported by an increasing room stock in a range of accommodation styles and more competitive rates, innovative venues and an increasingly polished and productive local service sector.'

Abu Dhabi has said it anticipates the direct economic impact of business events on Abu Dhabi growing to Dhs5.1bn ($1.4bn) by 2020. In 2010, according to TCA Abu Dhabi research, 500,000 domestic and international business event visitors arrived in Abu Dhabi where they notched up an average per capita spend of Dhs2,400 ($657.5), making the total economic benefit to Abu Dhabi from MICE visitors around Dhs2.4bn ($640m).

'Where we hope to stand out from the crowd going forward is our market competitiveness. We know from previous events that many delegates and international exhibitors can be very price conscious when it comes to selecting a hotel, yet spend more liberally on F&B, leisure and shopping. So, having cost-effective hospitality and MICE solutions, coupled with a rich and diverse destination-wide offering should stand us in good stead going forward,' added Al Nuaimi.

At IMEX America, Abu Dhabi will also be pushing forward its Advantage Abu Dhabi initiative which catalyses and seeds innovative and viable business events, including conferences and exhibitions. TCA Abu Dhabi supports successful proposals via financial and non-financial incentives.

Copyright 2012 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Sep 26, 2012
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