Abu Dhabi diversification to target MICE tourism

Published December 5th, 2011 - 07:23 GMT
According to recent statistics by ADTA, visitor arrivals reached 182,553 in October, up 21 percent year on year
According to recent statistics by ADTA, visitor arrivals reached 182,553 in October, up 21 percent year on year

Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism is becoming an increasingly important and significant sector as Abu Dhabi strives to diversify its economy.

Abu Dhabi has lined up a large number of exhibitions and conferences this month that will boost hotel occupancy. The three-day World Green Tourism 2011 the only event in the region dedicated to the promotion of sustainable tourism, will be held from today until December 7.

The summit aims to address the significance of better access to environmental and societal data for informed decision-makers, a statement said. Meanwhile, former US President Bill Clinton will deliver a keynote address at the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit to be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

“In 2010, at the heart of one of the world’s most rapidly advancing regions, with easy access from key European, Asia Pacific, African and North American business centres, Abu Dhabi is a world-class travel, leisure and business tourism destination,” the statement said.

Development goals

Mike Henderson, CFO of ADNEC group, said the MICE sector “is actually quite critical to the economy of Abu Dhabi, particularly in regard to the government’s goal to diversify itself away from reliance on the oil and gas sector.” Henderson pointed out that there’s still considerable room to grow the MICE sector based on the variety of events that are held in the emirate.

Shehrazade Chamlou, manager of Abu Dhabi BOX Events, told Gulf News that business tourism, particularly MICE, is the key to the emirate’s long term economic, social and infrastructure development goals.

In 2010, 72 percent of visitors to Abu Dhabi were businessmen, 10 percent of whom were MICE visitors, said Chamlou. “We witnessed this year an increase in reservations due to the great number of events which were held in many places in Abu Dhabi, including ADNEC, the Emirates Palace, Rotana Beach Hotel and many others,” said Chamlou.

Peter Goddard, managing director, TRI Middle East, said that MICE is a representation of joint efforts between the government and the private sector to attract foreign businessmen to launch businesses.

“In 2010, the number of tourists to Abu Dhabi was approximately 1.3 million, 27 percent of whom were on business trips, and in 2011 the figure until the end of October was more than 1.5 million and it is expected that the ratio of business related visitors will increase due to the rise in events in the capital,” said Goddard.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) earlier expected that the number of business visitors would be 225,000 in 2011 compared with 215,000 last year.

The number of tourists reached two million by the end of October and tourism revenues increased to $111 million in the first 10 months, ADTA said earlier.

According to recent statistics by ADTA, visitor arrivals reached 182,553 in October, up 21 percent year on year. In the first 10 months of 2011, the city welcomed over a million and a half visitors, up 15 percent from 2010.

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