The MICE segment in the GCC has expanded significantly over the past couple of years however, since this market is emerging a major challenge is to identify this niche community and educate them. Many professionals working in this segment of the meetings, incentives & events industry as well corporate & luxury travel or respective agencies are not fully aware of the opportunities available.
The GCC countries together constitute of about 60% outbound travel and about 75% of the total international tourism expenditure from the Middle East region. Recognizing the importance of the GCC MICE market, exclusive venues and destinations from across the globe are coming to Doha on February 24th and 25th to customize their offerings towards the GCC market and lure these high spenders.
“We are pleased to be a part of MICE Arabia this year,” said Holger Schroth, General Manager of Emirates Palace. “MICE Arabia attracts the industries’ key decision makers and event planners, and is an ideal platform for luxury venues like Emirates Palace to showcase our 7000 sqm conference and meeting facilities,” he added.
According to Paul Selis, Director, Onsite Malta “GCC based companies are increasingly planning meetings outside the GCC region and a trend is emerging to combine them into meet-centives. These may coincide with cultural or other events in the destination, which would then be incorporated into the event’s programme, thus building on the “us” experience factor. Both MICE as well as Luxury Travel out of the Middle East will grow and can represent a considerable market share for any destination which prepares itself properly to accommodate this highly demanding clientele. Malta is one such destination that is geared up well to welcome them.”
Talking about spending patterns of GCC traveler, Ian Stazicker, Tourism Sales Director from Chic Outlet Shopping adds “The volume of outbound travelers is low from the GCC market as the number of people in the country travelling is still low, however their spend is higher than average compared to most other markets during MICE activities. Chic Outlet Shopping recently launched a new group and events strategy following the success of the Villages as locations for the MICE market. The strategy will see Chic Outlet Shopping partner with corporate and agency organizations, venues, convention bureaus, congress centres and communication and brand experience agencies to host bespoke events, groups meetings and incentives at the Villages.” The MICE Arabia Congress is a perfect platform for them to meet their event strategy by having pre arranged meetings with their target market.
Turkey is also emerging as an attractive MICE destination for GCC buyers. “Turkey is the bridge country where Asia meets Europe. Due to many flight options and significantly less flight time from GCC coupled with visa advantages, fine dining and shopping experiences, Turkey is seen as a big MICE destination for GCC clients.” Added Turabi Aydin, General Manager of Perpax travel.
“In the business travel market, there has been an interesting shift in demand. The so-called MICE sector – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions – has grown much faster than traditional business travel since 2009 especially in Turkey and Middle East countires. Our historical and cultural affinity with the Middle east gulf countries are very well known. In recent years luxury tourism has also increased in Turkey. “Says Mr. Hasim Sungu, General Manager of TopVIP Travel Turkey.
Europe has always been at the forefront of choice for the luxury travel segment from GCC. “Middle East is showing a growing interest for Portugal which is largely benefiting from the establishment of the new Emirates Airlines route Dubai – Lisbon. Flights seem to be fully booked and there is talk of setting already a second daily flight. Portugal is also becoming a hub in view to develop business with companies located in the West coast of Africa and North and South America. Says Teresa Santos, Director from AIM International
There is lot of demand for MICE movements from GCC market and corporate are looking for one stop solutions from reliable DMCs who can deliver memorable experiences for their teams .says Afshan Poona-Alibhai, Jnr. Vice President – Operations, HTT HOLIDAYS & INCENTIVES “ We feel the potential is vast especially since we specialize in exotic destinations within Africa which is becoming very popular for incentives, however there is lack of product knowledge about what can truly be experienced in these destinations. We work hand in hand with our clients to ensure they understand the nuances of what the destination can offer towards customizing the experience they are anticipating.”
The 2nd Annual MICE Arabia Congress 2014 works as an umbrella which gathers decision makers from the GCC corporate, travel and tourism industry. The Congress provides a unique, business driven environment using pre-scheduled 1-1 business meetings and educational sessions that are strictly limited to upper-level executives. Silver sponsors for the congress include: AIM Group International, Avari Dubai Hotels & Apartments , Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Grand Resort Lagonissi Greece, Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau.
The bronze sponsors of the congress include: The Address Hotels & Resorts, Armani Hotel Dubai, Catertainment, Chic Outlet Shopping, Emirates Palace, Esplanade Zagreb Luxury Hotel, Eventmakers, Grecotel Hotels & Resorts, HTT Holidays & Incentives, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa Kuwait, Madinat Jumeirah, Onsite Malta, Portugal Incoming, Sofitel The Palm Dubai, Sun Siyam Resorts Maldives, Taj Palace Marrakech and TopVIP Travel Turkey. The event is also supported by Europcar as logistics partner and Jazz at the Lincoln Centre at St Regis Doha as the networking reception partner.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Nancy Jones
MICE Arabia Congress
Monday, February 24- 2014 @ 12:08 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.