The MENA region, particularly the UAE, has always been a global hub of events-ranging from sports and cultural extravaganzas, to music concerts to MICE events, down to business conferences and exhibitions. In fact, in recent years, the events industry has been the major driver of tourism in the country, enhancing the sector’s contribution to GDP. In 2018, Travel & Tourism contributed AED164.7 billion (US$44.8 billion) to the country’s economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector. The sector now represents 11.1% of the UAE’s total economy; this means that one in every nine dirhams is now generated by travel & tourism.
So what are the trends driving the events industry in 2020?
Personalizing the event experience for each attendee allows everyone to get the maximum value. Tailored breakout session paths, data driven group activity suggestions, personalized content and resources, are all some of the popular ways event companies woo visitors.
Sustainability has always been big; but never has it been bigger than now, when the earth is reeling under the weight of our irresponsible actions. Events now and in future will emphasize on sustainability by banning single use plastics, sourcing locally produced food/drinks and using recycled products for event design among other things, to reduce our carbon footprint and eventual impact on the earth.
Crisis communication will be a huge area of focus for the events industry this year. Organizations have already begun to develop crisis communication plans to deal with sudden unforeseen emergencies before, during or after the event.
More and more event companies are moving away from the usual hotel and exhibition centre venues and opting for unique venues that match the brand, the event objective and overall mood. Although there are challenges involved, like lack of Wi-Fi or charging stations, these obstacles are fast being addressed by technology.
This is touted to be one of the biggest event trends of 2020. These experiences can range from instagrammable social media moments to interactive projection mapping to escape rooms-creativity is the driving force here.
Events of the future will embrace diversity and inclusion, to make each experience more rich and rewarding. This spans not just race or ethinicity, but also language, culture, gender, physical ability, cuisines and much more.
With increasing reliance on data to make events smooth and seamless, cybersecurity will assume centrestage at events. Combating cyber risks is actually a non-stop process which begins right when the event is virtually planned and continues during registrations, social media interactions and even in the post event phase. These attacks can range from simple data breaches down to complex information hijacking, and needs a comprehensive counter-attack strategy.