The opportunity to travel back to your roots does not come around often – so when the opportunity arose for me to help grow ShowGizmo’s presence in the UAE and India I was excited to head home. Moving back to the Middle East has required its own set of personal adjustments after raising a family in New Zealand. The population, traffic and polar opposite weather patterns have all taken some getting used to! From a business perspective, situating myself in India allowed me to be near my home, but only a 3 hour flight from the melting pot of events: the United Arab Emirates.
Although I have only been settled here for what feels like a matter of weeks, I have adapted and learnt more about the events industry in the Middle East than I ever could have imagined. So, in the spirit of Global Meetings Industry Day, I felt what better thing to talk about – the state of the events industry in The Middle East – the emerging market that is punching above its weight.
As Dubai prepares to host the Expo 2020 Dubai, its meetings and events industry continues to grow amid a more diverse hotel selection, increased air travel accessibility and greater focus from tourism officials. Abu Dhabi is also emerging as the capital for the F1 racing enthusiast in the Middle East with Qatar and Bahrain having also successfully launched major F1 events recently.
Investments in facilities are already receiving returns in terms of Abu Dhabi’s rapidly rising profile in what is a highly competitive (and highly mobile) global MICE market. In 2012 Abu Dhabi broke into the top 100 cities in the International Congress and Convention Association’s global rankings – jumping 134 places in the process. The emirate is seeking a top-50 ranking, with efforts being coordinated by a dedicated unit within TCA Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau.
Technology and attendee experience is at the forefront
World Class facilities are constantly being built in the Middle East, along with these facilities naturally includes adoption of the latest in event technology. Engagement is crucial at these large events to make them worthwhile to their attendees – that’s where event apps come in – we’ve worked with several events in the Middle East to help increase engagement and maximize attendee experience before, during and after events.
The UAE is making huge leaps and bounds in the events industry and they are making them quickly. I am looking forward to seeing how the industry continues to expand into to the rapidly growing UAE and neighbouring GCC countries and being part of it’s success.