GIBTM. The Middle East is the fastest growing international association meeting market in the world according to an International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) study which was revealed recently, coinciding with the eighth edition of Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM). The statistics report reveals that the total number of regularly-occurring, internationally-rotating association meetings is increasing by 100% each decade and has been consistently doing so for the last 50 years, with no signs of a slowdown.
Commenting on the findings, Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA, said: “The Middle East joined the Information Revolution more recently than most regions, so it is not surprising to see some of the world’s fastest growth rates here, now that excellent meetings infrastructure has been developed, governments have created knowledge strategies to underpin their economic development agendas. We are confident that the region will enjoy even greater international meetings activity in the future, based on these underlying fundamentals.”
The report highlighted that between 1998 and 2002, there were 532 association meetings in the Middle East. That figure had grown to 905 between 2003 and 2007 and then expanded once again between 2008 and 2012 to 1,776 association meetings. “The number of meetings in the Middle East has even grown even quicker than in other regions, it has more than tripled over the last decade,” said GIBTM Exhibition Manager Lois Hall. “With improved facilities, more flight connections and in some cases reduced visa requirements and the Expo 2020 only six years away, the growth potential for the region’s MICE sector is exceptional,” added Hall.