New Focus: Abu Dhabi Gets Major Meetings Boost

Screenshot: ADTA

Screenshot: ADTA

Three pillars. The Arabian Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi, which has recently seen a surge in its meetings infrastructure, has received a major business tourism boost with three new key events.  The latest to be unveiled is the World Health Care Congress Middle East, being billed as ‘The Davos of Health Care,’ and which has won the backing of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

Organised by the USA’s World Congress Inc., a leading global provider of healthcare congresses, the December 2010 event is being held in collaboration with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi. To run annually for three years, the congress will target healthcare leaders and feature high level content covering research, policies and insurance. “We envisage the event attracting a high regional and international turnout of health care executives, providers, and government leaders to explore fresh ideas and unique insights,” said Gillian Taylor, Business Tourism Manager, ADTA.

“The topics to be addressed will be actionable and strategic, designed to address escalating health care costs, challenges in quality, new models for finance and improvements in delivery. The congress will convene all stakeholder segments including the ‘buy side’ employers and all of the groups making up health care delivery. The congress will tackle pressing issues and gather critical audience groups.” 

Meanwhile, March next year will see the staging of the first Abu Dhabi Media Summit in which 400 invited media representatives will gather in the capital of the United Arab Emirates for top-level dialogue. The summit will focus on emerging media in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The co-chairs of the summit reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the media world and includes the President and Chairman of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch and Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL.

“The Abu Dhabi Media Summit is set to become a tremendous meeting of the minds. I can’t think of a better place to be talking about the future of media,” says Murdoch. “Abu Dhabi sits at the nexus of East and West, of developing and developed, of our media present and its future.” The invitation-only inaugural summit will be held at Abu Dhabi’s iconic Yas Hotel from March 9-12. 

The summit, created by the Abu Dhabi Media Company, produced by PublicisLive, which also produces the World Economic Forum in Davos, and backed by the ADTA, Etihad Airways, Mubadala and twofour54, will feature a unique combination of high-profile public sessions, closed-door discussions and private conversations.

From December 6-10, 2010 Abu Dhabi will also host a major new international confex, World Green Tourism Congress (WGTC) at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC). The event, a first in the Arabian Gulf, is being organised by the UAE's Streamline Marketing Group (SMG) with ADTA as headline sponsor. This is the first meetings industry initiative to emerge from the authority's Advantage Abu Dhabi (AAD) incentive programme launched earlier this year to catalyse and seed new business tourism and meetings concepts.

"This congress reflects the core values of the Abu Dhabi Government's 2030 plan which clearly identifies tourism as a key economic diversification driver and environmental sustainability as an underlying fundamental of all we do," says Taylor. "With the event aiming to influence the integration of eco-tourism principles into the operations and policies of tourism industry players it has huge synergies with the authority's overall vision of becoming an outstanding, globally recognised and sustainable destination of distinction."

Streamline contends the event holds out huge benefits for the Arabian Gulf and that Abu Dhabi stood out as "the strongest host city for such an event." "The case for Abu Dhabi was a powerful one," explained Rick Theobald of SMG. "It is the capital of the UAE, easily accessible from Europe and Asia and has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the environment by establishing a core network of organisations to address the 'green' issue with the Abu Dhabi government being behind the ground-breaking Masdar 'clean energy' city initiative.

ADTA says additional projects are currently being evaluated via Advantage Abu Dhabi. Structured as a venture capital-type apparatus, AAD is designed to support the lucrative MICE segment to realise the direct tourism benefits it engenders and to ensure that the business tourism sector serves as an important growth pillar for Abu Dhabi's long-term economic, social, human resource and infrastructure development goals.

“With a host of new and innovative meetings facilities having opened within Abu Dhabi and Advantage Abu Dhabi pressing home an incentive, the emirate is living up to its mantle as ‘The Happening Place For Business Tourism,’” said Taylor.