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Published on : Thursday, December 17, 2015
Dubai based QnA International is preparing to host the upcoming annual MICE Arabia Congress in March 2016 in Dubai, UAE.While the MICE sector in the GCC is valued at AED 4.7 billion according to an Alpen Capital report dated September 2014, outbound tourism including MICE and luxury tourism is estimated at AED 70 billion for an approximate 37 million tourists according to WTO estimates.
“Taking these market statistics into consideration, the 4th Annual MICE Arabia Congress has put into place a conference agenda that will discuss the trends and challenges in these sectors, while retaining a dominant focus on the one-to-one prescheduled business meetings between the buyers and the suppliers,’’ said Sidh N C, Director, QnA International, who spoke on the structure of the congress.
The congress now in its fourth year provides a premier platform for regional and international hotel chains, team building companies, DMCs, tourism boards, cruise companies and other travel and hospitality suppliers to meet over 100 of the top GCC corporations that plan Business and MICE travel for their organizations. The fourth edition will focus on the tremendous potential for outbound MICE and luxury travel from the Middle East.
Speaking to some of the sponsors for the upcoming edition of the congress, taking place on the 1st and 2 nd of March 2016, the following insights were revealed.A major trend seen in outbound tourists from the Middle East is the shift towards unique experiences be it cultural,historical or natural. “Travellers from the GCC region, especially from the luxury market are more conscious about getting back to nature and exploring unique experiences in unique destinations instead of going to mediocre destinations,’’ noted Jad Frem, Director of Sales and Marketing of Six Senses Zighy Bay.
Anne WiersJenssen of Fred. Olsen Travel AS Norway, agreed with the sentiment, suggesting there is a definite “Shift from big cities and shopping to nature-based experiences.’’ Anothertrend witnessed is the exclusivity of MICE and luxury travel. “They tend to be amore private,protected and secure experience,’’ said Yves Maebe, General Manager, Ibis El Greco.In fact, the shift in luxury tourism is also apparent in the MICE sector where incentive programmes tend to include more individualized free time for “Relaxation, shopping or optional excursions recognizing that participants have different tastes,’’ said Carole O’Connor Marketing Manager—MICE from Rovos Rail. O’Connor elaborated on the changing structure of meetings, stating that they are becoming more interactive and listening to long PowerPoints is out of vogue , “Incentives now
regularly incorporate a meeting, team building, product or strategy element,” she said.