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Saudi Arabia enhances the Exhibition and Convention sector

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The SECB is the overall governing and developmental organization for the Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) sector for Saudi Arabia.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - Saudi Arabia has greatly enhanced the development of exhibitions and conventions within the country. Recently, the Saudi Council of Ministers issued a national decree forming the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB). The SECB is the overall governing and developmental organization for the Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) sector for Saudi Arabia. It has been established to develop the area of exhibitions and conventions in line with the country’s other economic, cultural and social sectors. The SECB overseas the licensing and development of all aspects of the industry including events, venues and event organizers. The newly formed agency is governed by a Supervisory Committee which consists of one representative each from the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance, and two representatives from sector related companies, these private sector members are nominated by the Saudi Council of Chambers. The committee is chaired by H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

The bureau has established objectives including the implementation of efficient and transparent licensing processes, the collection and analysis of sector related data and statistics, the classification and enhancement of current and future event venues, the development of event organizers through training and certification programs, the implementation of marketing strategies, and the enhancement of Saudiazation of the industry through the development of university programs and awareness initiatives promoting the sector.

Several studies have been carried out to analyze the MICE sector within the country. The most recent study published earlier this year was jointly carried out by the SCTA and the World Bank. This study noted that more than 3.2 million visitors attend events inside Saudi Arabia annually with an economic impact of SR 8.6 billion. It is the aim of the SECB to continue to analyze the sector’s performance and provide development strategies in order to reach long term growth objectives.

Tariq Al-Essa has been appointed as the executive manager of the SECB to oversee the creation and implementation of the SECB’s structure, policies and procedures. He has stated, “The convention and exhibition sector will offer strong support to the country’s ambitious plans to grow and diversify the economy. The SECB aims to successfully develop the MICE sector while offering great benefit to the sector’s stakeholders.”

The SECB has prioritized the launching of its various departments with precedence given to licensing and research. All event related licensing activities have been reassigned from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to the SECB. The SECB’s advancements will continue to develop and be announced over the next few months.
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