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First middle east mice trends survey to be unveiled at Arabian Travel Market

Nicholas Publishing International, publishers of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions…

Nicholas Publishing International, publishers of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) country guides for the Middle East and the bi-monthly MICE International magazine, has joined forces with Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), organisers of the region’s tourism and travel exhibition – Arabian Travel Market – to undertake a comprehensive survey into changing MICE trends in the Middle East.

The results of this water-shed market survey will be presented at a seminar at b, the 13th in the annual series, which will be held from May 2 – 5 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

“In our ongoing updates of regional MICE guides and bi-monthly publications, it became apparent that statistics on the rapidly growing MICE business were clearly lacking,” said Robert Nicholas, Managing Director, Nicholas Publishing International. “For nine years we have been preparing guides for the tourism authorities of most Middle East countries, but in the last 12 months we’ve seen new challenges facing MICE operators in the region and, more specifically, in Dubai.”

As a result, the survey will look specifically at 2005, in an attempt to quantify the business of incentive trips, meetings held, size and number of conferences, hotel rooms utilized, whether partners came as well, and the size of spend in this prestigious and extremely lucrative market sector.

“The market here seems to be facing a number of hurdles,” adds Nicholas. “The most apparent to many visitors to Dubai is the incredible increase in the cost of a hotel room when major events are staged. To some degree, this must have a flow on affect to future conferences, as organisers ponder, ‘Will Dubai have the rooms to stage them’? MICE organisers need to get an accurate fix on where the business is today so they can plan for tomorrow.”

As well as this, the competition now set for MICE business in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Abu Dhabi means a serious challenge to Dubai’s regional dominance. Furthermore, there is now anecdotal evidence that with cheaper and more frequent air travel, even Russia and Australia are picking up traditional European MICE business at the expense of GCC countries.

“This survey and seminar are additional examples of Arabian Travel Market genuinely serving the regional and international travel and tourism industry,” said Chris Chackal, Group Exhibition Director, RTE. “Now, for the first time we will be able to definitively show – in a freely available report – what is really happening in the Middle East’s MICE market.”

Survey research will be undertaken from January. The MICE seminar will be part of an expanded educational programme for Arabian Travel Market 2006 which RTE says will feature up to 12 sessions covering a range of industry issues.

“Arabian Travel Market is more than an exhibition,” explained Chackal. “Its comprehensive event programme gives delegates the opportunity to network, learn and keep abreast of industry news and trends.”

And the MICE industry will be in even stronger focus at Arabian Travel Market 2006 with all 110 buyers in the show’s expanded Hosted Buyer programme coming from the MICE segment, including 20 buyers from the luxury category.

Arabian Travel Market is held under the patronage of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister and under the auspices of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai.