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Number of International Association Meetings in the Middle East more than tripled in the last 10 years

Looking at aggregated figures for each five year period (to remove annual fluctuations), the number of regularly-occurring, internationally-rotating association meetings in the Middle East has doubled each decade in the last 50 years, and more than tripled in the last 10 years.




“A modern history of international association meetings”
ICCA’s 50-year statistics report “A Modern History of International Association Meetings: 1963-2012”, which was published as part of ICCA’s 50th anniversary, shows that the total number of regularly-occurring, internationally-rotating association meetings is increasing by 100 per cent every 10 years, and has been consistently doing so for the last half century, with no signs of a slowdown. The number of meetings in the Middle East has even grown quicker than in other regions, as it more than tripled in the last 10 years. The report is publicly available on

Table 1: Number of meeting in the Middle East 1963-2012

Acknowledging the growing importance of the Middle East meetings market, ICCA is extending its activities in the Middle East region and has opened its first ICCA Middle East Regional Office in 2012, which is leveraging the association’s key expertise in the international association meetings sector − offering unrivalled data, communication channels and business development opportunities to international meeting suppliers. Mr. Gamal Sadek of the Al Ketbi Consultancy is ICCA’s Middle East Regional Director.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk says, “Our statistics are proving what we have long suspected: that the world is experiencing an unprecedentedly revolutionary period in terms of knowledge creation, and that association meetings are growing exponentially in tandem, as primary vectors for disseminating that knowledge. 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, and local demand for education and knowledge-transfer is at an all-time high. We are confident that the region will enjoy even greater international meetings activity in the future, based on these underlying fundamentals.”

ICCA members can use a new online interactive statistics tool to carry out tailored analyses and destination comparison studies based on 50 years of association meeting data.

ICCA Seminar at GIBTM: “Hosting International Association meetings in the Middle East”

ICCA will organise a seminar during GIBTM as part of its Knowledge Sessions (25th March 2014) on hosting international association meetings in the Middle East. This insightful session will discuss the challenges and opportunities of organising international association meetings in the Middle East and what makes this region unique. An expert panel of ICCA members will give the top 10 "Do's and Don'ts" when organising international meetings in the Middle East, as well as what each of the various destinations in the region are doing in attracting association business.

The session is moderated by: Steen Jakobsen, 3rd Vice President, ICCA BOD member, Dubai Convention Bureau


  • Medhat  Nassar, ICCA Middle East Chapter Chairman; Owner and Managing Director, Meeting Minds
  • Mahir Julfar, ICCA BOD member; Director, Commercial Exhibitions and Conferences, Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre - Dubai WTC
  • Khalifa Alqubaisi, ICCA Middle East Chapter Deputy Chairperson; Head of Sales Congresses, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company
  • Ken Jamieson, Commercial Director - AMLAK Venue Management, Qatar National Convention Centre, Member of Qatar Foundation

This ICCA GIBTM Knowledge Session is open to press and will take place on Tuesday 25th March from 11:30 -12:30 at ADNEC’s Knowledge Hub.

About ICCA

ICCA is the most global meetings industry association and the leader in the international association meetings sector. ICCA represents the main specialists in organising, transporting, and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises almost 1,000 member companies and organisations in over 90 countries worldwide. ICCA specialises in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.


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For more information about GIBTM visit

ICCA Middle East Office
Gamal Sadek, Regional Director Middle East
P.O. Box 73477, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 4467509 Fax +971 4 4279731