This Month we get to know better Exhibition World Bahrain
What was your motivation to join ICCA?
ICCA has been an international leader in the MICE industry for many years, the opportunities it brings for a convention and exhibitions centre in terms of business prospects, networking, education, and access to key associations which ICCA has garnered over the years are invaluable. An ICCA membership gives Exhibition World Bahrain (EWB) credibility within the industry, and that’s why it’s one of the top memberships for us.
Tell us your story. How did Exhibition World Bahrain get started?
Bahrain has always been a trade and business hub in the region, we’ve been very successful in hosting international events for many years, and we’ve outgrown the existing venue. The level of interest in Bahrain as a destination has increased, so it was only natural to invest in a much larger, much more sophisticated venue that is all-encompassing and offers more than just exhibition space. This is the right time for Bahrain to really position itself as the newest MICE destination with this state-of-the-art venue that is very flexible and multipurpose. We are creating a fantastic environment for our clients, built on a multi-layer experience that goes far-beyond venue management.
It’s all a part of that bigger picture for the Kingdom, to fulfil the country’s Vision 2030 and efforts to diversify away from the oil industry. The establishment of EWB is a key part of Bahrain’s Tourism Strategy 2022-2026, which focuses on opening Bahrain to new markets, increasing the prospects of international tourism, and increasing the sector’s contribution to the GDP.
What sets Exhibition World Bahrain apart?
Definitely Bahrain as a destination; it’s exquisite. We’re all about manifesting the Bahraini identity into a true authentic experience. The people are warm and welcoming, you will truly feel that Arabic hospitality. Bahrain is cosmopolitan and very open, yet it’s very proud of its heritage and culture. It’s also strategically positioned and accessible in terms of location between East and West. It ticks all the boxes and makes for a most appealing new MICE destination. We’re able to attract delegates from the Saudi Arabian market, and other countries in the region.
EWB’s location in the Zallaq area where there is exponential growth and major investments taking place to create a destination within a destination. We are right next to Bahrain International Circuit, Al Dana Amphitheatre, three 5-star resorts, and in the future an international sports city and two 4-star boutique hotels under the At Mine hospitality group. That makes EWB an amazing venue offering a unique experience.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Despite Covid we’ve not faltered in our plans, it may have been challenging for others, but we have remained focused on our goal of delivering this state-of-art-venue. But our biggest success so far has been our team of bright, well-educated Bahrainis excited to be part of this project that is going to welcome the world. And that really is just a natural extension of the Bahraini culture, to be warm and welcoming. Most of our team are young, talented Bahrainis whom we are mentoring and developing to lead this new industry. And their efforts have been fruitful, we are booked through till the end of 2023 before we even open.
What can we expect to see from Exhibition World Bahrain in the future?
We’ve got a full calendar booked until the end of 2023, and well beyond that into 2024 and 2025. The level of interest from international organisers has been phenomenal, and we are bidding for specific events that match with Bahrain Vision 2030 to cultivate the interest of different industry sectors and across various verticals, whether that’s medical, finance related or film tourism, that’s where we see a lot of opportunity for Bahrain.
Which trends do you see in the Association Meetings?
People and organisers are looking for something more than just a destination. They are looking for a holistic experience, and Bahrain really encapsulates all of that, the truly authentic experience, it’s more than just coming for an event, its about that whole journey, the before, the during, and the after. More companies are looking beyond just coming to an event; the add-ons, the environment, and the business opportunities around that event are what gives the destination an edge.
What is an industry challenge, your organisation is facing currently?
We like to focus on opportunities rather than look at challenges. The venue is owned by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) and proudly managed by ASM Global, the world-leading venue management company and producer of live event experiences, giving it the added advantage of utilising the company’s wider network within the MICE industry to create unique experiences built on years of expertise and to ensure we are implementing the highest level of standards every step of the way, giving us and our team a competitive advantage.