United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: In collaboration with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau hosted the fourth edition of the Middle East International Forum (MEIMF) at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas, Saadiyat Island, from 18-19 September 2019. With over 100 participants in attendance for a programme focused on industry knowledge transfer and educational development, the Forum was a successful event for ICCA and the Middle East region.
The opening of the forum saw a welcome speech from Mr. Mubarak Al Shamsi, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau Director and ICCA Middle East Chapter Chair, where he welcomed the opportunity to host some of the region’s key players to showcase the importance of collaboration, sustainable development and best practices.
"Meetings and exhibitions have contributed tremendously to the growth and development of Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the region as a whole. They play a key role helping the region achieve long-term goals in economic growth and diversification. This year’s edition has seen discussion from different prospective. We are now exploring societal developments and benefits as a result of hosting these conventions, the facilitation role bureaus are currently playing between event organisers and local communities in addition to changes in the market and the constant need for venues to adapt in order to be successful," Mr. Al Shamsi said.
Mr. Senthil Gopinath, ICCA Chief Executive Officer, said: "The ICCA Middle East Forum is a strategic platform created by ICCA Middle East with the objective of developing the knowledge economy in the region’s meetings segment. I thank all attendees for their enthusiasm and Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau for hosting such an event with an incredibly well-structured and impactful programme. The region is rapidly growing and has great potential to attract mega congresses. The cities in the region are committed and creating great initiatives to market their respective destinations, and I am pleased to witness the growth. ICCA will continue to contribute and support the region."
Mr. Mahir Julfar, ICCA Board Member and SVP Venues Management at the Dubai World Trade Center said: "At ICCA we have an incredibly active and knowledgeable community. Our members are strong advocates for the development of the meetings industry in the region. We work together with a unified passion to further develop our destinations through the expertise, skills and knowledge exchange opportunities offered by international association meetings."
This year’s Forum has also seen an active participation of the United Networks of International Corporate Event Organizers (UNICEO). With over 2,000 members, UNICEO is considered one of the leading global associations that brings together senior decision-makers for corporate events. Representing UNICEO was Ms. Debora Piovesan, their Head of Events, who delivered a keynote speech discussing the balance between providing return-on-investment as well as return-on-experience for delegates.
The programme’s second day was opened by Mr. Khalid Al Zadjali, Deputy Chair of ICCA Middle East Chapter and Director Oman Convention Bureau who was pleased to attend the successful forum and was proud to see the over 100 attendees for the forum. He mentioned ICCA’s strong presence in the Middle East since 2012 and the benefits the association’s advocacy brings to the region. In turn, he highlighted ICCA’s platform as a provider of opportunities to explore the possibilities of the congress business and enhance regional industry knowledge, and emphasised the place the meeting industry holds in driving the economic development of Abu Dhabi and the wider region.
Mr. Al Zadjali also reiterated the continued potential ICCA has to offer the Middle East region and invited attendees to make full use of the opportunities ICCA provides in the coming years, for the benefit of their destinations.
Notes to the Editor
The global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry
ICCA (The International Congress and Convention Association) represents the world’s leading suppliers in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and now comprises over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide.
ICCA has specialised in the international association meetings sector since its establishment in 1963, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.
ICCA members represent the top destinations worldwide and the most experienced specialist suppliers. International meeting planners can rely on the ICCA network to find solutions for all their event objectives, such as: venue selection; technical and strategic advice; assistance with delegate transportation; full convention planning or ad hoc services.