Business travel is set to be one of the key focuses of the 2012 Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), the region’s only event dedicated to the meetings and events industry to be held next March.

GIBTM, a REED Travel Exhibitions event, is the largest gathering of meetings industry professionals in the Middle East, attended by over 2750 industry professionals from all over the region, and is a driving force behind the industry offering five star business, networking and educational opportunities.

GIBTM, now in it’s is 6th year, will focus on opportunities in the growing business travel sector.

“The business and corporate travel community is an intrinsic part of the meetings industry and has been expanding steadily, in 2012 we are making business travel a key focus at GIBTM. With the UAE witnessing a 5% increase in air traffic this year* and recording the largest number of hotel rooms under way in the Middle East and Africa region**we expect to see even greater growth in the business travel sector,” said Lois Jane Hall, REED Travel Exhibitions Manager GIBTM. “We are collaborating with The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), to provide unprecedented solutions for business travelers,” she added.

Pre-qualified buyers of business travel from the region will be selected and invited to take part in the well established Hosted Buyer program, a platform providing exclusive business meeting opportunities for regional and international senior level buyers and decision makers. These targeted and pre-qualified hosted buyers will meet with regional and international exhibitors.

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), GIBTM’s partner and supporter, is placing increased emphasis on attracting business tourism and over the past few years has significantly upgraded its meetings and conference facilities, providing businesses with world-class facilities.

ADTA expects an increase of 20,000 business tourists this year. Approximately 1.3 million of the 1.8 million guests across 115 hotels and hotel apartments in the Emirate are business travelers, out of which 215,000 guests arrive specifically for MICE related activities.

Oman Ministry of Tourism and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts were also among the first exhibitors signing up for GIBTM 2012 and are both keen to engage with business travelers.

“The planned convention center and airport will have modern facilities and will help position Oman as one of the main business travel destinations in the region,” said Khalid Al Zadjali, Head of Overseas Promotion, Oman Ministry of Tourism. “Our aim for participating in GIBTM 2012 is to recognise new trends, best practices and also benefit from the abundant networking opportunities,” he added.