Sharjah wrapped up an eventful participation in the GIBTM 2012 at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre today with the emirate attracting considerable interest of major business tourism players, exhibitors, investors and international media.

The emirate once again commanded strong presence at the region’s most prestigious event promoting MICE tourism for the sixth consecutive year, held in Abu Dhabi from March 26-28.

The spotlight remained firmly on business tourism with senior officials from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority and other Sharjah government bodies holding meetings and exchanging ideas with representatives of leading public and private tourism players on efforts and initiatives to boost and develop this growing, niche tourism market.

Speaking on the sidelines of the exhibition, Tariq Allay Al Naqbi, Head of SCTDA’s Media Division, underscored the immense potential of business tourism in the region. “Business tourism sector holds great promise and potential to contribute to the national economy. This sector has already witnessed remarkable development in the recent period. And the future looks even brighter. This platform presented an ideal opportunity of meeting the growing needs in this area in Sharjah, the UAE and across the Middle East,” he said.

Al Naqbi added: “The significant growth rates seen in the emirate today in all sectors of the economy, high rates of tourists year after year, requires us to study the mechanism of the development of business tourism sector which is one of the most important investment channels that contribute to maintaining and boosting development.”

Sharjah has become one of the leading tourist destinations of choice for tourists from around the world, because of its variety of tourist attractions and has established itself on the world tourism map, emphasised the official.

This year, the GIBTM Abu Dhabi attracted more than 26,000 visitors, including top decision makers and leaders of the tourism industry from across the region and from around the world. More than 330 exhibitors and 284 companies from 36 countries took part in the tourism event which registered an increase of 17 per cent in visitor numbers.