The future of Bahrain’s meetings and incentive and business travel sector looks positive, with the Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority reporting an increase in the number of specialised international business-to-business exhibitions and major international events in the first half of 2012 alone.

Major events held at the Exhibition Centre included the Bahrain Airshow 2012, Arabian Mechanical, Engineering & Plumbing (MEP), Gulf Industry, the 10th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, Bahrain 1st Green Tech Expo, Bahrain Information Technology Exhibition (BITEX), The 2nd Expo Science Asia and the 8th Middle East Refining and Petrochemicals Conference & Exhibition (ME Petrotech).

On the other hand, the region’s MICE leaders turn their attention to the 2013 Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM).

Ahead of the March 2013 event, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of GIBTM, is taking to the road for a series of brand new GCC and Levant-focused education and networking forums for Meetings, Business Travel and Incentive based companies to gain insight and knowledge in order to enhance their trade show experience.

Entitled ‘GIBTM Talks: Maximising your ROI’, the road show will commence on 14th October in Muscat and run through 18th October, visiting Doha, Manama, Amman and Beirut.

“Bahrain is looking to the meetings and events sector to put business tourism firmly on the agenda and develop long term prospects in order to significantly strengthen its tourism industry in the next three to four years,” said Lois Hall, Exhibition Manager for GIBTM, the leading platform for the incentive, business travel and meetings industry in the Middle East, which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 25-27 March 2013.

A recent World Travel and Tourism Council report forecast that direct contribution to travel and tourism GDP is expected to rise by 4.2% in 2012 to 2022, followed by an average 3.7% per annum for the period to 2022, reaching US$2.03 billion. This is also prompting a surge in employment opportunities within the sector, which will see a total of 36,000 jobs in 2022, up from 27,500 in 2011.

By 2022, travel and tourism investment is expected to exceed US$ 865 million – a substantial increase on the US$545 million recorded in 2011 – with over eight million arrivals targeted within the 10-year timeframe, up from five million in 2011.

The GIBTM road show will reach Bahrain on 16th October 2012, offering added value support to Bahrain’s meetings and events sector. The educational and networking forum will be held at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain and Gulf Convention Centre from 10 am to 1 pm, under the theme ‘Maximise Your ROI’.

“Our popular road show events are an invaluable opportunity for existing and potential exhibitors to gain insight and knowledge in order to enhance their GIBTM event experience, as well as pick up some great tips and techniques on using the latest social media tools to maximise business both pre- and post show,” said Hall.

“Business travel spending in Bahrain is also set to rise to US$ 449 million in 2022, so this is the perfect time for the country’s meetings and events industry as a whole to start sowing the seeds for future business in order to reap the benefits into the next decade,” she added.

As part of the National Economic Strategy 2030, a new Expo City will be constructed close to the Bahrain International Circuit. This unique landmark will include state-of-the-art facilities for exhibition and convention with Phase 1 projected to be completed in 2015.

Now in its seventh year, GIBTM attracts in excess of 2,400 industry professionals annually. New for the 2013 edition, and in response to increasing demand for business travel services in the region, GIBTM has launched its first dedicated Business Travel Pavilion. The show also hosts 300 regional and international senior level buyers, through the Hosted Buyer Programme, with a combined budget of over US$827 million, who through 7,600 pre-scheduled appointments over the two and a half-day exhibition, meet with more than 350 exhibitors from 36 different countries.

For more information, and to register as a delegate for the ‘GIBTM Talks: Maximizing forum on 16th October 2012, please log onto: http://www.gibtm.com/en/Exhibiting/GIBTM-Talks/