The 2014 edition of The Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings is shaping up to be the most successful yet, with robust exhibitor and buyer interest in the event giving rise to new exhibition features, innovative concept areas, up to 300 hosted buyers, over 2,000 trade visitors and an expanded educational programme.

Kicking off at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 24-26 March 2014, GIBTM has piqued the interest of a truly international audience, with a number of first-time exhibitors attending from Spain, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, UAE, Korea, United Kingdom, Uganda, South Africa and Morocco.

Last year GIBTM tripled corporate meetings buyer attendance accounting for 35% of all hosted buyers attending the show, compared to 11% from the corporate sector in 2012.

The international pavilions have a new addition in the shape of the Africa Pavilion, which is being added in response to a surge in demand from exhibitors looking at targeting outbound business from the Middle East into the continent, with newcomers including Tips Tours and Rovos Rail Tours.

It joins the Asia Pavilion, with Korea and Thailand confirmed newcomers, as well as the European Pavilion, which this year will occupy a much larger area due to the addition of debutants such as L’way Express from the Czech Republic, Spain’s Iberostar Management, Serbia Convention Bureau, EPI Georgia, Arsenal Football Club and AYGUN TURIZM of Turkey.

GIBTM’s ‘Knowledge Programme’ has also been ramped up for 2014, with educational sessions conducted by some of the world’s leading meetings industry associations including MPI, ICCA and SITE, covering topics spanning industry trends, sustainability, issues impacting the corporate travel industry, and the challenges of staging international association meetings.

The seminar programme, sponsored by Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), has interesting sessions this year including the MICE Buyers report, in this session, Rob Davidson of the University of Greenwich in London will present the results of the Middle Eastern Meeting Planners’ Site Selection Survey – brand new research which demonstrates the factors that are most important to Middle Eastern meeting planners when they are deciding where to locate their events.