gibtm13slThe Middle East is the fastest growing international association meeting market in the world according to an International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) study.

The report highlighted that between 1998 and 2002, there were 532 association meetings in the Middle East. That figure had grown to 905 between 2003 and 2007 and then expanded once again between 2008 and 2012 to 1,776 association meetings.

Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) show opened its doors today welcoming over 250 regional and international Hosted Buyers from 36 countries who will meet with up to 300 exhibitors from 35 destinations from around the world. Of which 74 are brand new to the show, with companies from Kazakhstan, Russia, Morocco, South Africa and South Korea making their debuts, and the European Pavilion returns with 25% more exhibitors.

Another headlining report at GIBTM is the eagerly anticipated release of the inaugural Middle East MICE Buyers Report tomorrow (Tuesday 25 March), which surveyed planners from across the region to gain direct insight into their purchasing habits and the decision-making process. A preview revealed that the UAE is the leading destination 66% of meeting planners reporting having held meetings there in the last two years, with Dubai the most popular location.

The newly launched Business Travel @GIBTM focus, will feature a dedicated panel discussion that will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 25 March) offering unique insight into this commercially vital sector, where the latest trends in regional business travel will be discussed in an interactive forum.