Mubarak AlShamsi on why Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a go-to MICE destination

Mubarak AlShamsi on why Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a go-to MICE destination

MICE tourism is firmly back on the map after a challenging couple of years, with inperson business events and meetings once again picking up pace. Against this promising backdrop, Mubarak AlShamsi, director of the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau at the Department of Culture and Tourism, tells HN what the emirate is doing to carve a niche in this important segment.

What is Abu Dhabi’s strategy for becoming a large-scale business event hub?

We recognize the pivotal role of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry in contributing to the tourism sector and overall economy. In 2024, we anticipate 10 percent growth in MICE events hosted in Abu Dhabi, reflecting the city’s growing appeal as a leading destination for global events and conventions. Our goal is to double the sector’s size by 2030.

This strategic trajectory is driven by our Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau (ADCEB), supported by robust government policies and a world-class infrastructure, incorporating global connectivity, state-of-the-art venues and hotels and leisure offerings that are primed for business events and conventions. Our MICE proposition is further elevated through a diverse ecosystem of conference and exhibition organizers and meeting planners, as well as our academia and research centers.

Strategic partnerships with global organizations, such as the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), among others, are part of our growth strategy. Our collaborative mindset brings together diverse entities spanning culture, heritage and tourism. Our strategy is guided by a deep understanding of clients’ requirements and layered experience of facilitating the delivery of their business event’s objectives, matched by a commitment to excellence, while offering visitors opportunities to engage in cultural immersions, heritage explorations and leisure pursuits.

How did Abu Dhabi tackle the challenges of establishing itself as an events destination?

The global tourism landscape has become increasingly competitive, as travel sees an uptick across the board. We see this as an opportunity to innovate and position our vibrant tourism offerings to wider and more diverse audiences.

Our global media campaigns play a key role in highlighting Abu Dhabi’s MICE capabilities, while spotlighting the services, programs and incentives available to facilitate and deliver a successful event seamlessly.

Our delegations travel to key MICE tradeshows, such as IMEX Frankfurt and IBTM World, to engage existing clients and identify new prospects.

We want to ensure that every event is a valueadd to every individual visiting our emirate. By showcasing Abu Dhabi as a destination that integrates intellectual capital and prioritized economic clusters and tourism endeavors with MICE events, we are elevating the overall appeal of our emirate as an events capital.

What sets Abu Dhabi apart from other tourist destinations?

Abu Dhabi is within a four-hour flight for one-third of the world’s population, making it accessible to many. When we say that we want visitors to enjoy Abu Dhabi at their own pace, we really mean it. Abu Dhabi can be a fast-paced and vibrant urban city, but it can also be a place of serenity and reflection. Our efforts are focused on showing how multi-faceted Abu Dhabi can be and the range of offering. For example, a visitor to the emirate can integrate an itinerary that puts them in the fast lane on a world-famous Formula One track, soak up the culture at Louvre Abu Dhabi, swim with sharks at the National Aquarium or relax on the stunning beaches of Saadiyat Island, all just minutes apart and throughout the year. Our achievements have been rewarded in the form of accolades; for example, Abu Dhabi topped the 2022 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings of destinations for association meetings in the Middle East and has been rated as the safest city for six years in a row by Numbeo.

What specific steps have you taken to attract high-profile organizations for their MICE events?

Since its launch in 2013, ADCEB has focused on propelling Abu Dhabi to the forefront of the regional business events landscape. In 2022, it orchestrated over 1,200 MICE events, attracting 603,000 visitors from across the globe. Abu Dhabi will also be hosting the prestigious 69th ICCA Congress in 2024.

Getting to this point has required determination and a belief in the power of partnerships at every phase of development and promotion. The first step is identification. ADCEB collaborates with various sectors to identify and attract relevant events to the capital and also takes an active role in leading or supporting bidding processes.

Setting the stage for success is the next step, and that’s where ADCEB’s strategic alignment with Abu Dhabi’s long-term priorities comes in. We are ensuring that world-class experiences are delivered for both planners and attendees, and this is being done through initiatives such as our Advantage Abu Dhabi 2.0 incentive program, which provides support through every step of the planning process, making it easier than ever to choose Abu Dhabi as a MICE destination. The MICE Agency Reward Scheme incentivizes intermediaries, both international and local, to refer and convert business events to Abu Dhabi, fostering increased participation.

Our wider partnerships and initiatives, including collaborations with local stakeholders and international partners, such as the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Miral and the United Networks of International Corporate Event Organizers (UNICEO), signify strategic steps toward future business development. By harnessing these partnerships and engaging with global corporate and association leaders, we aim to amplify Abu Dhabi’s international recognition as the best destination for MICE events.

How does Abu Dhabi plan to cement its position on the international tourism landscape?

Our sights are set on ambitious milestones that underscore our commitment to tourism excellence and innovation.

Looking ahead, we aim to continually diversify the tourism offerings, ensuring a rich and comprehensive experience for visitors. This includes expanding cultural attractions and enhancing leisure and entertainment options.


Website Icon png images | 


For more news click here


Add to Favorites
About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *