UAE is one of the safest destinations in the world
Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, participated today in a panel discussion on ‘Developing and Promoting a Lucrative MICE Destination’ at the YAS Island Conference held in Abu Dhabi. Others on the panel included Filippo Sona, Director-Head of Hotels – MENA Region, Colliers International, Ajay Bhojwani, Managing Director, MCI Middle East, and Nick McElwee, Sales and Marketing Director, ADMM / Yas Marina Circuit.
Highlighting the significance of the MICE segment, Laurent stated, “MICE is a highly promising niche within tourism. Therefore, MICE should be the core of any business tourism strategy pursued by policymakers.”
Laurent believes, “Our approach to MICE has to be different than other industry segments and key to that is coming up with new ideas and curated packages. What is needed here is to recognise the changing way in which the world is conducting business as well as identify the trends which are influencing global economies. Excellence, innovation, personalization, flexibility, originality, competitive pricing and value-added packages are the key to succeed in this demanding segment.”
The regional Events and MICE business has reportedly been witnessing a growth rate of 5.5 per cent annually in meeting attendance since 2000, led notably by the UAE market, followed by Saudi Arabia and Oman. Dubai is host to almost 27 per cent of all events staged in the region. Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, generates USD 700 million from its MICE sector and is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 7 per cent to reach USD 1.4 billion by 2020.
Laurent stressed, “The UAE is one of the safest destinations in the world and has set a great example in that direction. Geographically too it enjoys a strategic location between the East and West with over 2/3 of the world’s population living within 8 hours flight from Dubai and 1/3 lives within 4 hours. The developments in terms of infrastructure, connectivity and facilities taking shape for Dubai Expo 2020 will further boost its global and regional positioning as a MICE destination.”