GCC MICE Trends – MICE Arabia Congress Focus on Communication

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Tariq Al Sada Director PR & Communication, Ministry of Economy and Commerce Qatar

A Keynote Presentation by Mr Tariq Al Sada, (Director of PR & Communication, Ministry of Economy and Commerce – State of Qatar) at MICE Arabia Congress gave insight into the new age of MICE & Event Management Social media and mobile technology influencers. The panel covered a range of topics in both a Middle East regional and global setting. Outcomes of the panel discussion saw a growing trend of the need for new online marketing and communication channels for promoting internal company events versus “Old school marketing” and how tech savvy millennials are influencing the future of the MICE industry and the impact on event planning.

A lively panel discussion moderated by Greg Loayon, (GM & Senior Executive Officer, Zurich International Life), focused on “Uncovering the secrets behind GCC organizations’ MICE Success stories as the lead in exploring the importance of Travel management Companies within the Middle East MICE sector.” The panel comprised of key Middle east industry leaders, Abdullatif Albastaki, (Group Head – Procurement & Realty Services, Emirates NBD), Alaa Abdelmawla, (Head of Procurement & Asset Management, Qatar Islamic Bank) – Firas Al Khateeb, (Senior Vice President & Head of Procurement, National Commercial Bank) and Mohamed Zahra (Purchasing Manager – MENA, Boehringer Ingelheim).

The high powered panel discussed and answered questions from attendees that ranged over topics from the corporate perspective, what are the most popular activities within the Business Travel, Incentives and Events industry – through to the practical aspects that define the success of MICE activities. The panel also probed the question of ‘Where is the Middle Eastern outbound Incentives, Business Travel and Events industry headed?

Feedback from the discussion by Mr Mikhail Tyurin, Executive Director, Maikhao Dream Hotels & Resorts commented, on the Middle East outbound MICE and luxury travel market over the next 5 years, “We expect this market to at least double over the next five years for Phuket as the destination becomes more popular within the Middle East market and a new airport terminal comes online.”  He continued – “Our viewpoint is that luxury travel segment is more resilient compared to mass tourism market and is able to sustain growth while other segments stall. As more and more luxury properties come online every year in our region, companies will be more inclined to redefine luxury travel in order to gain competitive edge.”

Mikael Lambotte representing Kempinski Hotels, further noted, “The Middle East outbound MICE is a growing market with a great potential.‭ ‬We can project such figures due to the increase of multinational based in the GCC. ‭ ‬The luxury travel market from the GCC has been growing over the past‭ ‬10‭ ‬years and should keep growing the next‭ ‬5‭ ‬years ahead.‭ ‬Every year the demand in Munich has been increasing from‭ ‬5%‭ ‬into the luxury sector.”

An integral part of this discussion followed on with a panel discussion lead by Nada Mogharbel (Senior Communications Manager, Atkins) on “A glimpse into Royal & High Net Worth Travel” discussed the special requirements and considerations surrounding the travel needs of high stature clients. High value clients are looking for and destinations that offer the security and experience, the importance of personalization and flexibility and a growing need to address catering in respect to the importance of Halal Tourism.

Aishvarya Guhagarkar representing‭ ‬Switzerland Convention‭ & ‬Incentive Bureau‭ commented on the MICE Arabia Congress, “‬SCIB sees great value in working together with MICE Arabia Congress and hence our participation for the third time.‭ ‬The congress focuses and guarantees the attendance of qualified Corporate decision makers and MICE agencies.”

A consistent message that came across during the Congress was that the travel industry is one of a few industries that will always have growth potential due to the increase of the leisure and MICE travelers.‭ ‬
MrMikael Lambotte and‭ ‬Jason Warren of Kempinski summed up with, “We truly think that the easiness of access via direct airline connectivity is one the keys.‭ ‬Furthermore the security will always playing an important place‭; ‬travelers should always feel secure while meeting or ‭ ‬discovering a new city. ‭ T‬he quality of the service provided will play a big role into the decisions taking process.”‭

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