A renowned travel destination in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is now becoming popular in the global MICE industry. In recent years, the city has witnessed considerable growth in MICE activities, with world-class meetings and events facilities that inspire event planners from around the globe to host their dream event in this sultry capital. This has resulted in Abu Dhabi earning the title of "Leading Overseas Luxury MICE Destination" at the prestigious China Travel and Meeting Industry Awards held in 2017*. Additionally, Abu Dhabi has also ranked fourth in Cvent’s inaugural list of Top 10 Meeting Destinations in the Middle East and Africa this year. Keep reading to know what makes Abu Dhabi one of the best meeting destinations in the region.
Abu Dhabi features the United Arab Emirates' second-largest airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), which provides a base for more than 30 airlines flying to over 120 destinations in more than 50 countries. The airport is well-connected with the city center through public transport. The city boasts of an extensive network of buses that connects all the major areas of the city. The green and white air-conditioned buses run from all the three terminals of the AUH airport and stop at all legal bus stops going into the city. Aside from the bus network, Abu Dhabi also has a metro rail system and metered taxis that provide optimal connectivity between the city and its suburbs.
The perfect blend of Abu Dhabi’s rich heritage, history, and unique event venues inspire meeting planners from around the world to host events in this iconic city. A rich collection of luxury-brand chain hotels, opulent boutique hotels, international conference venues, and a variety of independent meeting facilities together form the backbone of MICE activities and events in Abu Dhabi. The wide assortment of hotel venues includes city hotels, desert resorts, luxury Bedouin camps, beach resorts, and more. Among the exceptional collection of Abu Dhabi conference venues is the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, one of the largest venues in the city with 12 dedicated exhibition halls, 21 meeting rooms, and two large conference halls.
Abu Dhabi has been hosting several high-profile conferences and exhibitions, resulting in higher occupancy rates in the city. As per the MENA Hotel Benchmark Survey Report for April 2018, Abu Dhabi attained the highest hotel occupancy figures of any Gulf Cooperation Council city in April, with an impressive rate of 87.9%** — climbing 4.7% year-over-year. Experts believe that Abu Dhabi will experience a similar level of occupancy rate over the coming months, thanks to world-class events that the city is set to host, such as the International Franchise Conference & Exhibition, The Arab International Dental Conference & Exhibition, the International Real Estate & Investment Show 2018, and more.
The Abu Dhabi government is making heavy investments in the city’s MICE infrastructure. In fact, the Director General of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi announced at the IMEX Frankfurt 2017 that the city is targeting to attract 3 million business visitors by 2021#. With this projected growth, the MICE sector of the city can be expected to contribute about 4% of GDP by 2021.
If you want to find out how Abu Dhabi’s MICE market will look like in the coming years, stay tuned for our next blog in this series. Meanwhile, you can check out the Abu Dhabi city guide to uncover all meeting and event planning related information about the city.