A recent study by Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) stated that GCC countries are in an advantageous position to become a global meetings hub.
This can be attributed to increasing trade activity, central geographical location and growing status as prospecting business traveller spots.
The study further reveals that currently, only about five percent of travellers in any given year fall into MICE category. These tourists account for about US$11 of every US$100 that tourists spend – a disproportionately high figure compared to the five percent of tourist arrivals they represent.
The study also highlights steady progress that GCC has made as a destination for business travel. Total business-tourist arrivals reached around 10 million in 2012, representing a five percent annual growth from 2009.
Richard Shediac, senior partner with Strategy&, said : “Despite the potential of the meetings market, most emerging economies have not developed a good understanding of this part of the tourism industry, nor do they have a well-considered strategy for getting a larger share of the pie. These gaps have contributed to a situation in which emerging markets like GCC lag far behind the West in terms of MICE market share. Only about two percent of all the exhibitions in the world take place in the Middle East, and only about four percent take place in South America. By contrast, Europe and North America, combined, are home to more than 80% of the world’s exhibitions, according to the most recent data.”
This imbalance presents an opportunity for emerging markets including the GCC to attract a large share of MICE business, if they improve their tactics in the meetings market, added Shediac.