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GIBTM PREVIEWHow will GIBTM 2011 differ from lastyear's show? With GIBTM now in its fifth year we arecreating more content on the exhibitionfloor. We have relocated the SeminarTheatre there and a number of jointnetworking events will help us educate andidentify additional regional Middle Eastbuyers about the benefits of the show. Thisis helping to boost international participationof exhibitors, as there will be more regionaldecision-makers for them to meet on site. We are also working closely with tourismboards in the region. We have been carryingout a series of educational presentationsjointly with them to their private sectorpartners on how to get a better return oninvestment from GIBTM. What are you most proud of over thisyear's campaign?The RTE meetings portfolio now has anofficial presence in the UAE in myself andour Regional Sales Manager and this allowsus to work much more closely with our keyevent partners, stakeholders, exhibitors andassociations, to help raise the profile of bothGIBTM and the meetings industry in theregion. We have also recruited a local PRagency in the UAE to work alongside ourinternational team to increase awarenesswithin the Middle East. We are alsocommunicating in Arabic, so are reaching a wider audience. Are you still finding resistance from somedestinations in the region regardingexhibiting? This year we have been working closely witha number of regional destinations. Duringthe second half of 2010 we completed aregional sales/educational tour where weworked closely with destinations likeBahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan,Lebanon and Syria to identify their keyMeetings/MICE private sector members. This included an educational presentationon the meetings industry within the MiddleEast and why GIBTM would benefit them.How has the education and seminarprogramme been approached? We continue to ensure that the educationtopics at GIBTM remain relevant to themarket. We take on board feedback fromthe attendees from last year and this helpsus identify topics and trends which weresearch throughout the year. We continueto conduct the annual industry researchreport as this has given us a great insightover the years into the changing shape ofthe meetings industry in the region. The education changes each year to keepup to speed with the trends in the regionand this year we will look at CSR strategies,social media and the future trends of themeetings industry among other topics.How has support been this year frominternational meetings industryassociations. Meetings ProfessionalInternational (MPI) seems to have wounddown its conference that ran alongside theshow?As well as our strong internationalrelationships with industry associations suchas MPI, ICCA and Site, we have beencommitted to supporting the activities of theregional chapters of Site and ICCA at agrass roots level. We will be working withthem at GIBTM this year.What can you say about the developmentof the meetings industry in the Gulf? Due to the infrastructure development, theMiddle East has presented itself as apremier location for holding meetings thatare relevant, not just for the region, but on a global scale.The abundance of venues in the region ishelping to grow the sector. The region's status as an emerging hubfor business, especially within the energysector, pharmaceutical and financialindustries, is also a key strength.What else is new for the show and theregion? Abu Dhabi's business tourism, meetings andincentive infrastructure has expandedsignificantly over the past year. Businesstourism currently accounts for around 70per cent of Abu Dhabi's hotel guest profilewith 10 per cent of this emanating from theMICE segment.What are your expectations and ambitionsfor the show this year? We are targeting a 15 per cent growth onexhibition space this year and are lookingforward to attracting over 2,000 visitors, aswell as over 300 international and regionalhosted buyers and around 250 exhibitors.Reed harnesses Gulfrelationships for GIBTMAs Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) gears up (28-30 March) for what it claims is the largestgathering of meeting professionals in the Gulf, CMWasks GIBTM Exhibition ManagerLloyd Kenyonwhat's in store this time Conference+Meetings WorldMarch 2011Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)

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