Abu Dhabi: The upcoming Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) event will once again help Abu Dhabi establish its reputation as a progressive and viable business tourism destination, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) says.

The annual GIBTM event, which starts on Tuesday and runs through Thursday, is the Middle East's only trade exhibition dedicated to business tourism, otherwise known as the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) industry.

This year's event will take up 15 per cent more space at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) than last year.

It will attract visitors from 10 countries that have not previously participated, 232 exhibitors (13 of whom are new to the show) and feature 245 key industry decision-makers from 25 countries.

Gillian Taylor, Business Tourism Manager at the ADTA, told Gulf News that the GIBTM's vision is to provide a business platform for international and regional venues, hotels, destinations and suppliers to meet with meeting planners, incentive travel buyers and those involved in the meetings and incentives industry.

"ADTA backs the show by organising 'Abu Dhabi Day'.

"We showcase the emirate to the show's influential hosted buyers.

"This includes a visit to the stunning Shaikh Zayed Mosque, Emirates Palace hotel and the Saadiyat Island cultural district exhibition, and of course the Yas Island development, including the F1 circuit," added Taylor.

During the event, 22 Emirati students from Zayed University will act as ambassadors to assist international hosted buyers, media and participants. The GIBTM Ambassador Programme, a joint initiative between Reed Travel Exhibitions and the ADTA, will help students to gain on-the-ground experience in the business and meetings industry.

According to 2007 ADTA reports, Emiratis currently account for a slim one per cent of the 47,700 jobs available in the tourism industry in the capital city.

The authority is looking to improve this figure to five per cent by 2012.

Nasser Al Reyami, ADTA's Director of Tourism Standards, said Emiratisation is one of the authority's goals.

"Emiratisation within the tourism sector is an ADTA priority and we've identified business tourism as a sector which could have major appeal to young, aspiring nationals.

"As the future leaders of the industry, we are currently pursuing a campaign of actively educating UAE nationals on the wide variety of career opportunities open to them, and the GIBTM Ambassador Programme is a vital component of this strategy."

Dubai: Marketing the emirate

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), along with 45 other organisations, is participating in the GIBTM-2009 exhibition to promote and market the emirate as an ideal year-round Mice destination.

Participants in the Dubai stand include DTCM's Human Resources and Training Solutions, Dubai Convention Bureau, Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Summer Surprises.

- Staff Report