Abu Dhabi has climbed to 73rd position in the annual ranking of the world's top destinations for meetings and congresses released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Abu Dhabi jumped 35 places in the latest destination ranking, marking a significant surge over its 2014 performance.
The ICCA report showed that in 2015 the UAE capital hosted more than 35 international association meetings and conferences, up from 22 in 2014. Posting a year-on-year growth of 59%, Abu Dhabi was also the only city in the region to advance in the overall ICCA ranking.
His Excellency Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), said: “We are proud of Abu Dhabi’s brilliant achievement at a global level. Abu Dhabi’s race up the ICCA ranking table - leaping 35 places - is the outcome of concerted efforts of all key stakeholders in the business tourism industry and in line with the vision of the emirate’s leadership to promote Abu Dhabi as the capital of business tourism in the region. The growing appeal of the city as a destination of choice for leading international associations can be mainly attributed to the top-notch services and facilities offered by the emirate in the meetings and congresses sector.”
He added: “Over the past few years, TCA Abu Dhabi has collaborated with our strategic partners to enhance the credentials and attractiveness of Abu Dhabi in the MICE sector - on both regional and international levels. We are committed to continuing this collaboration given the high average spend of business delegates attending meetings and conferences - accounting for more than 7% of regular leisure tourists visiting the city.
“ADNEC is our key partner in driving the MICE sector in Abu Dhabi and boasts a successful track record in hosting many high-profile international meetings and congresses that have promoted Abu Dhabi’s leading status as a major tourism destination.”
Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Acting Group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, said: "ADNEC is delighted with this latest accomplishment notched up by Abu Dhabi. What makes this achievement truly notable is that Abu Dhabi has jumped 161 places in the ICCA ranking within a span of three years - from 234 in 2012 to 73 in 2015."
“The advanced ranking achieved by the UAE capital is not our ultimate goal, but it reflects the great confidence placed by the industry in Abu Dhabi’s ability to host high-profile meetings and international conferences. It also validates the advanced facilities and the state-of-the-art venue space offered by Abu Dhabi to ensure the success of all global events hosted here."
On the company’s plans for the future, Al Dhaheri said: “We will continue to build on these achievements and ensure the readiness of our venues to attract more major international events”.
“Our venues in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain collectively hosted a total of 369 events in 2015, compared to 327 events in 2014. The events attracted 1.8 million visitors from across the world last year, up from 1.6 million visitors in 2014 – registering a 13% growth year-on-year.”
Furthermore, in 2015, ADNEC also attracted several new exhibitions and witnessed a steep growth in the specialised conferences and congresses segment that posted a spectacular 110% growth compared to the previous year. The company won the rights to host four new international congresses that are set to be held in 2016 and in coming years.
ADNEC has also established strong synergies with Abu Dhabi’s business tourism stakeholders including TCA Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau to develop joint-bid strategies and seize opportunities in the global congresses and association meetings sector.
Al Dhaheri highlighted Abu Dhabi’s growth in the MICE sector globally as evidenced by Abu Dhabi’s recent wins as the host city of several leading international conferences. These include the World Diabetes Congress (IDF), the biennial international health congress which advances the cause of diabetes treatment worldwide. The event will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in December 2017.
Around 15,000 experts are expected at the Congress which is set to deliver an anticipated economic impact to the emirate of AED150 million (US$40.8 million).
ADNEC has also been awarded the Congress’s host status by its organiser - the Brussels-headquartered International Diabetes Federation (IDF), an umbrella organisation of over 200 national diabetes associations from more than 160 countries - and beat back stiff competition from leading venues worldwide to achieve this honour.
Al Dhaheri added: “We credit our employees across various sectors for our continued achievements and outstanding results. Our latest achievement in the ICCA ranking will further motivate us to ensure the sustainability of the excellent results achieved over the past few years. We are also committed to meeting the evolving requirements of our partners in both the public and private sectors as well as major international companies and event organisers.”
The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which collated the destination ranking comprises 950 members from 88 countries including prominent organisations in business tourism, transportation and hospitality sectors.
ADNEC offers 133,000 sq m of inter-connected floor space to match the expectations of a wide variety of events and exhibitions. Equipped with modern facilities and built to international standards, the venue attracted 1.8 million people across 369 events in 2015.