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Middle East trumpets growth, despite turmoil


Confidence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as a meetings destination is still growing, despite the political turmoil gripping the region, a survey has revealed.

The fifth Meetings Industry Research Report launched at GIBTM – the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition – show continued optimism in the MENA market. The study, commissioned by phone-conferencing service meetme, suggested the region’s key meetings destinations were likely to enjoy continued growth for some years to come.

The research was undertaken during January and February 2011 as the troubles in Egypt were unfolding, but before the current crisis in Libya had escalated. More than 600 international buyers and suppliers were interviewed for the survey, with 71 per cent of buyers forecasting an increase in the number of events they were likely to hold in the region in 2011/2012 and 86 per cent of suppliers to the area anticipating winning new business.

The UAE still dominated the region as the destination of choice for meetings and events, with Dubai still the most popular emirate. However Doha and Muscat could prove a serious challenge to Dubai and Abu Dhabi due to their new international air routes and convention centres.

Suppliers’ belief that the MENA region offers them more growth potential for future business than anywhere else in the world had not waivered despite current challenges.

But while the UAE's message of 'affordable luxury' may still not be totally appropriate to some clients, cost and quality of accommodation remain the top priorities for buyers in 2011, with security coming in at third place.

View the full report online at

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