Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) this year saw exhibitors and buyers universally describing the show as business-focused, highly successful and the best in its six-year history. High-quality appointments, enhanced show features and the new show format made this year’s edition outstanding. The rise in high-quality senior buyers at GIBTM 2012, especially from the Middle East and Asia (MEA), as well as a 100 per cent increase in buyers from Saudi Arabia compared to last year, greatly contributed to exhibitor satisfaction. Lois Hall, GIBTM Exhibitions Manager, pleased with a 17 per cent increase in exhibitors from across 36 countries commented: “The positive feedback from exhibitors, hosted buyers and trade visitors has been incredible. The Middle East has recognised the potential in attracting meetings and events to the region and the successful two and a half days of GIBTM illustrates that there is a hunger for the meetings sector to develop at a swift pace. We are very happy to hear that exhibitors and buyers had high-quality meetings and appointments and found their participation in GIBTM to be invaluable for the development of their business - that’s what the show is all about.” More than 270 Hosted Buyers with high spending power from across the globe attended this year’s show and 7,672 pre-scheduled appointments took place, an impressive increase of over 8 per cent from 2011. US Senior Hosted Buyer, Kip Horton, President of International Division at HPN Global, commented: “As this region gains prominence as a destination for group meetings and incentives, anyone planning on working there needs to be at GIBTM.” Hosted Buyers and trade visitors attend GIBTM for many reasons but discovering the business tourism potential amongst emerging destinations is high on the agenda. Event solutions attracted crowds at the Technology Zone as the very latest technological innovations for meetings and events were explored and demonstrated. Leading suppliers QuickMobile from the US took centre stage to announce their strategic partnership with Eventware FZ to accelerate the adoption of mobile event solutions in the Middle East. Craig Tunstall, Eventware said: “As a first time exhibitor, GIBTM has been really productive - there has been a lot of interest especially from Saudi Arabia and we saw a number of high quality people with good questions. There is great potential in the Middle East market and GIBTM is the best forum for our technology - it is a springboard for launching the partnership and a brand we want to align ourselves with.” Ozer Guler, Group & Conventions Specialist at Turkish Arlines said, “We participated in the show to raise awareness in the Middle East and since we are growing more than 20 per cent on a yearly basis, we need visibility on leading industry platforms. GIBTM has strong potential to grow and we’re happy to be a part of it.” “There definitely was a buzz and a greater energy around the show this year, with a lot more regional buyers and walk in visitors which is what we are striving to achieve. GIBTM is always successful for us and gives us a great opportunity to showcase Abu Dhabi to the hosted buyers and the global industry from the news stories that emanate from it. It is definitely the region’s ‘must attend’ business events trade show,” commented Gillian Taylor of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. “I find both the programme and exhibitors of quality and would highly recommend this event to my network of peers and clients. It was my first time in Abu Dhabi and I was left in awe of the aggressive development that the city is undergoing and had achieved thus far,” added Singaporean Hosted Buyer Sapinah Itam, Regional Accounts Director at Global Cynergies. A report revealed that the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) is in the top ten list of countries that both Middle East and global buyers hold events in, and that event organisers are planning to increase the volume of events and their budgets for the region.