‘MICE is pivotal to our 2030 strategy’

Mubarak Al Shamsi, Director, Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi says MICE is a critical catalyst for the recovery of the tourism sector

Abu Dhabi abounds with a fascinating range of landscapes, offering experiences for every kind of traveller whether they seek Nature, adventure, sun and sea or arts and culture. In Abu Dhabi, visitors find a destination where respect for the past informs the present and shapes the future. It is a diverse emirate with desert-scapes, oases, mountain heights, pristine beaches, warm, clear waters, desert islands, an ancient heritage city and a modern cosmopolitan capital city. 

Abu Dhabi has a long and rich cultural history, but when it became the capital city of the UAE 50 years ago, it was built using oil revenue when the first oil barrel was shipped out of Abu Dhabi by BP. Now, it is a thriving tourism destination that attracted 11.35 million visitors in 2019, anticipated to increase to over 23 million by 2030. 

A destination built for the people and by the people, Abu Dhabi is home to 200 nationalities who live side by side, united by a coexistence of peace, tolerance and equality upheld at the highest levels. Its growing cultural offerings and sites bridge its heritage with its future ambitions, supporting creativity, inclusivity, and cultural exchange while helping to diversify and build a knowledge-based economy. Having invested over $8 billion in cultural and creative industries, it is home to world-leading cultural offerings such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abrahamic House and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (due to open in 2025). 

Jubail Mangrove Park

Good choice for MICE

Abu Dhabi’s strong MICE capabilities are demonstrated by its world-class infrastructure, iconic hotels and resorts, state-of-the-art event venues and an unrivalled leisure offering. With its proximity to India (four hours’ flying time from Delhi and Mumbai) and a strong health and safety record, Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a preferred destination for Indian corporate groups and travellers. 

“Abu Dhabi offers a broad mix of hotels that cater to a wide range of budgets and expectations, ranging from pocket-friendly city hotels to luxurious beach resorts. It also has a solid reputation for successfully attracting and hosting prominent large-scale events. Moreover, Abu Dhabi’s growing knowledge and innovation ecosystem across the public and private sectors adds further value for international associations and event organisers looking to host their meetings and conferences in a highly competitive MICE destination,” says Mubarak Al Shamsi, Director, Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau (ADCEB), Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). 

Mubarak Al Shamsi, Director, Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi 

He adds that Abu Dhabi sees MICE as a critical catalyst for the recovery of the tourism sector and the overall economy, and has launched several initiatives to support this growth, enabling MICE planners to visualise their events with even more ambition in a post-pandemic era. 

Role of Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau 

Established in 2013, ADCEB is an integral part of DCT Abu Dhabi, with a mission to champion the UAE capital as a leading contender for international and regional events and an ideal event destination for planners and organisers. “ADCEB has driven and supported the development and promotion of business events throughout Abu Dhabi, in partnership with its many stakeholders. A ‘one-stop-shop’ for all business event planning requirements, ADCEB offers support such as tailored research and bid strategy advice to ensure destination competitiveness, the provision of destination promotional collaterals and the boosting of delegate numbers through the international offices of DCT Abu Dhabi,” informs Al Shamsi.

ADCEB coordinates with local partners, facilitates introductions to key Abu Dhabi stakeholders, secures support from prioritised industry sectors and tourism leaders, and acts as a government liaison. It can also source appropriate venues, offer public relations and marketing support to build awareness of business events held in the capital, and recommend unique activities as well as pre- and post-conference itineraries. “ADCEB’s Advantage Abu Dhabi initiative focusses on catalysing and seeding innovative and viable business events aligned to the Abu Dhabi Government’s 2030 Economic Vision. Supporting the MICE industry locally and regionally, ADCEB launched Abu Dhabi Business Events Week in 2021, a new annual event which aims to help to reboot the sector post-pandemic. This industry platform serves to connect event professionals from across the region, facilitating business development opportunities and encouraging the sharing of industry knowledge, best practices, and training,” shares Al Shamsi. 

Talking about how does Abu Dhabi compete with other leading MICE destinations, especially its neighbours, Al Shamsi says, “We have identified two main areas of focus for tourism in Abu Dhabi: leisure and MICE, both pivotal to our 2030 strategy. With Abu Dhabi’s unique culture, entertainment and MICE offerings, it is fast becoming a top choice for international and regional business events among planners and organisers. We consider MICE to be a key catalyst for advancing the recovery of the tourism sector and overall economy. The Advantage Abu Dhabi programme is one such endeavour developed by the ADCEB to support the growth of the MICE sector.”

Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi continues to implement its Green Pass protocol which requires delegates to events and visitors to public places to be fully vaccinated or carry a negative RT-PCR test report, wear face masks and maintain social distancing. “Our Go Safe certification programme is another key initiative, certifying hotels, venues and tourist attractions that follow strict hygiene and safety measures. Together with the successful vaccination programme, these measures have been crucial in demonstrating Abu Dhabi’s commitment to safety and responsible tourism,” he shares. 

Emerging trends in MICE market

Al Shamsi says their overall strategy has been developed to stimulate market demand, inspire stakeholder and private sector engagement, optimise marketing through targetted delivery and exert influence through excellence, leadership and cooperation. “Our objectives focus on strategic initiatives for the tourism and culture sectors which share a unified vision and the aspiration to boost visitor numbers, spending, and the average length of stay,” he informs, adding their end goal is to fulfill the vision of being an inspiring destination, one which offers cultural authenticity, highlighting the UAE’s traditional heritage and bringing in the best of global art, museums and music as well as diverse nature and outdoor activities, dynamic family-leisure entertainment, and ambitious MICE opportunities. 

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