How Abu Dhabi is building a global reputation for business events

UAE capital climbs up global rankings as a destination for business events, a year after setting up a $163m fund to enhance its portfolio

Abu Dhabi is climbing up the global rankings as a destination for business events, a year after the emirate set up a AED600 million ($163 million) fund to enhance its portfolio.

The Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau (ADCEB) has announced that the UAE capital has climbed business destination rankings compiled by two organisations.

Both the Union of International Associations (UIA), and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), have seen Abu Dhabi jump up their respective rankings.

Based on the UIA report, Abu Dhabi was ranked 22nd worldwide and sixth in Asia, in terms of destinations with the highest number of events. Compared to the preceding year, the emirate increased the number of hosted events by 68 percent in 2019.

Abu Dhabi climbed 41 places in ICCA’s rankings, which consider the total number of association conventions held in a destination along with the total number of delegates who attend in a given year.

The emirate had its strongest year yet in terms of the total number of delegates participating in conventions hosted in Abu Dhabi. The emirate was ranked 56th worldwide in terms of delegates by the ICCA.

“In 2019, we achieved yet another milestone in the business events industry,” said Mubarak Al Shamisi, director at Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau. “The new rankings are a true testament of the hard work and effort put into uplifting our destination’s profile within the business events sector.”

Last year, a AED600 million fund was launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) to enhance Abu Dhabi’s portfolio of world-class leisure and business events.

The new Mega Events Fund is part of the Ghadan 21 programme, which is working to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s economy.

At the time, it was announced that the fund will focus exclusively on the development of major entertainment and business activities and festivals in the emirate.

It also provides multi-purpose financing, including encouraging potential global entertainment partners to anchor leading entertainment content in Abu Dhabi, helping upscale and innovate existing best-in-class events in the UAE.

The new funded projects are expected to increase overseas visitation metrics and yield an expected economic impact of around AED1.6 billion.

In 2018, Abu Dhabi’s events calendar helped achieve a new record in terms of the number of visitors and hotel guests coming to the emirate, with more than 10 million international visitors arriving in Abu Dhabi and a 3.94 percent increase reported in the number of hotel guests compared to 2017.

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