In the business travel market, the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector has, since 2009, grown much faster than traditional business travel. The key reason, according to an International Tourism Bourse (ITB) World Travel Trends Report, is substantial cuts in corporate travel spending.
“Over the first eight months of 2013, the MICE segment grew by six per cent while traditional business travel shrank by 10 per cent, the World Travel Monitor showed. The MICE segment now accounts for 54 per cent of the total business travel market. Within the MICE segment, incentives (+61 per cent), conventions (+44 per cent) and conferences (+27 per cent) have all grown strongly since 2009 on a cumulative basis while traditional company trips have declined by 10 per cent,” states the December 2013 ITB report.
The upswing in the sector has led organisers of The Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) taking place from March 24 to 26, to create a new initiative known as Business Travel @GIBTM. Designed to bring together the business travel community on one dedicated day, the focus is on corporate travel and a business travel knowledge programme, which features networking sessions, a regional trends report and panel discussions with industry leaders.
GIBTM is held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) and organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions, which this year has 300 Middle Eastern and international hosted buyers attending (there were 251 hosted buyers in 2013).