The financial district in Paris alone receives
over 22,000 visitors from the UAE each year
EU awaits surge in UAE corporate travellers
Dubai, March 4, 2014
Business destinations in the EU are now expecting an influx of business travellers from the UAE, after the European Parliament voted for Emiratis to be exempt from obtaining visas to visit any of the 25 Schengen countries last week.
“A further announcement will be made regarding the execution of the decision, but effectively this means Emiratis will be able to travel freely to 25 countries in the EU for periods of up to 90 days without a visa, said Lois Hall, exhibition manager of the Gulf Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Expo, (GIBTM) which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) from March 24 to 26.
After a similar decision by the UK to relax visa requirements for UAE nationals (online visa applications 48 hours in advance), the stage is set for a whole new chapter of business travel from the region, certainly if the scheme is extended to other Gulf nations.
Ready to benefit from the new ruling at this year’s GIBTM, is the European pavilion, which contains 19 companies and destinations, and is 66 per cent larger than last year.
France alone receives over 22,000 visitors from the UAE, each year, and according to an exclusive Ernst & Young report which is to be revealed at GIBTM, Paris is the most preferred destination for Middle Eastern business travellers. London comes in at number two and Frankfurt at number five.
The report also forecasts acceleration in business travel, both inbound, and outbound from the Middle East region.
“Over 66 per cent of the world’s population lies within an eight hour flight of UAE, giving the region unparalleled leverage to become the future global hub for business travelers,” said Hall.
“Indeed Middle Eastern carriers already share 7 per cent of the global market which the Airbus Global Market Forecast 2013 estimates will grow to 11 per cent by 2031, an annual growth rate of 7.3 per cent, higher by 2 per cent than any other geographical region in the world.”
But it’s not just the UK and the EU looking for a greater share of the regional MICE market. The Asia pavilion at the show this year includes Thailand and Korea who are also looking at attracting the lucrative Middle East outbound business.
These trends and much more will be presented at the GIBTM seminar sessions which will include Business Travel in the Middle East and ‘The habits of Middle Eastern business travelers’, based on research conducted by, international professional services firm, Ernst and Young.
The sessions will also included the launch of the Middle East MICE Buyers Report’ where Rob Davidson of the University of Greenwich in London will present the results of the Middle Eastern meeting planners' site selection survey.
This year’s GIBTM will accommodate 300 exhibitors from 35 countries including up to 300 influential Hosted Buyers that will attend the event, with 8,500 pre-scheduled appointments.
New initiatives for GIBTM 2014 include the Business Travel @GIBTM, a full day of networking for the business travel industry, with attendees invited to participate in the Corporate Travel Networking session, Corporate Travel Conference Programme and GIBTM Knowledge Hub Seminars, as well as the GIBTM Official Networking Reception. – TradeArabia News Service