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Curtis has highlighted what to expect from the MENA region’s MICE industry Curtis has highlighted what to expect from the MENA region’s MICE industry

The Middle East MICE Industry: Outlook on Future Trends and Technology

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director Middle East, IBTM Arabia, Reed Travel Exhibitions, has highlighted some of the characteristics, requirements and dynamics of the newly-emerging Middle East and North Africa (MENA) MICE industry.

According to Curtis, the area represents a young market, with a transient and moving population, where there is high demand for education and learning products.

She notes the online learning environment is a big seller, but the culture is very much about personal relationships, meaning face to face interaction is important for business.

She also makes note of new regions opening up for MICE business.

As mentioned by Curtis, Saudi Arabia is experiencing sweeping change across all aspects of life from entertainment to the economy and a major part of the country’s strategy is to become a powerhouse in meetings and events.

She notes the country is investing in road, rail and air infrastructure and will open over 50 new four and five-star hotels in the next four years, creating 11,000 bedrooms and that state-of-the-art event facilities are also on the way.

Growth in business tourism in Morocco, meanwhile, has been supported by the development of several economic clusters, including Casa Nearshore for ICT, Midpark for aeronautics and Casablanca Finance City for capital markets, Curtis also underlined.

According to Curtis, these developments have helped maintain a healthy demand for increases in hotel capacity.

Additionally, in light of Casablanca’s shortage of large-scale event facilities, the city has been making substantial investments to grow its attractiveness as a MICE destination in recent years.

Those listed by Curtis include a new 3,500-seat congress centre has been built on the city’s marina and an 1,800-seat event room forms part of Casablanca’s first opera house - the newly opened CasArts Theatre Complex.

She also notes that, in Dubai, the 20,000 capacity Dubai Arena will open in 2019 and will be the largest of its kind in the region.

A multi-purpose arena spanning half a million square feet, this new space will greatly enhance Dubai’s leisure and entertainment offering, Curtis suggests.

The state-of-the-art venue is also anticipated to make the most of the latest advancements in venue design and will feature automated malleable seats, allowing it to transform depending on the size of event, she notes.