The Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau was launched yesterday at the National Exhibition Centre to promote the city as an events and conference hosting destination.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), which will oversee the bureau, is bidding to hold six events this year, including at least one focusing on tourism and one in the medical field.
The two events alone would bring an expected 5,000 visitors to the city.
TCA hopes to increase the number of events hosted to eight next year and 10 in 2015.
The economic impact of business events in the emirate is expected to grow by 7 per cent each year until 2020, according to TCA.
Business events poured Dh2.4 billion (US$653 million) into the Abu Dhabi economy in 2010, according to a study by TCA.
Nineteen per cent of those attending such events in the city that year were from outside the country. They spent Dh10,000 on average per event. In comparison, domestic business events travellers spent Dh640.
The emirate hosted 12 business conferences and exhibitions last year.
Having lower average hotel room rates than Dubai has helped Abu Dhabi attract business event travellers.
"We have the our most competitive room rates ever, which can be a deciding factor for major associations and business event organisers looking to secure a host destination, and our available hotel stock is now well suited to large events," said Jasem Al Darmaki, deputy director general of TCA Abu Dhabi.
TCA has identified 12 sectors, including tourism, medicine, aviation and manufacturing, in which it wants to promote Abu Dhabi.
Last year's World Ophthalmology Congress was attende by 12,000 people.
It brought in Dh80m to the emirate's economy.
"We want to host big events as well as small ones where 30 people attend," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, director of promotions and overseas offices at TCA.
The convention bureau would provide financial and non-financial incentives to the organisers of the events.
While TCA would not give the range of financial assistance, it said it would work with partners such as Etihad Airways and local hotels to assist the organisers.
Simon Mellor, senior vice president, Dmg::events Middle East, which organizes Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, said: "The value of a locally based convention bureau enables the organizers of these global programs a local connection from which to plan events. [They gain] a firsthand experience of the hotels, customs and culture, venues and entertainment, aiding their planning. Events of this nature often take years to secure, but the first step is to secure a local point of contact to meet and provide a firsthand point from which to explore the city and region. "