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Abu Dhabi eyes top 50 in meeting rankings after breakthrough

Abu Dhabi has ambitions to rise through the ranks of the world's busiest global meetings destinations after it entered the top 100 for the first time.

Abu Dhabi has ambitions to rise through the ranks of the world's busiest global meetings destinations after it entered the top 100 for the first time.

The capital climbed 134 places to reach 100 in the International Congress and Convention Association's (ICCA) 2012 global city rankings, hosting 22 association meetings last year, compared with eight in 2011.

It means that Abu Dhabi now ranks alongside the likes of Atlanta in the United States and Perth in Australia, and above Las Vegas and Cologne in Germany.

But the city has a higher target in mind, according to Robin Miller, the sales director at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), which hosted about nine of the 22 association meetings last year.

"We have a clearly stated ambition with regards to the ICCA ranking, and that is to reach the top 50 in five years," he said.

Two cities that sat in joint 49th place in the rankings, Boston in the US and Warsaw in Poland, both hosted 46 meetings.

"If we were to reach that which we confidently say we will, we have to double the number of meetings.

"And that's not an insignificant task. If we wanted to be number one, which we do want to be number one, we would have to have 196 meetings."

Last year Adnec hosted the World Ophthalmology Congress, the largest convention held to date in Abu Dhabi with more than 10,000 delegates.

"Just seven months later Adnec also hosted the 18th World Routes Development Congress," said Jasem Al Darmaki, the deputy director general at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

"These headline events put Abu Dhabi firmly on the major conventions and congresses agenda and serve as case studies and proof positive of the city's ability to come together as one to ensure meetings success." This year Abu Dhabi has already hosted the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit and next month it will stage the Institute of Travel & Tourism's annual conference - both held at hotels in the capital.

"Although we consider ourselves the key venue in this city, one of the key drivers for business tourism, but any success in this field is borne out of partnerships," said Mr Miller.

"If you look at the top of the league table you have Vienna and Barcelona and such like.

"They are famous in the industry for partnerships," he added. Abu Dhabi was one of only two cities in the Arabian Gulf to make it to the top 100. Dubai ranked 60th with 38 meetings.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae

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