ABU DHABI // The thousands of visitors who have descended on the capital for Idex are expected to be a boost for tourism.
The exhibition creates aboost in hotel-occupancy levels and such events will generate Dh5.1 billion (US$1.4bn) in economic returns by 2020 a study commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority suggests.
"Exhibitions with global reach such as Idex and Navdex are the perfect platform for establishing sustainable relationships with international partners," said Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, director general the authority, in an interview with Al Ittihad, The National's Arabic-language sister newspaper.
"They are not restricted to their areas of specialisation either, because we are offering our city as a tourist destination to an important segment of visitors, whose recommendations and praise have significant credibility."
In addition, he said, many business event visitors returned with their families for longer holidays.
In 2010, Abu Dhabi hosted 500,000 business visitors who had an average expenditure of approximately Dh2,400 each.
The authority expects a fourfold increase in the number of visitors and overall economic returns in the next five years. By 2015, it wants Abu Dhabi to become a leading regional destination for conferences and meetings and to rank among the top 100 global destinations.
"We are looking to … increase our share of hotel rooms available at competitive prices with high economic value, as well as our modern events facilities," said Mr Al Muhairi. Studies have shown that business visitors and exhibitors look for low accommodation costs but are more liberal with expenditure on tours, restaurants and shopping, he said.