Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brief introduction to Destination Marketing

fig 1: tourism campaign of the  Israeli government (source: nigelparry.com)                                          

In the past few months the author has written extensively on “Business tourism”. Today he will attempt to write on another important part of tourism sector namely “Destination Marketing”, considered as the essence of any form of tourism industry. Destination Marketing is all about enhancing the image of a tourist destination which will result into increase in number of visitors and revenue. In today’s world tourism is one of the biggest industries all across the globe, both in terms of employment generation as well as output. Hence almost all the 250 nations across the globe are fighting strong with each other for getting the higher share of the pie. Hence in order to be successful it is essential that the destination must be having a strong as well unique positioning. Destination marketing is an integrated and long term approach dealing with the marketing and brand building of an individual tourist destination. There are various kinds of tourism such as, leisure, sports, life style, cultural, business etc and a wide range of products offered under any kind, but in order to make them successful it is very essential that the destination itself should be holding a strong brand perception among the various tourist communities. The brand image of the destination is the focal point of the “tourism industry”. In the recent time places like, Shanghai, Dubai, Barcelona, Auckland etc are considered as Destination Marketing success stories. (Julie Vardhan, 2008)

There are five main reference points in destination marketing (Julie Vardhan, 2008)

Tourists: - tourists are the fundamental element of any destination marketing plan. The tourist factor basically includes the desires of tourists such as fun, excitement, comfort, safety, self actualization etc and needs such as safety , comfort etc.

Tourist destination: - includes all the, excitements, events, avenues and places a tourist destination offers. Consists of both unique as well as complementary services offered by a destination.

Tourism service providers- There is a wide range of organizations working across the industry that provide various products and services to the tourists. These include hotels, resorts, airline companies, logistic companies, public and private transport, tour planners etc.

Citizen: - Ultimately one very important stakeholder of the overall tourist industry is the citizens. Citizens are the ultimate beneficiary of the economic gains made; similarly they are also the ones which are mostly affected by the side effects of tourism such as ecological imbalance. More over they provide the social factor such as warmth and friendliness  needed for the success of the industry. Tourism programs cannot be made successful until unless the citizens do not work as self appointed champions of the cause.

Public private interest coordinator- There is various kinds of public and private stakeholders involved in the tourism industry. For the success of the overall industry it’s essential that there should be proper coordination between all the stakeholders and at the same time their individual interests should be taken care of. Public private interest coordinators take care of this.

Positioning of a tourist destination

Positioning plays a very important role in Destination Marketing. It attempts to provide a unique image for a tourist destination and helps it differentiate from the rest. Often done after customer segmentation and targeting it is based on a unique brand communication strategy. For exp Dubai is positioned as a destination with grandiose and splendor where as Spain as destination full of fun and excitement. A destination positioning strategy has both tangibles as well intangibles. The wide range of products which a place offers such as, hotels, beaches, mountains, safaris, spas etc are tangibles and are needed to sell a destination, but based on them a destination cannot be marketed. Marketing can be done with the help of the uniqueness of experience which these places can offer, the fun and excitement which is associated with them. These are basically intangibles. (Harsha E. Chacko)

Development of an effective Destination Marketing plan: -

A successful destination marketing plan consists of following four steps: situational analysis, development of strategies, implementation of strategies and finally evaluation of strategies. (Vicki L Olton)

Situational analysis: - is the  understanding of the overall situation of the destination with the help of various strategic frameworks. This step basically includes a wide range of research activities consisting of product, position and prospect analysis. Product analysis includes studying all the offerings which a destination has to offer and what all strengths and weakness are associated with them? It includes analyzing of the overall environment in a destination including, infrastructure, socio-political factors and places to visit. This is followed by positional analysis which includes analyzing the present position of the destination with respect to the competition as well as the way it’s being perceived by the various tourist communities. The next stage is the prospect analysis which includes studying the behavior of various customer segments and based on the situation, selecting the primary target segment. Finally based on the given three analyses, SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis for the destination is done. To have a better overall analysis of the tourist destination, other strategic frame works such as PESTEL (political, economical, social, technological, environmental and legal) can be used.

Strategy development: - once the target customer is decided, based on its profile a new positioning strategy can be worked out or some modifications can be made in the existing one. This is followed by developing strategies for, right products to satisfy the needs of the target market, right distribution channel such as travel agents, tour operators, web portals, meeting planners etc, and the desired positioning and communication strategy

Implementation of the strategy: Once the strategies have been developed it has to be implemented with efficiency and within the time bounds.

Evaluation: after implementation the final stage is the proper evaluation of the plan, and based on the evaluation making changes, if required.


1> Julie V, 2008, Conference on tourism in India: challenge ahead,p-247, available at < http://dspace.iimk.ac.in/bitstream/2259/563/1/247-251+Julie+Vardhan.pdf >

2> Julie V, 2008, Conference on tourism in India: challenge ahead, p-249, available at < http://dspace.iimk.ac.in/bitstream/2259/563/1/247-251+Julie+Vardhan.pdf >

3> Harsha E, positioning a tourism destination to gain competitive edge, hotel-online.com, available at <  http://www.hotel-online.com/Trends/AsiaPacificJournal/PositionDestination.html >

4> Vicki L, How to develop an effective destination marketing plan, Kopphra.com, available at < http://www.kropphra.com/article/how-to-develop-an-effective-destination-marketing-plan >

Friday, February 18, 2011

Qatar: past, present and future strategy

fig 1 : 2022 world cup logo (source: 2022qatarworldcup.info)                                        

In the midst of the global economic slowdown when most of the developing nations in the world recorded slow to substandard growth rate, there was one country that stood out from the rest  and this was Qatar , a tiny state in the Persian gulf. Blessed with huge amounts of oil and gas reserves , Qatar’s GDP is continuously growing with a double digit growth rate. With a GDP growth rate of 12% ,this 132 Billion US Dollar economy is the second fastest growing economy in the world after Ghana (Karvy private wealth, 2011). After analyzing the growth story of Dubai in the previous blog, the author will now attempt to analyze the same for this another success saga from the gulf.

The growth story so far

•  Petroleum and oil reserves:- So far the Qatar’s success story had been driven by its oil and natural gas reserves. Petroleum products contribute half of the Qatar’s GDP, 70% of its govt. revenue and 85% of its export (Jarred Cummans, 2010). According to Oil and Gas journal ,Qatar has a proven oil reserve of some 25.4 Billion barrels. It’s the sixteenth largest crude oil exporter in the world.,also an active member of international organizations like OPEC and GCC. It started exporting natural gas in 1997 only, natural gas today plays much more important role in Qatar’s economy than petroleum. Qatar is the third largest exporter of natural gas next to Russia and Iran. With an estimated reserve of 896 Trillion cubic feet it has 14% of the world’s natural gas reserves. A large chunk of oil export goes to Asian economies, Japan followed by South Korea are the largest importers. (eia.doe.gov, 2011) Most of the oil and natural gas reserves are operated by Qatar Petroleum, the national oil company of Qatar, established in 1974 controlling all the aspects of oil industry in the state. Some of the offshore fields are also operated by foreign countries under PSA (profit sharing screen). Oil was discovered for the first time in 1940, at that time the average production  was 5000 barrels a day (today it  is almost a Million barrel a day) . Qatar started exporting oil in 1952. After getting independence in 1971 the entire oil reserves came under the control of the local governing authorities and in the same year North fields, single largest field for non associated gas was discovered which marked a new beginning for oil and gas industry in Qatar. Subsequently factories were established to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG); Qatar Gas Company was established in 84 to export 6 million tons of LNG to Japan, followed by Ras Laffan with an annual capacity of 10 Million tons In 93. Pipelines were established to pump gas to Turkey, Pakistan etc. (Qatarembassy.net)

Al Jazeera:- Though petroleum had played a very important role in shaping up the success story of Qatar, there had been many other considerable achievements in the past few decades. One of them had been the establishment of “Al Jazeera” which was established in 1996 with the help of a financial aid of 137 Million US dollars from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. The media agency owned by Qatar Media Corporation, had been started as an Arabic news channel for the Middle East region but later on  expanded into various, regions and languages. The news channel had been lauded for its media activism, high degree of transparency and independence. The news channel had played a very important role in promoting and reflecting the Arab viewpoints on major international issues, and influencing other media channels in the region for adopting transparency and freedom.

Marketing itself as a brand-  it is another area where Qatar had got some considerable success. Like Dubai, Doha had been marketed as a great place to do business. Doha had hosted some major sports events like Asian games 2006 and every year since 1993 is hosting Qatar Open/ Qatar ExxonMobil Open which had been attended by top notch players like Rafael Nadal, Roger Fedrer, Andy Murray and Boris Becker etc. Doha had unsuccessfully bid for Summer Olympics 2016 and had won the bid for conducting football world cup 2022. In November 2001 it hosted the ministerial level meeting between WTO members regarding trade negotiations. The meeting is famously known as Doha Development round. Other important events that showcase the passion and zest of residents of Doha along with its splendour  are Qatar Masters golf, Doha cultural festival and Qatar masters golf etc.

Social and political Reform

The govt. apparatus at Qatar is comparatively liberal and forward looking. The current ruler Sheikh Hamad had taken some steps for political reform after coming to power in 1995. These reform majors can be considered as a step forward for a region where the institutions of democracy and civil liberty are still in its inception phase. Other social reforms include granting permission to religious minorities such as Christians, Buddhists and Hindus for public worship. Similarly some concrete reforms have been made in the economic sphere as well. One of such reform is opening up the mobile telecommunication market. In March 2009 Vodafone was allowed entering the lucrative market which had so far been the monopoly of the state run QTel. Though 100% ownership is not allowed for foreign investors but sectors like education, tourism and agriculture had been exempted from the clause. (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2009)

The way ahead

Qatar seems to have a very strong way ahead. Abundant gas reserves, efficient and visionary government and a strong social infrastructure will design the further growth trajectory for Qatar.

Social infrastructure: - thanks to the efficient usage of the oil revenue for various welfare and development schemes, Qatar had got a very strong social infrastructure that will provide supporting pillars to the country’s future ambitions. It has a, literacy rate of 89% which is one of the highest in the region, high life expectancy of 76 and ranks 33 out of 182 nations in the Human Development Index. The govt. wants to transform Qatar from a petroleum based economy to a knowledge based economy. It had formed the education city outside Doha which is home to six leading US universities. Another remarkable fact is that 70% of the students in these universities are female. (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2009)

• Qatar has huge gas reserves which will ensure uninterrupted supply of capital for various developmental activities in the coming years.

• Tourism industry in Qatar is growing at an annual rate of 6%. A large part of the tourism revenue comes from the business tourism segment. In 2010 some 180 MICE (meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions) events were scheduled in Doha. (Technicalreviewmiddleeast.com, 2010) New 4 star and 5-star hotels are expanding their operations in Doha. Qatar has presently 66 hotels where as by 2011, 45 new hotels and hotel apartments are expected to be built. (DininginDoha.com, 2011) Other than business tourism Doha also has some great avenues for sports, leisure and lifestyle tourism. Opening up of the Doha international airport, completion of metro lines in the next five years and inauguration of Doha international convention bureau in 2012 will give further boost to the tourism industry in Qatar.

• Qatar is emerging as a new destination for intercontinental travel, thanks to the geographical location which is strategically placed between East and the West and North and the South, coupled with a very efficient state run airline, Qatar airways.

• Qatar has won the bid for conducting 2022 Football World cup. As a part of its preparation it is investing hugely in infrastructure as well as other tourism facilities. It had accelerated its 100 Billion US dollar infrastructure expansion plan. It is going to construct 12 new state of the art football stadiums, along with 80,000 new hotel rooms. It is also going to invest 20 billion US Dollars in road improvement program where as 25 Billion US Dollars in a railway project. Organizing the most famous sporting event will not only boost “Brand Qatar” / “Brand Doha” but will also be beneficial for the real estate and tourism sector of the whole Middle East region. Before Qatar winning the bid, it was predicted that by 2020 the total number of tourist visiting Middle East will increase to 67 Million from 36 Million at present. But after Qatar winning the bid this number will surely rise up further. (worldfootballinsider.com, 2011)

Qatar which has the second highest per capita income and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world seems to have a bright future ahead. Huge amount of petroleum and natural gas reserves along with the diversification of the economy into various sectors such as education, tourism and real estate will give a huge boost to the overall economy. But there are still few areas of concern that might be  detrimental to an emerging Middle Eastern economy like Qatar in achieving its full potential.

Qatar has following areas of concern that has to be contained. These are:-

• Qatar is still very slow in implementing economic reforms. It needs to speed up the process its process of economic liberalization.

• Qatar is still far away from the modern principals of democracy and social activism. Thanks to its high per capita income, today there hardly seems any concern for such things among the Qatari population. But in the light of the latest uprisings in neighboring countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain such state of political turmoil cannot be discounted.

• Gender inequality is still very high in Qatar. Out of 130 countries it holds 119th rank in terms of gender equality. (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2009)

• Like Dubai, Doha also markets itself as a great place to do business. Though at paper it appears to be as exciting as Dubai, it surely lacks the cultural platform which Dubai has. Dubai is the most cosmopolitan and liberal place in the Middle East where business men, professionals and tourists from all around the world  visit , mingle and grow. This kind of charm is missing in Doha which is at many times, deterrent for many young talents. “Brand Doha” still needs a long way to go in order to catch up with “Brand Dubai”.

• Due to ongoing infrastructure projects and economic expansion plans Qatar is witnessing constant inflow of expatriates. This is increasing the cost of living at Qatar. Today Doha, 49th costliest city in the world according to one report, can be considered as the second most costly city in Middle East after Abu Dhabi. (Xpatulater.com, 2011)

• Even though the governing authorities at Qatar are trying to showcase political acumen and challenging the traditional thinking by, building ties with various nations such as Israel and USA etc, showing some degree of secular credentials and bringing some degree of liberty such as allowing liquor in some of the selected restaurants, nonetheless there are religious cum cultural circles which are not open to such changes and are opposing it.

• Besides one car bomb attack in 2005 there had hardly been any case of terrorist attack on the western populace leaving in Doha, nonetheless Qatar is rated high on the transnational terrorism ( on a scale ranging from low to critical ) due to general nature of the region. (Consider Qatar)


1> Karvy private wealth, 2011, the world’s fastest growing economies, available at < http://karvywealth.blogspot.com/2011/01/worlds-fastest-growing-economies.html 

2> Jarred C, 2010, ETFs to Invest in the World’s Fastest Growing Economy, Qatar, available at < http://seekingalpha.com/article/216178-etfs-to-invest-in-the-worlds-fastest-growing-economy-qatar >

3> Eia.doe.gov, 2011, country analysis briefs: Qatar, available at <  ttp://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/Qatar/pdf.  >

4> Qatarembassy.net, History of oil discovery, available at < http://www.qatarembassy.net/oil_history.asp >

5> Bertelsmann S., 2009, BTI 2010- Qatar country report, p-2 to 4, available at < http://www.bertelsmann-transformation-index.de/fileadmin/pdf/Gutachten_BTI2010/MENA/Qatar.pdf >

6> Bertelsmann S., 2009, BTI 2010- Qatar country report, p-2 to 4, available at < http://www.bertelsmann-transformation-index.de/fileadmin/pdf/Gutachten_BTI2010/MENA/Qatar.pdf >

7> Technicalreviewmiddleeast.com, 2010, Qatar’s tourism sector set for main revenue growth, available at < http://www.technicalreviewmiddleeast.com/news-a-development/business-a-management/160-qatars-tourism-sector-set-for-main-revenue-growth.html >

8> DininginDoha.com, 2011, investment pouring in Qatar’s hotel industry: QTA chief, available at < http://www.diningindoha.com/news-view.php?id=73 >

9> Worldfootballinsider.com, 2011, Qatar 2022 world cup to boost tourism sector, available at < http://www.worldfootballinsider.com/Story.aspx?id=34141 >

10> Bertelsmann S., 2009, BTI 2010- Qatar country report, p-14, available at < http://www.bertelsmann-transformation-index.de/fileadmin/pdf/Gutachten_BTI2010/MENA/Qatar.pdf >

11 > Xpatulater.com ,2011, International cost of living ranking, available at < http://www.xpatulator.com/outside.cfm?aid=240 >

12 > Consider Qatar, Business conditions in Qatar, p-3, available at < http://www.export.gov/middleeast/country_information/qatar/ConsiderQatarGuide.pdf >

Friday, February 11, 2011

Analysis of airline industry of Middle East

  fig 1:Qatar Airways Flight Stewardess  (source: mynetbizz.com)                                                                        

Airline industry across the globe is facing the sharp pinch of rising petroleum price along with global economic downturn. In spite of this Middle East's airline industry has shown tremendous growth  in the past few years and the Middle East's airline industry is poised for strong growth in the coming time. The leading airlines in the region which is marked by both luxury as well as low cost carriers are Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Middle East Airlines (national carrier of Lebanon), Royal Jordanian Airways, Air Arabia, Oman Airways ,Gulf Air etc. According to recent reports by IATA (International air traffic association) Middle East along with North Africa is the fastest growing region in the world for air traffic with capacity increasing by 13.2% in the 1st seven months of 2010. (albawaba.com, 2010) The following blog will do a detailed analysis consisting of the recent trends, way ahead , areas of concerns and recommendations for the airline industry in the region.

Current situation (Embrarercomercialjets.com, 2011) $:-

• The region has an overall real GDP of 1.1 Trillion and population of 1.96 Million (Both factors play important role in deciding volume and profitability of air travel)

• The passenger demand: 278 Billion RPK (revenue passenger kilometers) in 2009. #

• Total passengers: 72 Million.

• Total size of the fleet: 665

• Number of local airlines: 38

• Number of airports: 112

• Region’s three intercontinental hub:- Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi

• In 2009 the international demand in service showed a positive growth of 11% compared to 2008. Latin America with a growth of 0.3% was the only other region that showed positive growth.

• Airlines in Middle East have also benefitted from capacity cut done by some European airlines.

• Emirate Airways is still the leading and the most profitable airline in the region followed by Etihad and Qatar Airways. Though both of them are yet to break even. In the last year’s Paris show all the leading airlines from the region that is, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar airways and gulf air had purchased new aircrafts there by indicating further expansion plans on their part.

Favorable factors for the airline industry in Middle East region:-

• Some places like Dubai, Doha, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait in the region had shown unprecedented growth in the past two decades.

• The region is rich in oil resources required as fuel for  airplanes.

• Middle East is strategically located at the cross roads of West and East, North and South. This makes it a suitable location for intercontinental travel.

• The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) comprising of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain etc have huge expatriate population. This gives a great boost to the airline business in the region.

• It is home to one of the youngest population in the world with average age ranging from 17 to 31 for most of the countries. (embraercommercialjets.com)

• All sorts of tourism such as leisure, business and cultural tourism are growing very fast in the region. Dubai is considered as one of the top 10 destinations in the world where as various other places like Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Kuwait, Jordan etc are catching up very fast.

The way ahead for Middle East:-

• Airline travel industry is poised for a strong growth in the Middle East region. According to Airbus between now and 2023 airlines in Middle East and North Africa will be buying 1000 new aircrafts worth 124 Billion US Dollars. (Aviation business, 2010)

• Embraer expects the RPK of the region will increase by 8.0% in the next 10 years and 6.5% over the next 20 years. It also predicts between 1795 airplanes consisting of 1735 jets and 60 turboprops will be purchased over the next 20 years. (Embrarercomercialjets.com, 2011)

• The region is expected to handle 400 Million passengers by 2020. In order to handle such a huge volume of passengers the region is planning to invest 90 Billion US Dollars in airports expansion projects. (Dubaiinformer.com, 2011)

• Economic growth, expatriate workers, young average age of the population, growing tourism sector will be some of the driving force for the airline industry in the region.

Areas of concern (Tim Clarke, 2010)

• The airline industry in the region is highly regulated. Most of the airlines are large state run airlines and hence many states are unwilling to open the market there by hampering efficiency.

• 80% of the flying zones in Middle East are restricted for military use there by leading to lot of non fly zones in the region.

• Intra region trade is very low at 10% compared to 40% and 50% in Asia and Europe respectively.

Recommendation (Tim Clarke, 2010)

• Rationalization of routes which will reduce unnecessary diversion thereby saving time and money.

• More liberalization and deregulation of the market which will result in ,easier investment and access to the market.

• Regional cooperation in routing and air traffic can increase the efficiency of airline industry in the region by many percentage points.

• Opening up the airline market to bigger competition along with rationalization of air traffic will compliment investments made in fleets and airports expansion projects.

$ the given data are for the year 2009

# According to moneytermsuk.com Revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) is a measure of the volume of passengers carried by an airline .A revenue passenger-kilometre is flown when a revenue passenger is carried one kilometre.


1> Albawaba.com, 2010, MENA Region Is Fastest Growing Region For Air Traffic In The World With 13.2% Increase In Capacity, available at < http://www1.albawaba.com/transport/mena-region-fastest-growing-region-air-traffic-world-132-increase-capacity&gt ;
2> Embraercomercialjets.com, 2011, Market outlook 2010-2029, P-35, available at http://www.embraercommercialjets.com/img/download/248. pdf
3> Embraercomercialjets.com, 2011, Market outlook 2010-2029, P-35, available at http://www.embraercommercialjets.com/img/download/248. pdf
4> Aviation business, 2010, media pack.
5> Embraercomercialjets.com, 2011, Market outlook 2010-2029, P:-35-36, available at http://www.embraercommercialjets.com/img/download/248. pdf
6> Dubaiinformer.com, 2011, Middle East to invest $90b on airports, expansion, available at < http://dubaiinformer.com/15224/middle-east-to-invest-90b-on-airports-expansion/&gt ;
7> Tim C, 2011, Opportunity knocking for Middle East liberalization, Open sky part 8, Available at < http://www.emirates.com/english/images/Issue%208%20-%20OpenSky%20October_tcm233-612121. pdf>
8> Tim C, 2011, Opportunity knocking for Middle East liberalization, Open sky part 8, Available at < http://www.emirates.com/english/images/Issue%208%20-%20OpenSky%20October_tcm233-612121. pdf>

Brief introduction to International Congress and Convention Association( ICCA)

                                                fig:- logo of ICCA( www.iccaworld.com)

MICE (meeting, incentive travel, conferences and exhibition) industry has taken a huge shape these days. In today’s globalized world it is a very important constituent of the tourism and travel industry. It is estimated that with an almost 400,000 events a year its annual turnover is around 280 billion US dollars. Now today in the given blog the author attempts to give a brief introduction to an organization which had played a very important role in the overall development of the MICE industry. Known as ICCA that is international Congress and Convention  association it brings together all the players which are into organization of business events and taking care of related activities like transportation and accommodation. It comprises of around 900 players from 86 countries and mainly includes players like PCOs (professional conference organizers), Convention centers, hotels, meeting planners, airlines, logistic companies, resorts etc. (ICCA, 2010) It was founded in 1963 and is head quartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In ICCA member companies are divided into chapters and sectors. All the companies coming  under a specific type of business come under one specific sector where as companies coming  from a  particular geographical area comes under one chapter. The reason of dividing members into chapters and sectors ensure better interfacing, networking and sharing of knowledge between members with commonalities.

There are following sectors #:-

Destination marketing: - this includes organizations and bureaus which are into marketing & promotion of a city, or a part of country.

Meetings management:- companies which are into managing  meetings.

Meetings support: - Companies that provide support functions in a meeting.

Transport: - Airlines

Venues: - includes convention centers, hotels with meeting rooms, exhibition halls, resorts etc.

There are following chapters: -

African chapter

Asia pacific chapter

Central European chapter

France-BeneLux chapter

Iberian chapter: - member countries are Spain and Portugal. It was established in 90s and in every two years the chairmanship rotates between the two countries. (ICCA Iberian chapter website, 2010)

Mediterranean chapter: - the chapter is composed of ICCA members who are registered in Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, South-East France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, and Turkey. (ICCA Mediterranean chapter, 2010)

Middle Eastern chapter: - member countries include Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, Syria, Jordan, and Kuwait. Member organizations include Qatar expo, ADNEC, Dubai world trade center, Abu Dhabi tourism authority, IHG, MPI, Dubai national convention center etc. ( ICCA Middle Eastern Chapter, 2010)

Scandinavian chapter

North American chapter: - member countries include Canada, USA, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico.

UK/ Ireland chapter: - members include UK and Ireland. There are presently 70 member companies coming from various areas of conference management such as venues, meeting management, airlines, accommodation etc. Every year once in winter and once in summer it conducts a well attended exciting debate for its members. ( ICCA UK/Ireland chapter, 2010)

Latin American

Rules and regulations for Chapter formation (ICCA Mediterranean chapter, 2010): -

• Every member can be a part of one chapter only and it happens automatically depending upon the geographical region.

• Under some particular circumstances one country might be part of more than one chapter. In this case it is the choice of the individual member to join which chapter it wants to join.

• Generally separate chapter membership fee are not charged on existing members.

• A group of members from a geographical area might request ICCA board for the formation of new chapter. Board will review the issue and based on the activities of existing chapters  and the views of the requesting members will take decision.

• If majority of the member of a chapter wants to dissolve the chapter then the chapter will dissolved.

ICCA provides a wide range of products and services to its member organizations. Many of the services and products are sector and chapter specific where as some are general in nature. The following part of the blog will give a brief idea on the kinds of products and services ICCA provides (ICCA website, 2010):-

• Wide range of well documented databases.

• Market intelligence reports based on frequent online surveys conducted by ICCA among meeting planners and ICCA members on international meetings.

• Statistical analysis: - Every year it comes up with two reports giving a comprehensive idea of the international meeting industry statistics.

• Takes care of the advertising, branding and PR of its members.

• Each year it prepares city and country rankings for the best business tourism destination. This ranking is valued highly in the industry circles. Members get the 1st access to this.

• ICCA destination comparison report which helps in comparing the meeting statistics of any five destinations over the last 10 years. This helps a lot in getting background information for a destination.

• A comprehensive directory which has the name, destination, products, services, contact details and addresses of all the ICCA members. This directory is circulated to 3500 associations and meeting planners all around the world responsible for conducting meetings. Thus it brings its members in the eyes of a wide range of potential customers.

• Educational programs are conducted for fellow members.

Other than these regular benefits in the form of excellent products the biggest benefit associated with ICCA is the unique networking and interfacing opportunity which it provides to its fellow members. Since most of the members are senior executive form various organizations across the globe it provides a very unique and excellent networking opportunity for its members.

For further knowledge on ICCA the organization website can be visited. Here goes the link:-

(Note: - # In the chapter’s section description has been provided for only those chapters which have their separate websites.)


1> ICCA, 2010, home page, accessed on January 2011, available at < http://www.iccaworld.com/>

2> ICCA Iberian chapter website, 2010, homepage, accessed on Jan 2011, available at < http://www.iccaworld.com/dbs/iberia/>

3> ICCA Mediterranean Chapter website, 2010, Home page, accessed on Jan 2011, available at < http://www.iccaworld.com/dbs/mediterranean/index.cfm>

4> ICCA Middle Eastern Chapter website, 2010, homepage, accessed on Jan 2011, available at < http://www.iccame.org/>

5> ICCA Mediterranean Chapter website, 2010, Chapter guidelines and objectives, accessed on Jan 2011, available at < http://www.iccaworld.com/dbs/mediterranean/dyncat.cfm?catid=1088>

6> ICCA, 2010, ICCA benefits, accessed on Jan 2011, available at < http://www.iccaworld.com/cdps/benefits.cfm>

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Analysis of MICE Industry in Abu Dhabi

                                                Source: Manchester City webpage                                       

In the past few blogs the author has analyzed the rapid emergence of Middle East  as a favorable destination for MICE (meetings, incentive travel, conferences, exhibitions) related activities. One of the state that is making huge strides in developing itself as a word class destination for business tourism is Abu Dhabi. In the past few years it had conducted some world class events like World green tourism congress, World health care congress Middle East, Formula 1 grand prix, Red bull race, Rally Abu Dhabi to name a few and is considered as second best MICE destination in Middle East next to Dubai(HotelierMidddleEast.com, 2010) . Travel websites like lonely planets and Frommers have voted Abu Dhabi among top 10 business destinations in the world (HotelierMidddleEast.com, 2010). In the following blog the author will attempt to do a detailed SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and weakness) analysis for the MICE industry of Abu Dhabi.


Infrastructure:- Abu Dhabi has got a very strong infrastructure to support its blooming MICE industry. It has got state of the art convention centers, hotels, airlines and logistic facilities. At the fore front of conducting business events in Abu Dhabi is the ADNEC (Abu Dhabi national exhibition center). Established in 2007 it has a total area of 73000 SQ Meter with sitting capacity of 6000 and additional standing capacity of 8000, it is the biggest convention center in UAE. In 2008 in conducted 73 (with 1.5 million visitors) events where as in 2009 it conducted 119 events (ADNEC website, 2010). Other than ADNEC hotels like Emirate palace and YAS hotel have built their own facilities to conduct business events. Emirates palace have auditorium and a ball room with a capacity of 1100 and 2400 respectively. (Rebecca B, 2009)

Govt. authorities: - none of the business can take off in a nation until unless the govt. authorities are not serious enough. Fortunately one of the biggest strength of the MICE industry of Abu Dhabi is the extremely pro active govt. authorities. MICE activities are at the top of the Socio-Economic agenda of the govt. of UAE/ Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi tourism authority (ADTA) is investing hugely both in infrastructure as well as marketing to project Abu Dhabi as a world class tourist destination. Some of the major steps taken by ADTA are as follows: -

a) It came up with “ Advantage Abu Dhabi” campaign which is basically a venture capitalist kind of apparatus that provides financial as well as non financial support to various meeting planners and professional conference organizers( PCOs) in organizing meetings and business events in Abu Dhabi across 12 strategic sectors which include petrochemicals, aviation, education, transportation, logistic, media , financial services etc. (abudhabitourism website, 2009)

b) In 2007 in order to boost MICE business ADTA formed a MICE advisory committee which consisted of players from various related industries such as convention centers, hotels, tourism development and aviation etc. This industry advisory committee will provide a common platform for various players to communicate with each other and work for better infrastructure development, product development, bid opportunities etc. (ameinfo.com, 2009)

c) ADTA is taking strong initiatives to market Abu Dhabi across the world. Deals are signed with various countries, offices are opened across the globe and marketing campaigns are conducted at various parts of the world.

• Abu Dhabi is among the major petroleum producers of the world. This gives it a natural advantage in conducting meetings and events related to the petroleum industry. On the fore front of  oil and gas exhibitions is Abu Dhabi international petroleum exhibition center (ADIPEC).

• Other than convention centers and hotels Abu Dhabi has a wide ranges of places to visit which includes state of the art malls, shopping centers of leading international fashion brands, golf courses, clubs, spas, restaurants, mosques etc.

• Clean environment, crime free society and a stable political system.


• Like its cousin state Dubai, Abu Dhabi is also very expensive. In the latest “Mercers costliest cities of the world list” it holds 50th position where as previous year it was having 26th position.

• Abu Dhabi lacks moderately priced economical accommodations. It has some of the best luxury hotels in the world but lacks  3star/ 4 star hotels often preferred by many business travelers. Though recently it is coming up with such decently priced accommodations such as the Aloft hotel at ADNEC, Holiday Inn, and other 3star/4star hotels on YAS islands. (Rebecca B, 2009)


GIBTM: - GIBTM or Gulf incentive business travel and meeting exhibition is the part of five 5-star exhibitions conducted for the meeting industry across the globe by “Reed International Exhibition”. Conducted every year at ADNEC Abu Dhabi it provides a strong platform for the various buyers and sellers of MICE industry to interact with each other and discuss business. It helps in showcasing the strength of Abu Dhabi’s MICE industry to the whole world. Such events are bringing as well as will be bringing much more businesses in the nearby future.

• Abu Dhabi has made as well as making huge investments in various sorts of tourism such as sports tourism, leisure tourism and cultural tourism. It is building a cultural district with in the Sadiyat Island, which once completed will be the biggest cultural center in the world. Very recently it had successfully conducted the formula one grand prix. [According to one of the govt. official it had a plan to invest 230 Billion US dollars in tourism sector in the next five years. (guide2dubai.com, 2011) ]Hence it seems various alternate forms of tourism at Abu Dhabi have a very bright future. This will surely have a positive impact on the business tourism as well since various forms of tourism are interdependent on each other.

Geo graphical location of Abu Dhabi that puts it at the cross road of various business centers of Europe, Asia and North Africa can be an advantage for the Emirate.

• It is assumed that oil reserves at Abu Dhabi will last for another 150 years ensuring free flow of capital needed for the industry.


• The MICE industry at Abu Dhabi will have to fight against stronger and well established players like London, Singapore etc.

• In Middle East region Abu Dhabi is still far behind of Dubai in attracting business travelers. Lot of new places in the region like Doha, Bahrain and Muscat etc are catching up very fast in developing their business tourism facility. These places can put some real challenge to Abu Dhabi.

• Since business tourism is a very lucrative business and it has got huge strategic significance ,many places across the globe are keeping it high on their socio-economic agendas. Places like Cape Town, Sanghai, Taipei, Beijing etc are emerging as strong destinations for business tourism.

• So far most of the talent required for the industry comes from the vast pools of expats. There is always a threat of these populations getting relocated to some other part of the globe. Though the chances are low but this might create some scarcity of talent. (Though recently Abu Dhabi has started taking this seriously and Emiratization of the work force is one of its prime agendums.)


1> HotelierMidddleEast.com, 2010, Gulf MICE industry has bright future, available at < http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/7655-gulf-mice-industry-has-bright-future/ >

2> HotelierMidddleEast.com, 2010, Gulf MICE industry has bright future, available at < http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/7655-gulf-mice-industry-has-bright-future/ >

3> ADNEC website, 2010, ADNEC to advance Abu Dhabi’s MICE development agenda at GIBTM 2010, available at < http://www.adnec.ae/press/viewPress.php?id=1269516895 >

4> Rebecca B, 2009, MICE industry takes off in Abu Dhabi, eTurboNews, available at < http://www.eturbonews.com/12842/mice-industry-takes-abu-dhabi >

5> Abu Dhabi tourism website, 2009, ADTA is to assume lead arranger role in an ambitious tourism initiative, available at < http://www.abudhabitourism.ae/en/news/advantage.abudhabi.to.super.mice.segment.aspx >

6> Ameinfo.com, 2009, ADTA forms MICE advisory panel, available at < http://www.ameinfo.com/126173.html >

7> Rebecca B, 2009, MICE industry takes off in Abu Dhabi, eTurboNews, available at < http://www.eturbonews.com/12842/mice-industry-takes-abu-dhabi >

8> Guide2dubai.com, 2011, Abu Dhabi plans a 230 Billion US dollar investment in tourism sector, available at < http://www.guide2dubai.com/808-Abu-Dhabi-plans-$230bn-investment-in-tourism-sector.html >