Demand for Shariah-compliant MICE destinations is on the rise, with many regional and international meeting and incentive groups, as well as corporate groups and business travellers, increasingly looking for meetings facilities that embrace Islamic culture and comply with Islamic law.
Two eagerly anticipated seminar sessions to be featured at the Gulf Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Expo, (GIBTM), will highlight the growth of the Sharia-compliant market.
The sessions include Business Travel in the Middle East and ‘The habits of Middle Eastern business travelers’, based on research conducted by, international professional services firm, Ernst and Young. The two seminar sessions will look at the current MICE trends throughout the region and offer trending insights and business forecasts.
Recognised as a regional meeting hub for Islamic groups, many more meeting planners are now looking at Sharjah – a destination that has all of the credentials required to host a Shariah-compliant event and already appeals to a global community of Islamic business travellers, especially those in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as the UAE’s corporate community.
“Sharjah is the ideal location for planners looking to book Shariah-compliant MICE activities for their Islamic clients,” explains Lois Hall, Exhibition Manager of GIBTM which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 24-26 March 2014.
“Destination Sharjah proudly retains its Islamic culture and heritage. It has an abundance of museums, art galleries, mosques and other buildings which are considered fine examples of Islamic architecture. This combined with leisure attractions such as mega malls, the Corniche, the Blue Souq, the natural beauty of its desert and beaches and major events such as the Sharjah Light Festival,” she added.
Other destinations such as Doha and Dubai also have a number of Shariah-compliant hotel managed properties to cater to the Dry MICE market.
The Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels, situated in Doha, is well positioned to host Shariah-compliant meetings and events, with a collection of six luxury hotels, two full-service residences and five-star meetings facilities such as meeting rooms, a 980 seated amphitheater and a 300 seated rooftop theatre.
Dubai’s hotels are also well positioned for the ‘Dry MICE’ market. With options like hotel management chain TI’ME Hotels that has six hotel managed apartments across Dubai and the Northern Emirates and state of the art meetings and events facilities to cater for Islamic business travellers.
“In terms of Shariah-compliant hospitality, it’s not just banning alcohol and pork. It’s applying different swimming pool timings for men, women and children, all food and beverage has to be Halal, with modest dress codes throughout for staff and indeed guests,” added Hall.
An added advantage is that all of these properties are in close proximity to a world class exhibition and conference centre.
This year’s GIBTM will provide a forum for in-demand Shariah-compliant meetings destinations and facilities such as Bahrain and Kuwait to meet with the 300 influential Hosted Buyers attending the event, all of whom have sizeable business to place in the region.
Representatives from major companies including Kuoni Events, TE Connectivity, UHY International, Medicongress, Mary Kay, HelmsBriscoe, FEI Company, China International Medicine Exchange Association International Service Center, Contendam and Portigon Financial Services have all been accepted onto the highly sought after programme.
New initiatives for GIBTM 2014 include the Business Travel @GIBTM, a full day of networking for the business travel industry, with attendees invited to participate in the Corporate Travel Networking session sponsored by the Hyatt Capital Gate, Corporate Travel Conference Programme and GIBTM Knowledge Hub Seminars, as well as the GIBTM Official Networking Reception sponsored and hosted by Yas Island on Tuesday 25th March.
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