The Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market size was valued at US$ 2.33 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 4.84 billion by 2030, grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% from 2023 to 2030. The market comprises of events like corporate meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and incentive travels catering to various industries. Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) is a type of tourism in which large groups gather for a particular purpose. The MICE industry offers important revenue generation opportunities for the tourism sector.
The Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market is segmented by event type, revenue source, enterprise size, and industry. By event type, the market is segmented into corporate meetings, conferences, exhibitions, incentive travels, and others. The corporate meetings segment is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period due to the rise in business travel and corporate events in Saudi Arabia.
The growth of the market is driven by factors like government support to develop MICE industry, rising business travel from corporate sector, growing international trade exhibitions, and expanding tourism infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Regional Insights
Anticipated to thrive in the foreseeable future, the Saudi Arabia MICE market is poised for continued expansion. This growth is underpinned by key factors, including the government's Vision 2030 initiative, the increasing influx of tourists into Saudi Arabia, and ongoing investments in new infrastructure and MICE-specific facilities, all contributing to the market's upward trajectory.
Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam stand as prominent urban centers in Saudi Arabia, serving as primary hosts for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) events. These cities boast an extensive array of hotels, conference venues, and exhibition facilities, capable of accommodating events spanning a wide range of sizes.
Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Drivers:
- Government Support and Investments to Develop the MICE Industry: The Saudi government has recognized the potential of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry as an important contributor to economic growth and job creation. It has implemented policies, incentives and investments to develop the MICE ecosystem in the country. For instance, it established the Saudi Exhibitions and Convention Bureau in 2015 to promote the kingdom as a MICE destination. including new airports, roads, hotels and convention centers. These efforts are expected to make Saudi Arabia more attractive for hosting international business events and conferences. The launch of new venues like the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Convention Center demonstrates the government's commitment. Such initiatives to build infrastructure and promote domestic MICE industry are major drivers for the growth of Saudi Arabia's meetings and events market.
- Expanding Tourism Sector and Business Travel: Saudi Arabia's ongoing efforts to expand its tourism industry and promote business travel are also fueling the growth of its MICE segment. The country has eased visa regulations to attract more tourists and business travelers. It aims to increase foreign tourist arrivals to 100 million per year by 2030. The launch of new tourist e-visas, and relaxation of rules for foreign business travelers will lead to higher influx, creating demand for business accommodation and events. Domestic tourism campaigns like Saudi Seasons are also gaining popularity. The growth of tourism and business travel will invariably create more demand for MICE venues and suppliers.
- Economic Diversification and Rise of New Sectors: As Saudi Arabia undertakes efforts to diversify its economy beyond oil, new industries like healthcare, education, retail, technology, defense manufacturing and logistics are emerging. This has led to an increase in demand for corporate events, industry conferences and trade exhibitions from both domestic and global players across these sectors. For instance, demand for medical conferences and pharma exhibitions is rising as the country looks to become a regional hub for healthcare services. Similarly, banking, energy and construction sectors are also generating demand for MICE events as large infrastructure and diversification projects continue. Economic reforms and emergence of new sectors is thus fueling the need for meetings, events and conferences.
- Growing International Trade Exhibitions and Conferences: Saudi Arabia's strategic location, large consumer market and business-friendly reforms have led to a significant rise in international trade exhibitions and conferences being hosted in the country. According to the Union of International Fairs (UFI), Saudi Arabia ranked first in the Middle East and Africa for hosting trade exhibitions in 2021. Leading shows like the Riyadh Travel Fair, Saudi Food & Pharma and Saudi Build have seen strong international participation. Global players are also launching new exhibitions to tap Saudi market like Germany's Messe Frankfurt. Bilateral trade events between Saudi Arabia and other nations are also rising. The kingdom's appeal as a regional hub for major MICE events will continue to increase, propelling market growth.
Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Opportunities:
- Leveraging Untapped Potential in Second Tier Cities: While Riyadh and Jeddah have been the main MICE hubs in Saudi Arabia, second tier cities like Dammam, Madinah, Al Khobar and Taif offer significant untapped potential. These cities have well-developed infrastructure, commercial activity and industries that can generate demand. Madinah for instance has a thriving religious tourism sector that necessitates MICE venues. Dammam is an oil & gas hub. By attracting events to these cities, location costs can be optimized. Local municipal authorities are also eager to promote these cities as business event destinations and offer subsidies. Developing convention centers and event facilities in second tier cities can help Saudi Arabia distribute the economic benefits of MICE industry beyond few hubs. This indicates a major growth opportunity.
- Leveraging Expansion of Hospitality Sector: Saudi Arabia is expected to add over 500,000 hotel keys over the next decade as major chains like Marriott, Accor, Hilton and InterContinental expand. The increase in branded 3-5 star category hotels that offer convention and meeting room facilities will boost infrastructure for the MICE segment. These hotels will also enable Saudi Arabia to host large incentive groups and conferences. The expansion of accommodation infrastructure is being complemented by upgrades at major airports. With these enhancements to hospitality and connectivity, the country can attract large MICE events with thousands of delegates. The ongoing expansion of the hospitality sector thus offers lucrative opportunities for the meetings and events industry.
- Attracting International Associations' Events: An emerging opportunity for Saudi Arabia is to bid for hosting annual meetings and conventions of major international industry associations. Cities like Barcelona, Singapore, Vienna and Dubai have benefited economically from hosting such recurring global events. With its international air connectivity, infrastructure and government support, Saudi Arabia can compete to host annual events of leading medical, technology, energy and engineering associations. This will also help raise the country's profile. Supporting associations to organize marquee events can yield major rewards for the Saudi MICE industry in the long run.
- Digital Technologies for Hybrid Events: The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital and hybrid event solutions globally. Saudi event organizers have an opportunity to incorporate virtual and hybrid elements to host engaging meetings and conferences as on-site models resume. For instance, virtual attendees can join conferences live while networking happens physically. Some content can be live-streamed. Offering both physical and virtual participation can expand audience and revenue for Saudi events. Technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence can be leveraged to enhance delegate experiences and analysis. Adopting these digital approaches early-on will give Saudi Arabia's MICE industry an edge.
Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Report Coverage
||Market Size in 2023:
||US$ 2.33 Bn
|Historical Data for:
||2018 to 2021
||2023 - 2030
|Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR:
|2030 Value Projection:
||US$ 4.84 Bn
- North America: U.S. and Canada
- Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
- Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
- Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, Israel, South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
- By Event Type: Corporate Meetings, Conferences, Exhibitions, Incentive Travels, Others
- By Revenue Source: Delegate Registration Fees, Exhibit Space Rental, Sponsorships, Accommodation, Transportation, Others
- By Enterprise Size: Large Enterprises, Small & Medium Enterprises
- By Industry: Pharmaceuticals, IT & Telecom, Banking, Financial Services and Insurance, Automotive, Construction, Energy & Utilities, Others
Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Elegant Events, MICE Arabia, Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management, Zahid Travel Group, Cozmo Travel, Al Tayyar Group, General Entertainment Authority, Al Hokair Group, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage
- Government Support and Investments to Develop the MICE Industry
- Expanding Tourism Sector and Business Travel
- Economic Diversification and Rise of New Sectors
- Growing International Trade Exhibitions and Conferences
|Restraints & Challenges:
- Regional Political Instability and Security Concerns
- Shortage of Skilled and Qualified MICE Professionals
- High Costs and Limited Options for Large Venues
Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Trends:
- Growing Adoption of Sustainable Event Practices: There is an emerging global trend towards environmentally sustainable MICE events, which is also picking up in Saudi Arabia. Venues are designing energy efficient convention centers with LEED certifications. Event planners are minimizing waste, using recycled materials and reducing plastic usage. Catering uses local produce to reduce miles traveled. Accommodation providers emphasize renewable energy usage. Delegates are given sustainable travel and commute options. Such practices are enabling organizers to host greener events. With sustainability becoming a priority worldwide, adoption of green event management will rise significantly in Saudi's MICE industry.
- Increasing Use of Data Analytics and Digital Tools: The Saudi MICE industry is witnessing rising deployment of data analytics and digital tools to gain customer insights and enhance event experiences. Analytics helps assess potential delegate profiles and interest when planning events. Digital attendee engagement tools provide interactive platforms to network virtually, take surveys and manage appointments. Apps enable access to session schedules and content. Data is leveraged for precise event marketing. Post-event analysis identifies improvement areas. As technology usage rises globally, data and digital tools will transform Saudi's meetings, conferences and exhibitions.
- Growing Number of International Hotel Chains: Saudi Arabia's hotel sector is seeing rapid growth in recent years with several global hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Accor opening several properties. These international hotels offer professional conference and events facilities attractive for MICE. They also have loyalty programs that bring in MICE business from members. Chains like Movenpick, Louvre Hotels and Radisson are also expanding fast across Saudi cities. The rising presence of multinational hotel companies and their brands is resulting in higher quality infrastructure and management for the events segment.
- Use of Technology for Virtual and Hybrid Events: Stimulated by the pandemic, technology is enabling more virtual and hybrid events with both online and on-site engagement in Saudi Arabia's MICE industry. Platforms like Hopin, Airmeet and Hubilo allow events to be live-streamed, have virtual exhibitor booths and sessions, and capture data. Hybrid models are likely to persist with virtual expanding audience and physical enabling in-person networking. Other emerging technologies being adopted are augmented/virtual reality and artificial intelligence. These digital and tech capabilities will transform Saudi's meetings and conferences.
Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Restraints:
- Regional Political Instability and Security Concerns: Despite growth opportunities, political instability and security threats in the broader Middle East and Gulf region pose challenges for the expansion of Saudi Arabia's MICE industry. Conflict zones in neighbouring countries can deter international associations from selecting Saudi for their events. Business travellers and event organizers voice concerns about regional uncertainty. Terrorism risks require heavy security arrangements. Political issues like severed ties between Gulf countries also caused uncertainty. While Saudi has been relatively insulated and conditions are improving, recurring political instability affects some decision making for hosting major events.
- Shortage of Skilled and Qualified MICE Professionals: According to industry experts, shortage of qualified MICE professionals in Saudi Arabia could potentially restrain the growth of meetings, incentives and events. Domain knowledge and international expertise remain limited. As the industry expands amidst rising demand, lack of skills like account management, budgeting, marketing and data analytics can affect event delivery and quality. Retention of experienced personnel also remains a concern. Targeted training programs, incentives for skills development and changes in talent policies can help address this shortage for Saudi's MICE sector.
- High Costs and Limited Options for Large Venues: Saudi Arabia has a few dedicated, international-standard convention and exhibition centers in Riyadh and Jeddah capable of very large events. Still costs tend to be higher than some other regional MICE destinations. Outside these major cities, large venue options are also limited presently. Constructing venues with capacity above 5,000 attendees might be financially unviable beyond main hubs. The high costs and unavailability of large venues in cities beyond Riyadh and Jeddah could restrain the growth potential of Saudi Arabia's meetings and events industry.
New product launches
- In November 2022, TCEB announced the launch of its MICE Intelligence Center platform to provide key insights into Thailand's MICE industry. The platform will help monitor industry trends and support stakeholders.
- In January 2022, Alibaba Group announced the launch of its new Virtual Pavilion to host international trade shows and exhibitions through virtual events on its platform. The launch aims to transform trade shows amidst the pandemic.
- In September 2021, Cvent announced the launch of its enhanced Hybrid Event Platform to deliver engaging in-person and virtual event experiences. The platform provides event management tools for hybrid events.
Acquisition and partnerships
- In March 2022, Cvent acquired the Australian virtual events company Grip to expand its APAC presence and enhance its virtual event capabilities.
- In June 2021, Aventri acquired event management company Guild and online event platform PlusFactor to strengthen its end-to-end event technology platform.
- In April 2021, Cvent partnered with the virtual event platform Hubilo to integrate their solutions and provide enhanced experiences for hybrid events.
Figure 1. Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market Share (%), By Enterprise Size, 2023
Top companies in Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market
- Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau
- General Entertainment Authority
- Al Hokair Group
- Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage
- Elegant Events
- MICE Arabia
- Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management
- Zahid Travel Group
- Cozmo Travel
- Al Tayyar Group
Definition: The Saudi Arabia Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market refers to the industry focused on planning, booking, organizing and hosting business events like conferences, seminars, trade shows, corporate retreats, sales meetings and product launches in Saudi Arabia. The MICE events bring together groups of people for a common purpose and provide opportunities for business networking, knowledge sharing and lead generation. The MICE industry in Saudi Arabia has been growing steadily with government support to promote business travel and investments in tourism infrastructure, providing opportunities across accommodation, transportation, food & beverage and other segments. Major players include convention bureaus, event management companies, exhibition organizers, travel companies and hotels that facilitate business events and meetings in Saudi Arabia.
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