The UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market size was valued at US$ 5.21 Billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 9.22 Billion by 2030, grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% from 2023 to 2030. The UAE MICE market comprises of events like meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions held for various purposes including business, education, marketing etc. These events bring participants together to network, do business, share ideas and gain knowledge. The UAE MICE industry is a key economic driver due to its ability to attract international visitors. Some key drivers of the market are government support, infrastructure development, Dubai Expo 2020, and business friendly policies.
The UAE MICE Market is segmented by event type, industry, size, location, and revenue source. By event type, the market is dominated by exhibitions events which account for over 40% of the total market. Exhibitions are large events focused on connecting buyers and sellers and showcasing products or services. The popularity of exhibitions is driven by the UAE's position as a trading and commerce hub.
UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Drivers:
- Government Support for MICE Sector: The UAE government has identified MICE as a key sector for economic growth and diversification. It has enacted favorable policies, incentives and reforms to attract international events and develop infrastructure. For instance, government entities like Dubai Business Events provide financial and logistical support for event organizers. Abu Dhabi has streamlined approval processes through the Unified Advocacy Program. Government backing has enabled the UAE to establish itself as a premier global MICE hub.
- Investment in Tourism Infrastructure: The UAE has invested substantially in tourism infrastructure like airports, hotel rooms, convention centers and transportation. State-of-the-art venues like Dubai Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and Dubai Expo 2020 site allow the hosting of mega-events with global appeal. Upcoming projects like Dubai South Convention district will add capacity. The UAE’s connectivity to key source markets and ease of obtaining visas also enhances its appeal for event organizers and participants.
- Business Friendly Environment: The UAE provides a conducive environment for doing business by having a stable political climate, good corporate governance and modern amenities. Initiatives like 100% foreign ownership and longer term visas incentivize companies to host corporate meetings and incentives in the UAE. The high quality of life, safety and availability of leisure activities make it attractive for business travelers. The UAE’s reputation enhances its brand appeal.
- Technology Adoption: The UAE MICE industry is actively adopting technology to deliver seamless experiences. Venues offer digital systems for event management, audience engagement and data analytics. Hybrid event solutions enable remote participation. Artificial Intelligence is being used for customized recommendations. Technology integration improves event quality and outreach. It helps counter seasonality issues by supporting year-round digital events.
UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Opportunities:
- Developing Mid-Tier Cities: The UAE MICE market is currently concentrated in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Emerging cities like Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah offer cost efficiencies for event organizers by having lower venue and accommodation expenses. They provide proximity for demand from Northern Emirates. Targeted bidding and marketing can enable these cities to host small and mid-sized events, spreading the economic benefits.
- New Source Markets: While Western Europe, GCC and South Asia are major source markets, emerging regions like China, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America offer untapped potential. Their business travel and event hosting demand is rising. Tailored destination marketing and visa facilitation targeting associations and corporates from these markets can boost UAE’s appeal and global visitor mix. It can reduce over-reliance on any one region.
- Niche MICE Segments: The UAE can target hosting specialized events in niche sectors where it has inherent strengths – aviation, energy, infrastructure, real estate, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and education. Domain expertise and related commercial activity will attract industry-specific event organizers and participants from across the globe.
- Industry Diversification: The UAE is strategically promoting non-oil sectors aligned to knowledge economy goals. As new industries develop, it unlocks options to host sector-focused events. For instance, as technology and media firms establish regional hubs in Dubai, it can become a destination for events like tech conferences. Emerging verticals will create demand to convene topic-specific meetings and exhibitions.
UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Report Coverage
||Market Size in 2023:
||US$ 5.21 Bn
|Historical Data for:
||2018 to 2021
||2023 - 2030
|Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR:
||2030 Value Projection:
||US$ 9.22 Bn
- UAE: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain
- By Event Type: Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions, Others
- By Industry: Technology, Healthcare, Automotive, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Hospitality, Others
- By Size: Small (less than 100 attendees), Medium (100 to 500 attendees), Large (over 500 attendees)
- By Revenue Source: Participation fees, Sponsorships, Exhibit space rental, Food & beverage, Accommodation, Advertising, Others
Dubai World Trade Centre, Habtoor Hospitality, Action Hotels, TIME Hotels, Ascott Limited, AccorHotels, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Radisson Hotel Group, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, JA Resorts & Hotels, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Emirates Group, Emaar Hospitality Group, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC, Jumeirah Group
- Government Support for MICE Sector
- Investment in Tourism Infrastructure
- Business Friendly Environment
- Technology Adoption
|Restraints & Challenges:
- Regional Political Instability
- Regulations and Visa Rules
- Rising Costs
UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Trends:
- Increasing Use of Technology: MICE events in the UAE are early adopters of technology for advertising, participant engagement and experience enhancement. This includes event apps, RFID tracking, live streaming, augmented/virtual reality and cashless payments. With 5G rollout, innovative immersive solutions will gain traction. Technology integration will be crucial for market competitiveness.
- Focus on Sustainable Events: There is growing emphasis on improving the environmental sustainability of UAE’s MICE events through eco-friendly venue design, renewable energy, paperless solutions, carbon offsetting, green transportation and localization. Venues are obtaining sustainability certifications. These efforts align with global climate goals and appeal to eco-conscious event organizers.
- Hybrid Events Gaining Traction: Hybrid events enabling both physical and virtual participant engagement are an emerging trend as they improve schedules flexibility, outreach and revenues. The UAE’s tech-savvy venues are building required digital event infrastructure for live streaming, online presentations and multi-location connectivity. Hybrid events will become common providing year-round participation.
- Customized Experiences: Using data and technology, events in the UAE aim to provide personalized experiences via tailored communication, customized recommendations and interactive engagement. Gamification through mobile apps makes events more immersive. Focus is on creating unique event memories to gain customer loyalty in a competitive market.
UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Restraints:
- Regional Political Instability: Political turmoil and security threats in parts of the Middle East contribute to negative perceptions about the region among some corporates and associations, dampening their appetite for UAE events. Visa delays and travel restrictions for certain nationalities also hinder participation. Political stability is vital for visitor confidence and sector growth.
- Regulations and Visa Rules: The UAE’s regulatory framework for events includes licensing requirements, product restrictions, foreign employment quotas and alcohol policy. Though reforms are ongoing, complex guidelines can deter organizers. Similarly, visa approval delays or rules requiring return tickets can affect short term business travelers. Simplification is needed to boost competitiveness.
- Rising Costs: High inflation in the UAE is increasing operating costs for venues and event organizers like equipment rentals, F&B, accommodation, marketing and manpower. It is also raising participation costs. Cost escalations may impact event budgets and feasibility. Competitor destinations with lower costs may attract certain events.
New product launches
- In November 2022, Emaar Hospitality Group launched a new beachside venue in Dubai for hosting meetings and events. The flexible space aims to attract small and mid-sized events.
- In January 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre opened a new multi-purpose arena with a capacity of 20,000 people. It aims to attract large entertainment events and conferences.
- In October 2021, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company launched ADNEC Virtual, a new digital events platform. It provides virtual and hybrid event solutions.
Acquisition and partnerships
- In February 2022, Informa Markets acquired assets of Dubai World Trade Centre including events like Arab Health and Vet Middle East. This expanded Informa's event portfolio in UAE.
- In January 2021, Dubai World Trade Centre and Etisalat partnered to provide 5G coverage across venue spaces. This enables technology enhancements for hosted events.
- In November 2020, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company partnered with Department of Culture and Tourism to attract new conferences and exhibitions under the Unified Advocacy Program.
Figure 1. UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market Share (%), By Event Type, 2023
Top companies in UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Market
- Dubai World Trade Centre
- Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company
- Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority
- Emirates Group
- Emaar Hospitality Group
- Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC
- Jumeirah Group
- Habtoor Hospitality
- Action Hotels
- TIME Hotels
- Ascott Limited
- Marriott International
- Hilton Worldwide
- InterContinental Hotels Group
- Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Radisson Hotel Group
- Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
- JA Resorts & Hotels
- Millennium & Copthorne Hotels
Definition: The UAE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market refers to a sector focused on hosting business events like meetings, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, and corporate incentive trips. It involves planning, organizing and managing events that bring together groups of people for sharing knowledge, conducting business, networking, motivating employees, and showcasing products or services. The UAE has established itself as a leading MICE destination given its connectivity, infrastructure, venues, government initiatives and enterprise. The market serves both domestic and international event organizers and participants. It is a key economic contributor providing business to the travel, hospitality and entertainment sectors.
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