More Association Meetings Are Being Hosted in the Middle East

The number of rotating international association meetings continues to grow, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which earlier this month announced that there were 12,212 such meetings -- an all-time record -- in 2016.

Although most of those meetings took place in the United States and Europe, a growing number are occurring in the Middle East, according to ICCA, which reported today that the Middle East is the fastest growing region for hosting international association meetings. Last year, it said, the region hosted 255 international association meetings, up from just 100 in 2007 -- an increase of over 250 percent, driven in large part by meetings in the medical sciences and technology sectors.

"The association meetings sector is entering a new and exciting phase in this region, for both suppliers and organizers," said ICCA Regional Director Senthil Gopinath, who operates ICCA's first full-time regional office in the Middle East, established last year in Dubai (pictured).

Attendance at international association meetings in the Middle East also has experienced a major uptick, according to ICCA, which said the estimated total number of participants in the Middle East has grown from approximately 100,000 in 2007 to an average of almost 200,000 in the last five years.

Concluded ICCA CEO Martin Sirk, "The association sector is taking off in the Middle East, driven by growth in an educated, professional middle class; a desire for professional education; standards and accreditations; and an understanding by international associations that this is a market of great long-term potential, both for growth in membership and for building business for their members based outside the region."

Up your meetings-industry IQ. Check out the latest edition of 30 Seconds to Smart!