Today, incentives, exhibitions, and conferences tourism represents one of the largest economic revenue makers, and countries all over the world are adopting and developing this sector as an important segment of its financial plan. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rising to meet this economic opportunity to support its national income by conducting studies and meeting with representatives from foreign markets to develop an effective framework for this industry.
In this framework, the Asas Exhibitions & Conferences Organizing Company has been working to shed light and awareness on these economic opportunities, as well as build bridges of communication between officials and producers within the targeted segments of the industry, with the goal being to achieve growth in the tourism industry’s meeting industry.
The total area of exhibition space available in the kingdom reaches 92,000 square meters, while the total area of conferences and meeting auditoriums reaches more than 16,000 square meters, including auditoriums for banqueting and official events, along with what is available at hotels.
The main three centers for holding exhibitions are located in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Abha. These centers are capable of holding various activities within their facilities, such as trade and industry markets, as well as technical exhibitions. There are also various centers in the kingdom that specialize in holding conferences, including classrooms and special chambers for conferences.
To promote growth in the meetings industry, the Riyadh Travel Fair has been launched to attract the interest of major players in all sectors of tourism, both inside and outside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Exhibitors at this annual tourism event represent various sectors of the tourism industry. Geographically, the exhibition attracts various Asian, African, and European states, all of which aspire to be a part of the Saudi tourism market and endeavor to gain a foothold there.
The exhibition provides a diverse cross section from the tourism industry, including hotels, airlines companies, travel agencies, rent a car companies, printed and visual media, and organizers of travel. There will be a myriad of opportunities for experts in the global tourism industry, world hotel companies, tourism services, airlines, and senior investment companies in tourism to exchange their knowledge and promote opportunities for partnered tourism products and services.
For those looking to participate in the fair to lure travelers to their destinations, studies show that 4.5 million Saudi nationals spent their summer vacations in 2010 abroad, spending a total of US$33 billion. Approximately 74% of the population plans to travel every year, which is deemed the highest percentage among the GCC states and all Arabian states. Forty-five percent of Saudi tourists tend to travel to Egyptian states such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, while 30% tend to travel to western Europe, such as Switzerland, Austria, and France. The US, especially the states of California and Florida, comes in second, followed by, the Eastern Asia states of Malaysia and Indonesia.
For two successive years, the Saudi capital of Riyadh has witnessed the significant and repeated success achieved by the Riyadh Travel Fair in the previous two sessions held in 2009 and 2010. Building on this success, it is expected that 30,000 visitors will come through the Riyadh Travel Fair being held from May 23-26, 2011 at the new Riyadh International Exhibition Center under the theme of “Destination 2011 for everyone at anytime.”