Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) revealed that its key venues including Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Al Ain Convention Centre (AACC) collectively welcomed more than 1.516 million visitors across 480 local and international events in 2016, Which represents an increase of 30% over 2015. This translates into a total economic impact of AED3 billion for the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The company announced its 2016 results at a press conference at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre headlined by Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO of ADNEC, and several senior ADNEC officials.
Commenting on the achievements, Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairwoman of ADNEC, said: "Abu Dhabi has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop diverse economic sectors that has yielded outstanding results over the past few years. Along with its sister national companies, ADNEC has played a crucial role in realising this vision through driving significant growth in the extremely important business tourism sector."
She added: "We look forward to continuing our efforts to solidify Abu Dhabi’s leading status as the business tourism capital of the region. We thank our wise leadership for its unwavering support in our endeavours to promote business tourism through leveraging the emirate’s competitive advantages, such as its state-of-the-art infrastructure, advanced facilities, and strategic location at the heart of a thriving region with an immense economic potential. "
Expressing her pride in the capabilities of ADNEC’s Emirati workforce, Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi said: “ADNEC has a wealth of Emirati talent among its personnel, who lead various initiatives designed to achieve long-term business tourism growth. Our efforts to promote Abu Dhabi as an ideal venue for specialised events have helped us bring some very important international events to the Middle East for the first time.”
She also thanked the members of ADNEC’s Board of Directors for their ongoing support of the company’s efforts to increase the role of business tourism in generating significant non-oil-related economic impact for the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
For his part, Al Dhaheri said: "We are pleased with the outstanding results we achieved in 2016 despite the diverse challenges that the MICE industry faced regionally and globally. Our numbers validate the effectiveness of our portfolio expansion into sectors prioritised in the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 ".
He added: “In 2016, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Al Ain Convention Centre hosted 43 exhibitions including 15 new additions, marking a 10 per cent surge. The numbers testify to the success of our strategy of attracting a wide spectrum of new events to Abu Dhabi while supporting our existing exhibitions.”
Meanwhile, the total number of conferences hosted by the venues in 2016 increased by five per cent to 22. In addition, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre won the hosting rights to 12 new international and local conferences including many high-profile international events that will take place in Abu Dhabi in the near future.
Al Dhaheri said: “In 2016, ADNEC Group contributed to the creation of more than 16,844 job opportunities in the UAE across business tourism sectors. Furthermore, we supported the occupancy of hotels in the country through delivering a total of 528,639 guest nights – a 27 per cent increase over 2015.”
He added: “ADNEC has a dedicated team of highly skilled Emiratis who are the key drivers behind the company’s phenomenal growth over the past few years. Towards end-2016, Emiratisation at ADNEC reached 60 per cent, up from 55 per cent in 2015. In addition, qualified Emiratis hold 82 per cent of our senior management positions.”
In 2016, ADNEC also achieved significant savings in direct and fixed costs, reiterating the success of its sustainability programme dedicated to promoting energy efficiency and rationalised use of resources.
In this context, Al Dhaheri said: “Our sustainability programme demonstrates our priority to support the UAE’s efforts in sustainable development. Our waste management systems work round-the-clock to ensure safe waste collection, segregation and storage. In 2016, we reduced our CO2 emissions by 228,979 tonnes through recycling 676,382 tonnes of materials.”
In addition, ADNEC Services, a subsidiary of ADNEC Group that offers specialised services for exhibitors and event organisers, delivered an outstanding performance that surpassed all expectations. The company achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 93 per cent, the highest in the global exhibitions and events industry.
The results of a society perception survey conducted by an independent global information and measurement firm last year showed that the awareness of ADNEC’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s economic development among the residents of the emirate increased from 86 per cent in 2015 to 90 per cent in 2016.
ExCeL London, a wholly owned subsidiary of ADNEC, welcomed 2.8 million visitors across 367 events by end- 2016, compared to 313 events in 2015. Furthermore, the hotels owned by ADNEC Group – Hyatt Capital Gate, Aloft Abu Dhabi and Aloft London ExCeL – delivered solid results on the back of strong performance of the hospitality sector.
In closing, Al Dhaheri added: "ADNEC will continue to offer unlimited support for all the events hosted at our venues and work with the organisers towards their continued success. We will spare no effort in attracting high footfall of international visitors to make the participation of exhibitors at our events as productive as possible. Furthermore, we will continue to develop our facilities and services to
maintain their competitiveness and ensure that they constantly meet the evolving requirements of the business tourism industry.”
ADNEC’s 2016 calendar is full of achievements. In January, the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) drew an unprecedented number of decision makers, officials, researchers, clean energy specialists and visitors from more than 170 countries. Over 80 international leaders and ministers gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss common clean energy, water security and climate change challenges facing nations worldwide. WFES is the world’s most influential event dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technology.
In February 2016, ADNEC welcomed the 10th edition of Tawdheef, the biggest recruitment fair dedicated to UAE nationals, drawing the participation of leading entities from the public and private sectors that offered more than 6,000 employment opportunities over three days. The event brought together Emiratis interested in building their careers and companies looking to employ national talent in different sectors.
In the same month, ADNEC hosted four major international events – the First SEHA Neuroscience Conference, the 10th SEHA International Paediatric Conference, the First Abu Dhabi Pharmacy Conference, and the International Conference for Combating Non-traditional and Dangerous Materials. The conferences drew the participation of many leading specialists in the relevant disciplines from across the globe.
In March 2016, ADNEC welcomed the Seventh International Exhibition for National Security and Resilience (ISNR), attracting 530 exhibitors from 57 countries as well as more than 200 official delegates and government buyers from over 20 countries. The definitive international platform for homeland security solutions included five exhibitions, more than 60 panel discussions and 10 live events. Among these were the second edition of Occupational Health and Safety Middle East, the Sixth International Cyber Crime Conference that convened 60 international experts in cyber safety and security, emergency response and disaster prevention. The event featured the world-class live edutainment performance of Aftershock II. ADNEC also hosted Second Firefighting Middle East, and Sixth Infosecurity Middle East.
March 2016 saw the XL International Workshop take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The event drew strong participation of senior-level executives from specialised international associations that organise major international events and representatives of 14 exhibition centres across the world. The workshop provided a unique opportunity for knowledge sharing and exploring commercial opportunities through high-profile discussions on related topics.
In the same month, ADNEC welcomed the Second Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (UMEX) and First Simulation and Training Exhibition and Conference. With its first edition held as part of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2015, UMEX took place as a stand-alone event for the very first time last year, offering six times the exhibition space. Its second edition was among the six specialised international events held under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi Aviation and Aerospace Week (ADAAW) that facilitated business deals worth over AED3.8 billion.
In April 2016, Abu Dhabi won the bid to host the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) World Diabetes Congress – a biennial medical event that highlights best practices and latest research results relating to diabetes. Expected to welcome around 15,000 participants, the congress will repeat its successful run at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in December 2017. According to estimates, the
five-day event will contribute close to AED150 million to the economy of the emirate. Brussels-based IDF, an umbrella organisation of over 230 diabetes associations from more than 160 countries, selected Abu Dhabi as the host city amidst stiff competition from several leading venues worldwide.
The same month saw ADNEC welcome the 26th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair that drew the participation of more than 1,261 exhibitors from 63 countries. Showcasing the best of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, the event attracted over 272,000 visitors. The fair gained wide international attention owing to the presence of more than 200 media representatives, and organised more than 507 cultural events hosting 612 distinguished personalities from the fields of literature and culture. In addition, it featured book signings for more than 100 new titles. With around 500,000 books in 30 different languages on display, sales reached AED25 million.
In May 2016, Abu Dhabi jumped to the 73rd position in the annual ranking of the world's top destinations for meetings and congresses published by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) – 35 places ahead of its 2014 ranking. The ICCA report indicated that in 2015, the UAE capital hosted more than 35 international association meetings and conferences, up from 22 in 2014. Posting a year-on-year growth of 59 per cent, Abu Dhabi was also the only city in the region to advance in the overall ranking.
In June 2016, ADNEC launched the Abu Dhabi Sports Festival in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. The two-month community event included a total of 17 sporting competitions – such as the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Football Cup, Abu Dhabi Government Ramadan Football Tournament and the Armed Forces Officers Club Ramadan Sports Tournament – and gave away prizes with a combined value of AED2 million.
July 2016 saw the launch of ADNEC’s annual employee recognition scheme, dubbed Capital Excellence Awards, as part of the company’s sustained efforts to promote the spirit of healthy competition, enhance departmental excellence and improve overall organisational efficiency.
The move reinforced ADNEC’s commitment towards achieving its vision of delivering outstanding customer service to stakeholders in the business tourism industry.
The Capital Excellence Awards align with the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance (ADAEP) that aims to motivate government entities to improve their performance and internal work mechanisms. The scheme also seeks to raise awareness among employees about the importance of excellence, quality, transparency and accountability as core criteria in creating an enabling work environment.
In August 2016, ADNEC commenced the second phase of the expansion of Al Ain Convention Centre as part of its strategy to enhance Al Ain’s business tourism credentials, and attract more conferences and exhibitions to the Garden City. The project involves the construction of a new convention centre offering 1,000 sq m of additional conference and meeting space that will increase AACC’s gross area by eight per cent to 14,000 sq m. The new facility is set to open its doors this year.
The same month marked ADNEC’s first Safety Day in line the company’s priority to raise awareness among and partners about the importance of health and safety in the workplace and reduce the safety incident rate across its venues. Organised in close association with Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHAD), the event aimed to inspire all employees and partners to commit to a single objective – making ADNEC’s venues the safest in the world.
In October 2016, ADNEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Emirates Medical Association (EMA) and the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a division of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), to elevate Abu Dhabi’s status to a thriving international medical meetings hub. The MoU aims to boost the number of international medical conferences held in Abu Dhabi, and foster a collaborative environment of lucrative and productive educational opportunities for medical practitioners throughout the region.
In November 2016, Abu Dhabi won the rights to host the 2020 edition of the World Conference of Family Doctors (WONCA), a prominent biennial conference of family physicians. According to estimates, the event will convene 4,000 delegates from across the globe to discuss a variety of topics related to family medicine.
In the same month, ADNEC welcomed the 19th Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) that provided an unrivalled global platform for oil and gas professionals to network and explore new opportunities. Under the theme ‘Strategies for the New Energy Landscape’, the event attracted more than 2,000 exhibitors, 8,500 delegates, 700 speakers, and 95,000 visitors from 125 countries. ADIPEC also included a four-day conference organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) that comprised 106 technical sessions – the highest number in the history of the event.
December 2016 saw ADNEC host the seventh annual SIAL Middle East food and beverage exhibition that featured 30 country pavilions, drew the participation of 22,000 visitors and 950 exhibitors, and facilitated business deals worth AED3.8 billion. The SIAL Innovation Area showcased the world’s most innovative products, introducing upcoming trends in the food and beverage sector to attendees.