Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is playing host this week to the first edition of the planned annual Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM).
Group exhibition director Paul Kennedy MBE said more than 200 companies were participating in the event.
"What is exciting [about this event] is the potential to work in an emerging market," Kennedy said.
"We set out to attract 175 companies, so we are thrilled [with the response]."
With delegations from most countries in the Middle East, the only notable absences were Bahrain and Jordan, who were unable to return from the ITB exhibition in Berlin in time for GIBTM, he said.
Bavaria Executive Suites Dubai deputy director of sales Natasha Soares said tapping into the meetings industry was vital to a hotel's success.
"It's very important, and it is growing. There's so much potential," she said.
"There's an unbelievable amount of interest building [for] Dubai. To the MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market Dubai has a lot to offer, because you have the beach, excursions and there's so many team building activities that can be done.
"Also the location and proximity of Dubai - it's six hours from Europe, four and a half hours from Asia - we are literally in the middle of the globe."
Soares predicted the industry could only continue to grow: "With the new convention center coming up [in Jebel Ali] and with all the developments planned, all the hotels are going to be doing very well".
GIBTM will run until March 15.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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