post image

Saudi MICE industry to surpass $5 billion by 2031

Saudi Arabia’s MICE industry is projected to exceed $5 billion by 2031, according to a new report.

Research by Coherence Market Insights shows the kingdom’s MICE market is valued at $2.59bn in 2024 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11.3% during 2024-2031 to reach $5.49bn.

Our latest Chart of the Month studies the reasons behind this growth and why the Middle East region is expected to become the next hub of meetings and exhibitions.

chart of the month

↪️ Event apps have become popular among Middle East organizers to create a digitally-extended attendee experience. Get started using the Mobile Event App handbook

What is propelling Saudi Arabia’s MICE growth?

  • Expanding tourism infrastructure: Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in new hotels, convention centers, and other tourism infrastructure to cater to the growing MICE industry. Major cities like Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam are emerging as key MICE hubs with world-class facilities.
  • Technological advancements: The integration of modern event tech platforms is transforming MICE experiences in Saudi Arabia and enabling greater reach and engagement.
  • Diversification of the economy: As part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is focused on diversifying its economy beyond oil and gas, with MICE events playing a crucial role in promoting sectors like healthcare, finance and technology.
  • Favorable regulations: The government has introduced favorable regulations and policies to attract international MICE events, including streamlined visa processes and tax incentives for event organizers.
  • Growing domestic tourism: Increased domestic tourism within Saudi Arabia is driving demand for MICE events, as companies seek to host meetings, conferences and incentive travel programs for their employees.
  • Emerging as a regional hub: Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a regional hub for MICE events, leveraging its strategic location, infrastructure and government support to attract events from across the Middle East and beyond.

The Middle East MICE market: A flourishing hub

The positive outlook extends beyond Saudi Arabia. The entire Middle East MICE market is witnessing rapid strides.

Dubai, for instance, has established itself as a prominent regional player, with the leading organizer Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) hosting numerous large-scale events that contribute significantly to the emirate’s economic growth.

According to DWTC’s latest economic impact report, it generated $633m in sales from large-scale events alone in 2023.

Key highlights include:

  • 76 large-scale events (with 2000+ attendees) generated $633m (AED2.33bn) in MICE sector sales, with nearly 8 times that in economic output. A total of 301 exhibitions were held in 2023.
  • These events added $2.86bn (AED10.53bn) to Dubai’s GDP, retaining 58% of economic output locally.
  • A total of 69,281 jobs were supported through these events.
  • Attendee footfall clocked at 1.54m – 46% of whom were international, marking a 53% year-on-year increase in foreign attendance.

Major initiatives such as the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 have been launched to diversify the local economy.

The UAE government earlier introduced VAT refunds in the exhibitions and conferences sector to enhance customer experience and stimulate technological transformation in the MICE industry.

The region is also witnessing increased bleisure travel where guests combine business trips with leisure stays. This showcases how the MICE sector influences travel behaviors and extends visitor stays in the Middle East.

How technology is influencing the Middle East events landscape

The Middle East – particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE – is witnessing a surge in the use of event technology to create richer and more impactful experiences for event profs.

WATCH ↪️ Learn about Saudi Arabia’s growth in events and how tech is shaping its future

Here’s some key event tech solutions witnessing increasing usage in the region:

  • Smart Event App: Attendees can access real-time schedules, speaker profiles, exhibitor information, navigate interactive maps and get all updates on their fingertips. This enhances engagement and streamlines navigation.

  • Lead Intelligence: Event tech platforms employ lead retrieval and scoring to identify high-potential leads for exhibitors, helping accelerate the sales pipeline.

  • AI-powered Matchmaking: Intelligent AI algorithms can recommend relevant people, content and products based on attendee profiles and preferences. This facilitates valuable connections and fosters business opportunities.

  • Hosted Buyer Programs: Event tech platforms can streamline the process for pre-qualified buyers to connect with relevant exhibitors. This ensures productive B2B interactions and maximizes the return on investment for both parties.

  • 365 Online Community: 365 online communities that are ‘ever-available’ extend engagement beyond the physical event. This drives year-round communication, knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.

  • Online Sponsorship: Sponsors can leverage various within the event website and app, using banners, splash screens, premium search, special content and other features to showcase their products and brands. This generates additional revenue for the organizers, boosting event ROI.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you 😀