With exhibitions and conferences forming the foundation for business, Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority showed record results for the third quarter last year which ended September 30. BECA reported growth in total contract bookings at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre (BIEC) driven by continued strong performance in the Authority’s venue management business segment.
BIEC is running at 100 per cent occupancy for 2008 and 2009, with many bookings already confirmed from 2010 to 2013. Debbie Stanford- Kristiansen, BECA acting CEO, reported the results in a presentation to BECA’s Board of Directors led by H.E. Dr. Hassan A. Fakhro, Chairman of the Board, and Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Highlights for the third quarter include double-digit year-over-year contract bookings growth from 2007 until 2009; 10 new exhibitions (public and trade) with multiple-year contracts commencing 2009; three new international medical congresses for Bahrain; two, world-ranking sporting events; signing of Memorandums of Understanding with Gulf Air and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI); generating additional revenue streams and upgrading of BIEC facilities; increased focus on the lucrative international association market; and arranging of site inspections, as well as familiarisation trips to Bahrain by buyers, planners and journalists from Australia, Europe and North America.
BECA achieved a key milestone during the third quarter 2008, when it successfully made the case for a new Expo City for Bahrain before H.H. the Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and the Cabinet, securing the government’s unanimous approval and support for the new Expo City in Sakhir. This will directly increase the Centre’s exhibit and meeting capacity by ten-fold. With the groundbreaking of the project scheduled for the first quarter of 2009, the US$200 million landmark project is scheduled to be commissioned by 2011.
Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, BECA’s chief executive officer has this to say, "We are delighted at the success of BECA in the exhibitions and meetings segment. The quality and number of events and the level of attendees that BECA has brought into Bahrain are testament to its international destination marketing efforts and active participation in key MICE industry events such as IMEX (Meetings and Incentive Travel Exhibition) in Frankfurt, EIBTM (Exhibition for the Conference, Incentives, Events, Business Travel and Meetings industry) in Barcelona, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), UFI (Union des Foires Internationales), MPI (Meeting Professionals International)."
"We hope to bring more high-level events to Bahrain as they bring significant benefits to the local economy by contributing expenditure effects and providing jobs for the exhibition industry as well as other service industries and supporting sectors including tourism, aviation, hotels, food and beverage, retail, stand design and construction, logistics and freight forwarding."
BECA, according to Stanford-Kristiansen, is also diversifying and focusing on the highly lucrative international association market which brings in anywhere between 3,000 and 15,000 delegates to a destination, with each out-of-town attendee booking at least a three-night stay in a hotel.