World Islamic Travel Summit to debut in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: The World Islamic Travel Summit, WITS15, the largest showcase of Halal travel and tourism solutions, is to debut in Abu Dhabi next October.

The pioneering conference and exhibition will run in two halls at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC, from October 19th-21st, 2015.

The multi-faceted event will include an exhibition with over 200 participants plus a 1,000-delegate conference, comprising keynote sessions, panel discussions, a Ministerial debate and 150 presentations from 70 international speakers.

Organised under the theme, “Driving the Halal Tourism Revolution”, the event will bring together an unprecedented array of international specialists, projects, suppliers and policy-makers.

“The Halal tourism market is booming with analysts saying it now represents 13% of the global market,” said WITS15 Events Manager, Hosam Moustafa. “A recent Muslim travel report, released by the consultancy DinarStandard and rating agency Crescent Rating, projects that until at least 2020, Muslim international tourism will increase faster than conventional tourism – 4.79% versus 3.8%. At that point, overall annual spending for international Muslim tourism is expected to reach US$192 billion and these figures don’t even include estimated Hajj and Umrah expenditures.

“The time is right for an event of this size and scope to address the needs of this vast international sector and Abu Dhabi, with its award-winning ADNEC and event facilities in the heart of this market, is an ideal venue and host.” WITS15 is being brought to the UAE capital by organiser Cacti Events with the support of Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau – the dedicated business events promotion arm of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi.

“Many Muslim majority markets are now fast emerging economies, with higher than average population growth rates supported by a young demographic,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi. “Against this background, expenditure on Halal tourism is expected to rise more than 6% per annum for the foreseeable future, which is almost double global industry growth.

“With Abu Dhabi now specifically targeting the Halal tourism sector with segment-specific accommodation and product, the staging of this event in the UAE capital will put the spotlight on our offering and ambitions.” WITS15 is expected to draw high profile international attendance from government delegations, tourism associations, market-leading private sector operators and leading financiers funding Islamic tourism projects.

“WITS15 is a major opportunity for tourism bodies, private tourism companies and professionals interested in developing business models in the Halal Travel space – perhaps the single most important meeting of the decade for this sector,” added Moustafa.

“More than 60 countries will be represented at WITS15, with many exhibiting and others contributing presentations and speakers to the conference sessions.” WITS15 will focus strongly on the intra tourism between the 57 members states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations with a membership spread over four continents.

Keynote conference sessions will focus on practical applications to increase intra OIC tourism productivity – innovative technologies, capacity building and entrepreneurship, the role of the private sector and the way that local bodies can quickly adopt and adapt the best international thinking.