Bahrain: The Next Big Thing on the Meetings Map

29th September 2023

Bahrain's history as a host of events dates back to 1991 when the first exhibition and convention centre was established. Since then, it has evolved into one of the most prominent event destinations across the Gulf and the wider region. Over the past three decades, the Kingdom has successfully organized an array of events, including trade shows, conferences, concerts, and even sporting extravaganzas. With the opening of Exhibition World Bahrain in November 2022, it’s now the next big thing on the meetings map.

Words Remi Deve

Strategically nestled in the Middle East, Bahrain serves as a vital crossroad connecting the East and West. With a rich history dating back to the Dilmun Age and an emphasis on authentic hospitality, Bahrain presents an all-encompassing experience for visitors.

A nation known for its open-mindedness, tolerance, and cosmopolitan spirit; Bahrain stands out as one of the world’s most liberal business landscapes. Remarkably diversified, its economy leads the region with strongholds in the financial and technology sectors. The Kingdom’s reputation as an accommodating business environment has recently been solidified by its achievement of ranking #1 globally as the ‘Best Destination for Getting Started Abroad’ in 2023, as per the Expat Essentials Index published by InterNations. This acknowledgment mirrors the Kingdom’s dedication to fostering a welcoming atmosphere for global engagement.

But today Bahrain is also positioning itself on the map as a thriving conference destination. The Tourism Strategy 2022-2026 has reinforced this commitment, with the introduction of Exhibition World Bahrain, the largest and newest convention and exhibition centre in the region. This monumental addition signifies Bahrain’s ambition to assert its presence as a major global destination for regional and international conventions, propelling it to the forefront of the business events industry.

Case in point: Bahrain made, in 2022, a resounding re-entry into the top 100 of the ICCA Global Rankings, securing the 89th position for international events held at Exhibition World Bahrain. This achievement underscores the Kingdom’s progress and its ascent in the global events landscape.

Dr. Nasser Qaedi, CEO of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, puts it like this: “We’ve seen that Bahrain holds great appeal for MICE visitors due to our luxury hotels, world-class infrastructure, and strategic location. Bahrain’s rich history and cultural heritage make it a unique destination for business events. Exhibition World Bahrain now provides a platform for international exhibitions and conferences that couldn’t be hosted here previously. We’re eager to collaborate with new international partners to attract more large-scale events.”

A Nexus of Opportunities

Indeed, Exhibition World Bahrain (EWB) stands as a testament to the Kingdom’s burgeoning status as a conference destination. Boasting Arabesque accents that gracefully fuse contemporary design with Bahrain’s rich heritage, the venue stands as a symbol of the nation’s modernity while honoring its roots.

“Exhibition World Bahrain is situated in a dynamic area adjacent to the Bahrain International Circuit and the Al Dana Amphitheatre. The Kingdom is investing in strategic projects that contribute to economic growth. EWB is designed to cater to every type of event, delivering exceptional experiences and ensuring success for all event organizers,” said Dr. Qaedi.

Since its inauguration, EWB has hosted more than half a million visitors as of July 2023. Its prominence is further validated by its nomination for the Middle East’s Leading Exhibition and Convention Centre 2023 award by the World Travel Awards.

Spanning over 309,000 square meters with both indoor and outdoor spaces, the venue provides a staggering 149,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor leasable space. Its flexibility and adaptability cater to diverse event requirements, offering a comprehensive range of world-class services. With ten exhibition halls covering a collective area of 95,000 square meters, the venue also features a Grand Hall accommodating up to 4,000 seats and 19 meeting rooms.

Exhibition World Bahrain (EWB)

Sustainability & More

But Exhibition World Bahrain’s commitment extends beyond its architectural prowess and event hosting capabilities. Driven by a comprehensive CSR strategy, the venue actively contributes to the Kingdom’s social, economic, and environmental welfare. The strategy revolves around three key pillars: Protecting the Environment, Investing in People, and Strengthening the Community.

In this regard, the venue is dedicated to sustainability, and embraces initiatives to minimize energy and water consumption, reduce carbon footprint, and eliminate single-use plastics. This approach aligns seamlessly with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, which underscores the Kingdom’s aspirations for sustainable and innovative progress. “The Kingdom’s dedication to sustainability is evident through EWB’s solar power project and its adherence to environmental standards. Bahrain’s emphasis on technology and innovation in tourism is recognized globally,” argues Dr. Qaedi.

EWB also invests in people and collaborates with educational institutions to cultivate a skilled workforce in the exhibitions, tourism, and hospitality sectors. This investment not only nurtures Bahrain’s youth but also drives the Kingdom’s expertise in the industry.

Last but not least, the venue’s commitment extends to its collaboration with organizations, such as the Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioral and Communication Difficulties, to host events that contribute to community welfare.

As Bahrain’s narrative in the MICE industry continues to unfold, Exhibition World Bahrain serves as a vibrant hub for progress and innovation, reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to shaping a remarkable future in the world of global events.


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