Abu Dhabi, the capital
city of the United Arab Emirates, has won the bid to host the World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC) 2012, which is
expected to attract in excess of 12,000 international delegates. WOC is
one of the world’s longest running and largest international medical meetings.
Established in 1857 the Abu Dhabi event represents the 33rd congress of its type.
Being sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), the WOC 2012 is being hosted in Abu Dhabi by the Middle East African
Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO). The move is a major coup for the UAE capital and a huge boost to its credentials as a
preferred destination for international medical meetings.
WOC 2012 will be held at the ultra-modern Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in February 2012.
“WOC 2012 will very much be a case of the world’s oldest, and one of its most successful, international medical gatherings convening within the
confines of one of the world’s most modern convention complexes to deliver an event of truly world-class standing,” said His Excellency Sheikh
Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and of
ADNEC. “It also gives us an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate Abu Dhabi’s capabilities as a world-class convention destination and its
uncompromising approach to delivering unparalleled hospitality.”
WOC is a biennial event traditionally held in a different world region – with 2012 marking its debut on Middle East and African territory.
“The move to the Middle East and Africa represents a significant outreach for ICO which has traditionally opted for more conventional venues
within the Americas, Europe and Asia,” said Dr. Bruce Spivey, President,
ICO. “We are delivering a strong message to our colleagues in the Middle East and Africa that their specific concerns are also ours – an approach
which is firmly in line with the WOC’s mission of contributing to the progress of ophthalmology by stimulating discussion among professionals
involved in this rapidly advancing scientific and medical discipline.”
MICE industry is a key focus of Abu Dhabi’s
inbound tourism strategy and is being prioritised for its multi-beneficial destination returns.
“This sector has higher economic returns delivering between seven-to-nine times more income to a destination than leisure tourism,” explained
Sheikh Sultan. “The benefits though extend well beyond the convention as it is highly sustainable being resilient to economic downturns, it often leads to
foreign direct investment, exports knowledge transfer and development collaboration and produces significant repeat delegate visitation.”
As part of ADTA’s philantrophic contribution, it has offered to provide 200 hotel rooms within the UAE capital which will be allocated to WOC
delegates from less wealthy developing nations within the Middle East and Africa region.
“Abu Dhabi’s hotel room inventory will be in excess of 26,000 in 2012 and the destination is also rapidly developing the international convention
expertise to ensure its success as a major global meetings destination,”
Sheikh Sultan added.
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