Saudi Conventions and Exhibitions General Authority is investing in brand equity promotions for the local meetings and events industry, relevant education to build a pool of events professionals, and training packages for business in the events ecosystem.
These efforts are meant to make Saudi Arabia an even more attractive destination for association meetings, according to Amjad Shacker, CEO, Saudi Conventions and Exhibitions General Authority.
Speaking to TTGassociations at the 62nd ICCA Congress in Bangkok, Amjad said: “(A destination needs) human capital because without it, none of the infrastructure for meetings – the venues, the regulations, the bylaws and the standards – will be possible.”
He shared that work to “educate the masses on this industry” is ongoing, and it has resulted in many “young female and male Saudis eager to participate” as well as the emergence of start-ups in the events ecosystem.
“Our job is to hold their hands to guide them, to educate them. We are also conducting a lot of training with international associations, and are putting together educational packages to help SMEs and start-ups grow to a bigger scale,” he said, adding that collaboration with educational institutions has made “courses at various levels” available to anyone keen on a meetings and events profession.
“We are working with governments and we’ve signed an MoU to train 11,000 people,” said Amjad.
Meanwhile, he also sees value in getting Saudi entities to join international trade associations like ICCA. “We are educating them on the merits of joining such associations. They can benefit from networking and shared experience, and access some of the training courses,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has been hot in the news in recent times, having hosted several high-profile meetings such as UNWTO’s World Tourism Day 2023 in Riyadh in September, the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in October, and the Eighth Extraordinary Islamic Summit this month.