The Board of the International Atherosclerosis Society (IAS) has just announced at the General Assembly at the ISA 2018 (the XVIIIth International Symposium on Atherosclerosis) in Toronto, Canada that the Oman Society of Lipid & Atherosclerosis (OSLA) has won the bid to host the Triennial International Symposium on Atherosclerosis in 2024 in the Sultanate of Oman. The 3-day event has an expected attendance of up to 2,500 delegates.
This, the 20th edition, will be the first time that the conference will be hosted in the Middle East with the first one held in 1967 in Chicago and more recent editions in Sydney, Australia and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 19th edition will be in Kyoto, Japan in 2021.
The team led, by Dr. Khalid Al Rasadi, President and Dr. Fahad Al Zadjali, Secretary of OSLA won the very competitive bid competing against Dubai, UAE, St Petersburg, Russia and New Delhi, India. The winning team included Khalid Al Zadjali, Director of the Oman Convention Bureau (OCB) and Gillian Taylor, Director of Business Development, Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC).
Dr. Khalid Al Rasadi said, “Bringing this international conference with global experts and having them share their knowledge will benefit not just Oman but also all of the GCC and surrounding countries. We are very confident that we will get large numbers of delegates from all over the world as Oman is such an attractive destination.”
One of the key reasons cited for winning was the involvement, engagement and activities undertaken by OSLA who hold annual courses along with local and regional events. The association is also strongly involved with the International Atherosclerosis Society of which Dr. Khalid Al Rasadi is an active Board member Dr. Khalid Al Rasadi added his appreciation for the strong support of the OSLA board members and their vision and ambitions to bring such important events to the region in the field of Lipid and Atherosclerosis.
Khalid Al Zadjali, Director of the Oman Convention Bureau stated that, “The symposium will bring direct, indirect and induced economic benefits to the Sultanate in addition to the strategic impact such an event has on the country. Conference attendees are high on the list of visitors that the Sultanate wishes to attract and we know that they will leave with a positive impression and may return at a future dates with their families, colleagues or friends.” The Ministry of Tourism of Oman is targeting 11 million visitors by 2040 and “Business Events” is one of the key target markets as, typically, they bring 2-3 times more economic value to a country than leisure travellers.
The world class Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre has been built especially to attract and accommodate international events such as this and includes a 3,200-person theatre, 22,000 sqm of pillar-less exhibition space and 55 different meeting spaces to choose from.
OCB and OCEC have spent some time already in working with and helping to develop the local association market in Oman and have encouraged leaders and subject matter experts to bid for the international association conferences in their field. Oman is lucky in that the local association market is very strong especially in the fields of healthcare, heritage, culture and tourism, infrastructure and logistics.
Persistent promotional activities and strong Omani leaders in their respective fields has led to Oman recently winning 16 regional and international association conferences
The number of association meetings in Oman has doubled in 2017 as recorded by the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA’s) recently released statistics and Oman is now placed 2nd in the Middle East and 86th in the world for the number of international meetings hosted in 2017.