National Exhibitions Company (Adnec) is hoping the London Olympics this summer will help the emirateto compete for a bigger share of the global conference and events industry.
Adnec is preparing to host tens of thousands of visitors a day for the Games at the vast convention centre it owns in the British capital.
ExCeL London, which Adnec acquired for Dh2.3 billion (US$626.1 million) in 2008, is one of the largest venues for the Games.
"It is also the only venue to host an Olympic event every single day of the Games," Adnec said, adding it was expected to attract more than 70,000 visitors each day.
The centre is hosting seven Olympic events including boxing, wrestling, judo, table tennis and fencing. Six Paralympic events are also being held at the venue. A global television audience of up to 4 billion viewers is expected to watch the Olympics, which start on July 27.
Adnec has ploughed substantial investment into the exhibition centre, located in the Docklands area, ahead of the Games. This includes a £165m (Dh944.6m) extension of the building, which increased its size by 50 per cent. Adnec also built an Aloft hotel at the venue.
"The impact of this investment goes further than the London 2012 Games," Adnec said.
"It has meant ExCeL London has been able to compete for a larger number of events, and events of larger scale, too. This has already had a positive economic ripple effect on the city of London."
The events sector, estimated to be worth some $300bn a year globally, is also intended to play an important role in Abu Dhabi's plans to attract 7.9 million hotel guests a year by 2030. There is stiff competition, with Dubai and Qatar, among others, also vying for their share of the market.
"The benefits of this investment have been mutual," said Adnec. "ExCeL London helps to promote Abu Dhabi as a destination for … international events."
A total of 231 events were held at Adnec last year compared with 148 in 2010, the company reported. It is investing Dh8bn in developing the Capital Centre exhibition district in Abu Dhabi, with several hotels, offices and residential buildings.
Adnec is also developing the Dh3.5bn Al Ain Convention Centre district, designed to have conference facilities, hotels, and residential and commercial buildings.