The 20th edition of the Arabian Travel Market opened to a packed audience of delegates from around the world. Celebrating two decades of the Middle East’s pre-eminent tourism and hospitality platform, this year ATM focused on the aviation industry, the importance of cooperation among players for development in the sector, relaxation of visa regime by Saudi Arabia, and the growing interest in the UAE among travellers from Asia Pacific. Air travel was one of the eight major sectors highlighted at the event, alongside budget travel, careers, health and well-being, luxury, shopping, sports, and cruise and water-based travel. The demand from exhibitors pushed floor space to a record high of over 22,000 square metres, a 6 per cent rise over last year.
The travel trade show was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He stated that ATM has become the bedrock of Dubai’s economy since the event was launched in May 1994. “ATM has played a vital role in Dubai’s development, underscoring its position as a highly attractive centre for exhibitions and events. Every year during ATM, the travel industry arrives in Dubai to take a look into the future of travel and tourism. As Dubai has grown, the show has grown with it and has become one of the most important events on the global industry calendar.”
“We have come a very long way and this is a far cry from the 7,000 tourism professionals who visited for the very first time in the early 1990s,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
He further added that Dubai has achieved so much at a pace that many other cities can only dream of. “Dubai’s strategic plan builds on those achievements and highlights areas such as the economy, infrastructure and environment,” he said, adding that ATM has grown from 300 exhibitors in 1994 to more than 3,000 this year – a period during which Dubai’s passenger traffic rose from 1.9 million to 40 million. “Tourism is currently the Emirate’s second largest industry and this has huge significance for the economy as US$80 billion worth of investment into key infrastructure projects including airport expansion, railways and roads comes to fruition in the next 10 years,” he said.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) & Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), stated, “For one week in May every year, the global travel industry assembles under one roof to celebrate the travel industry. Through ATM, we will continue to create a common interactive platform for the international/ local buyers andexhibitors.” He further added that in the past eight years, Dubai has doubled the number of tourists and become the seventh most visited city globally. “Growth rates are expected to be the same as those achieved in the past years and these may rise going ahead.”
Carl Vaz, Director, DTCM India added, “We feel proud to have successfully hosted the largest delegation from India till date, these are people who are all decision makers representing different parts of the country. These buyers have not only successfully completed the Dubai Expert Online Training Programme but were handpicked after carefully evaluating their ability to aggressively promote and market Dubai. India represents the 2nd top source market (after Saudi Arabia) for inward visitor traffic into Dubai this clearly indicates the importance of India as a source market for Dubai”
Developments at Arabian Travel Market 2013
Dubai shows off its Expo 2020 vision
Held every five years for a period of six months, World Expo attracts millions of visitors. The UAE is currenty bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future.’ Dubai is pulling out all the stops in its bid for the Expo 2020, Reem Al Hashimy Minister of State said that the Emirate has not been deterred from thinking big despite the tough events of recent years. “In the last couple of years, Dubai has proven its ability to rise above and beyond its challenges. The bid team is looking to mount an event that fires the imaginations of those well beyond the UAE,” she said.
If successful, it would be the first time a World Expo would have been held in MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asian) region in the history of the event. Hashimy further informed, “With the strength of UAE’s robust infrastructure, geographical positioning and global connectivity, Dubai Expo 2020 can expect to attract 25 million visitors offering a diverse and exciting international profile for visitors and participants alike.” She further added that for the first time in the history of World Expo, more than 70 per cent of the visitors would stem from beyond the host nation offering opportunities to both the developed and the developing world.
The winning city will be announced in Paris in November 2013.
UAE rejoins UNWTO
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has rejoined the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), announced Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO at the UNWTO Ministerial Forum running concurrently with ATM. “The UAE plays a very important role not only in the development of tourism but also in linking the Middle East with other regions. We expect that by working together we will enhance tourism within and to the Emirates as well as increase regional cooperation,” he said.
The UAE and UNWTO will work on several initiatives including the measurement of the economic impact of tourism, statistics and human resources development.
Dubai launches ‘Summer is Dubai’
Dubai will run the ‘Summer is Dubai’ campaign from 7 June to 7 September, 2013. The campaign will highlight the leisure and tourism offerings of the Emirate and showcase the city as a summer destination. The campaign will be launched through a series of digital marketing initiatives.
The ‘Summer is Dubai’ campaign aims to attract visitors to the emirate with festivities, special occasions and celebrations that are a feature of Dubai’s summer season, including Dubai Summer Surprises, Modhesh World and a number of other events, before the season moves into Ramadan in Dubai and finally Eid in Dubai. ‘Summer is Dubai’ is in line with the vision of Maktoum to position the city as the region’s ultimate family tourism destination throughout the year, especially during the summer season, said Helal Saeed Al Merri, Director-General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
“After a long and strong association with ATM, it has been a delight to watch the show evolve into something so grand. It remains an extremely important show for anyone in the inbound and outbound tourism business.”
- Kulwant Singh, Managing Director, Lama Tours
“Dubai has set a target of achieving 20 million visitors a year by 2020. Through ATM I am sure they will be able to achieve their target. I am extremely pleased by the turnout and I hope Portugal can gain momentum through it.”
- Isabel Almeida, Project Manager- Operations Department Marketing & Promotion Division, Tourism Portugal
“My main reason for visiting ATM 2013 was to meet and build my business with the trade. The expo proved to be a great tool for it and to generally fuel business. I am very happy with the exhibitor quality.”
- Marzban Antia, Managing Director, Avesta Travels & Tours
“The event has helped my business grow in this region. It is a big travel bazaar and I am hope to build long term business relations with new properties and agents. I look forward to visiting ATM next year.”
- Mehernosh Colombowalla, Beyond Borders (Travel Management)
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