Arabian Travel Market to open on high note

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013

Dubai: As the region’s biggest travel and tourism event kicks off next week in Dubai, the hospitality industry is getting ready to showcase latest projects, share new ideas and discuss new trends.

The four-day event — from May 6 to May 9 — will see some of the largest travel, tourism and aviation professionals gather under one roof, holding debates on industry trends and challenges by the way of various seminars, presentations and exhibits.

The 20th edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is expected to attract up to 20,000 trade visitors, and will feature more than 2,500 exhibitors from hotels, airlines, tour operators, travel agencies and technology companies.

Some of the big names in the hotels and resorts industry participating in this year’s ATM include big names like Movenpick, Accor, The Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Rotana, Anantara and Fairmont. With many of these hotel chains having announced major projects in the recent months, ATM will offer them a platform to showcase their projects.

While the show, an annual event, is largely focused on Middle East region, tour operators from over 100 countries including South Africa, France, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka and many more are expected to have a strong presence at the show, as in previous years.

“This year’s event will focus on the development of Dubai’s and the overall region’s hospitality industry over the last 20 years. There has been a tremendous growth since then. We started ATM 20 years ago with 40 countries participating on a floor space of 2,500 square metres, whereas, this year we will see over 100 countries represented occupying 22,000 square metres of space,” Mark Walsh, portfolio director at Reed Travel Exhibitions, the event’s organisers, told Gulf News. He added that there is more positive sentiment in the industry this year.

On the aviation front, meanwhile, ATM will see a number of seminars being addressed by some of the key names in the industry, including Emirates president Tim Clark. Kicking off the debate, titled ‘The Big Conversation’ on the first day of the show, will be Clark and Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, as they highlight their groundbreaking partnership.

Other big names include Gaith Al Gaith, CEO of flydubai; Randy Tinseth, vice-president of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airlines; Aage Dunhaupt, director of Group Communications, South-East Europe, Middle East and Africa at Lufthansa; Sunil Malhotra, director of the Aviation Sector, Middle East and North Africa, for Ernst Young, as well as officials from Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia. The event comes at a time when there is a strong uptake in the region’s travel and tourism industry. The UAE’s tourism revenue, for instance, is projected to increase by 67 per cent over the next few years, by 2016. The region is now entering a new era of stability and increased connectivity and expansion of existing infrastructure.

Quoting an October 2012 study by Alpen Capital, the event organisers had recently said that the UAE’s hospitality market is likely to reach $7.5 billion by 2016, up from $4.5 billion in 2011 as visitor demand gains traction and new hotel supply enhances the existing tourism product.

Tourist arrivals in the UAE, meanwhile, are forecast to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.3 per cent between 2012 and 2022, as per industry reports. And hotel supply is expected to increase from the current 96,992 hotel rooms in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to a total of 125,383 hotel rooms by 2016.

A new feature to the event, this year’s ATM will see the launch of ‘Digital and Technology Day’ focused on online travel developments and showcasing key speakers from across the industry.

By Shweta Jain Senior Reporter

Gulf News 2013. All rights reserved.


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