Apr 30 2012
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ATM opens on Monday April 30
Dubai expects 10.1 million visitors in 2012
The four-day trade and tourism event also doesn't shy away from the political turmoil that had the region engulfed since last year, with a special UNWTO meet planned on the side lines on the first day that will see tourism ministers from the Mideast discuss ideas to tackle the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
Said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions: "This is the first time in the 19-year history of the show that such an event is being planned. Barring Syria and Yemen, for obvious reasons, all the other major players from the region will have representatives arriving for the seminar to discuss the challenges that have come into play regarding tourism post Arab Spring.
"We are looking at regional collaborations in greater detail to draw in tourists in greater numbers," he said.
Dubai still top draw
However, despite the dismal tourism figures for many in the region, the UAE continued to draw in the numbers in 2011, with projections for 2012 recording an increase of nine per cent in visitor numbers, according to Walsh.
Saleh Mohammed Al Geziry, director of overseas promotions and inward missions at Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), echoed the statement, saying: "In 2011, Dubai alone posted a growth of 10 per cent in visitor arrivals to 9.3 million hotel and cruise visitors, with nearly 32.8 million guest nights recorded."
The latter figure recorded a 23 per cent increase over 2010, with industry pundits saying that the emirate benefitted from the regional turmoil as many holidaymakers chose the UAE as a safer bet to plan their breaks.
Region on a high
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, nearly $38 billion was invested in 2011 in the region to support leisure and tourism development.
This figure is expected to rise to $41 billion in 2012, with a $19.9 billion earmarked for the GCC countries alone, according to Al Geziry.
Walsh stated that regional tourism growth will be particularly accelerated in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.
ATM 2012, which is expecting 23,000 visitors, is being held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Conference Centre until May 3. © Emirates 24|7 2012
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