Apr 30 2012
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Travel fair highlights visitor surge
Monday, Apr 30, 2012
Dubai: The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) opens in Dubai this morning amid renewed confidence in the region’s tourism industry.
The event, which is in its 19th year, is taking place amid a backdrop of rising visitor numbers and strong hotel occupancy rates, bolstering sentiment in a sector that has faced numerous difficulties in recent years as a result of economic problems in Europe and political uncertainty across the Middle East.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, almost $38 billion (Dh139.56 billion) was invested last year to support regional leisure and ?tourism development; a figure projected to rise to $41 billion this year.
Dubai’s hotels reported a strong performance last year with guest nights rising to 32.8 million, an increase of 23 per cent year-on-year. Total revenues also jumped 20 per cent to Dh16 billion.
“Dubai leads the region in terms of tourism growth,” said Saleh Al Geziry, director of overseas promotion and inward missions at the DTCM.
It is not just the UAE, however, that is showing strong regional growth with research by market intelligence firm Euromonitor predicting strong growth in Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the next few years.
This year’s ATM features more than 2,400 exhibitors from 87 countries with 11 destinations — including Romania, Zimbabwe and Mauritius — having a presence for the first time.
The four-day programme will also see tourism ministers from across the Middle East meeting to discuss ways to drive the region’s tourism agenda.
Route expansion by the region’s major carriers is also helping to open up the Gulf and broader Middle East to new markets with Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways all announcing new destinations in the last year.
“ATM is an ideal platform to raise awareness for our new destinations,” said Salem Obaid Allah, Emirates’ senior vice-president of commercial operations for Europe and the Russian Federation.
By Kevin Scott, Staff Reporter
© Gulf News 2012. All rights reserved.
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