Arabian Travel Market is under way at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre - and is expected to feature some 2,600 exhibitors from 64 countries, marking a 24 per cent increase over last year.
Arabian Travel Market 2007 - the 14th in the annual series - is occupying 24,600 square metres, up 11 per cent on last year, and will showcase a host of initiatives including an expanded seminar programme, an upgraded media centre, and a new dedicated area for tourism developments.
“Arabian Travel Market 2007 has been re-engineered, incorporating changes prompted by exhibitor and visitor feedback,” said Tom Nutley, Chairman, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), organiser of the event.
“This highly successful series has maintained annual growth since its inception - which is testimony to the huge surge in international travel and emergence of new destinations and products within the region and beyond.
“The outbound potential of the Middle East, particularly the Gulf, which embraces countries with some of the world’s highest per capita income, continues unabated and competition for the region’s traveller is becoming more intense than ever.
“At this year’s show there are 116 new exhibiting companies from 34 countries, including first-time representations from China, Croatia, Macau, Palestine, Peru, Ras Al Khaimah, Swaziland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe. Arabian Travel Market also marks Visit Palestine’s global exhibition debut - the huge business opportunities these new-to-market incumbents hold out are obvious.”
Arabian Travel Market 2007 also sees the show’s first dedicated arena for tourism developments housing all the multi-faceted and diverse attractions being built across the Middle East.
“Show visitors will be able to see in one place the future face of regional tourism,” said Nutley.
RTE also reports a huge increase in registered trade visitors - 15 per cent up on last year’s event.
“Registrations have come in from 122 countries - 67 per cent from the Middle East and North Africa, 16 per cent from Europe, 12 per cent from Asia, two per cent each from Africa and the Americas, while the remaining one per cent is from Australasia,” said Nutley.
“Our statistics show that nearly 70 per cent of them are of management status or above, 55 per cent have direct purchasing authority of which 17 per cent have a budget level of over US$ 1 million - further evidence that Arabian Travel Market attracts some of the world’s top buyers.”
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), under whose auspices Arabian Travel Market is staged, says the event takes on greater significance every year as tourism becomes a vital sector of the region’s economies.
“Arabian Travel Market provides the world an excellent opportunity to take note of the phenomenal pace of development in Dubai,” said Mohammed Khamis bin Hareb, Director, Operations and Marketing Division, DTCM.
“The event’s growth symbolically reflects the progress achieved by Dubai and the world confidence it enjoys. Arabian Travel Market 2007 is more significant to Dubai as it comes at a time when Dubai’s booming tourism industry is steaming ahead with spectacular growth levels. Tourism is Dubai’s strong economic sector and the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 places it among the six ‘building blocks’ for future growth.
“The total revenues of Dubai’s hotel industry increased by 22.8 per cent to cross the AED 11 billion mark in 2006, with an all-time record 6.5 million guests staying with Dubai’s 414 hotels and hotel apartments. Dubai will be able to post even stronger growth levels with 11,000 new hotel rooms entering the market this year to match demand.”
The Arabian Travel Market Hosted Buyer Programme will bring over 100 top international high-spend buyers from the leisure travel industry and specialists from the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) segments. They will stay at one of the Hyatt hotels situated in Dubai - the official hotel for the hosted buyer programme.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide, Emirates Airline said: “Emirates is delighted to once again join the excitement and buzz of the Arabian Travel Market, particularly this year with our spectacular Emirates Globe stand taking centre stage. The event gets bigger and bigger each time - and with it, so does Dubai’s reputation for being a destination of choice and an international aviation and tourism hub.”