Arabian Travel Market could well double in size within the next five years, according to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai and Chairman of the Emirates Group.Sheikh Ahmed made the comment after opening Arabian Travel Market 2007 - the largest in the annual series with some 2,600 exhibitors from 64 countries - a 24 per cent increase on last year.
Sheikh Ahmed spent one hour 45 minutes on a 1.8 kilometres tour of the show, which takes up nine halls at DICEC - occupying 24,600 square metres, up 11 per cent on last year - accompanied by Tom Nutley, Chairman, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organises the show.
“This exhibition is definitely going to continue on a growth pattern and although it is difficult to say exactly what the growth will be, it could well double in size by 2012,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
Arabian Travel Market 2007 runs at the DICEC until Friday night. It features 116 new exhibiting companies from 34 countries, including first-time representations from China, Croatia, Macau, Palestine, Peru, Ras Al Khaimah, Swaziland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe. The show also marks Visit Palestine’s global exhibition debut.
The show also features an expanded educational seminar programme, designed, according to Nutley, to live up to RTE’s aim of assisting the progression of the travel and tourism industry.
“We are delivering content,” said Nutley. “The show is delivering information, an array of product, services and destinations, innovation and education. We want visitors to walk away from Arabian Travel Market having been immersed in the latest news, launches and visions from this exciting and dynamic travel market.
“Arabian Travel Market draws people together with common needs and focus, creating a strong community within the travel industry as a whole; fostering productive and often life-long business relationships.”
Nutley said that currently the Middle East is a key focus for the international travel and tourism industry.
“The Middle East has a bright future. Massive development is being undertaken over the whole region and all eyes seem to be turned towards tourism. The World Travel and Tourism Council, in a recent report, states that Middle East tourism is growing by over four per cent year-on-year and that trend is set to continue for the next ten years. There is no better place to be than the Middle East travel industry,” he said.
Arabian Travel Market is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and under the auspices of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
On May 2 & 3, Arabian Travel Market is a trade-only forum. On Thursday, May 3 from 17.00 and on Friday, May 4 the show is open to the general public. This year, adults pay an AED 20 entry fee, while accompanied youngsters under 16 and American Express cardmembers, are allowed in free.
A percentage of total entry fees will be donated to ‘Just a Drop’ - RTE’s chosen charity providing clean water for needy children around the globe.
Hyatt hotels situated in Dubai are the official hotel for the hosted buyer programme.
Net Group is the official ground-handler for the event, while RTE is working closely with the DICEC and The Big Bus Company to ensure visitors to the show are able to commute to and from the venue as easily as possible.
American Express - the official payment card for the event - has an exclusive lounge at the show for its members to use for meetings.
Two of Dubai’s leading annual tourism marketing extravaganzas - Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises - are sponsoring the media centre, which has three press conference rooms this year - one up on last year.