Reed Travel Exhibitions, the company behind Arabian Travel Market is planning a series of thought-leadership seminars for this year’s 15th edition, to boost its knowledge delivery role.Tackling key industry issues, the 14 seminars, which will be staged for the first time on the show floor, will cover critical human resource issues in the region, ground-breaking medical tourism initiatives, recruitment and retention strategies in the Middle East’s hotel industry, the future of travel agents and the development of online travel bookings and the role of the internet and new web marketing techniques going forward.
“For 2008, we have worked closely with exhibitors and industry leaders to drive content for the seminars with topics being developed on last year’s post show research,” said Sarah Kitley, Marketing Executive, Arabian Travel Market. “We have spent considerable time conversing with exhibitors to identify their key business challenges. The seminar subject matter is a direct response to meeting these needs.”
The seminars, chaired by well-known ‘industry heavyweights’, will be a major pull for top-level visitors, decision makers and governmental officials, according to Reed Travel Exhibitions.
“With everybody’s time becoming increasingly precious, we want to ensure we offer an engaging platform and that this is communicated to the audience in such a way that the event continues to be the essential place to do business and increase industry knowledge,” said Simon Press, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market.
“We have consistently reviewed the seminar programme to ensure its addresses all the key issues impacting the industry, and this year is no exception. One of the main factors in 2008 is for the programme to focus on both region-specific trends as well as those affecting the global market.”
Destination and company sign up for the Arabian Travel Market 2008, which is running at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 6-9th May, is picking up pace with over 100 main stand holders from 45 countries already signed up.
Many of the industry’s biggest tourism and hospitality names have confirmed for 2008 including Jumeirah, Nakheel, Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Refad Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group and regional carriers such as Emirates, the show’s official carrier, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Oman Air and Etihad.
The exhibition has seen steady overall space uptake by nearly 40 national tourist bodies representing 30 countries, including new-to-market showings from Bangladesh, Croatia and Nigeria.
“The Arabian Travel Market has continued to go from strength-to-strength as it cements its position as the Middle East’s longest-standing travel and tourism forum for providing exhibitors and buyers a common platform to interact, learn, network and conduct business, in what is arguably the world’s fastest growing tourism region,” said Press.
“We are seeing a greater geographical spread of exhibitors for 2008, which is being primarily driven by the expansion in air-links from regional carriers, especially to the Americas and Asia, as well increased global awareness of the Middle East as a highly-sought after tourism and sporting destination.
“We had half the exhibition contracted ahead of schedule and have closed in on two-thirds in this first quarter, which reflects the growing importance of this region and the boom in the Middle East’s tourism industry and its inbound and outbound appeal.”
Organisers of the four-day event have introduced key changes to the 2008 show format in response to exhibitor feedback to foster an increased B2B setting.
The 2008 Arabian Travel Market will be trade-only on the first three days, with public invited on the final day. This year will also boast an improved floorplan with hotel, travel and technology companies being flanked by Europe on one side and the United Arab Emirates and Middle East on the other, followed by Africa, the Americas and Asia.
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, Ruler of Dubai, and under the auspices of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai.