The 14th Arabian Travel Market got underway in Dubai yesterday. Speaking exclusively to Breaking Travel News at the opening, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “I’m very impressed with what I see.“His Highness was visiting the Dubailand stand, where he unveiled a huge Lego structure of the Burj al Arab, as well as looking at models of how the Dubailand complex is developing.
“It’s beautiful,” His Highness added. “And gives a great insight into how Dubailand will look.”
This year has witnessed the largest ever exhibitor base of 2,208, participants from 70 countries - an 8% increase on last year.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of the Emirates Airline Group, said: “Tourism is booming across the Middle East, not only here in the UAE. However, this growth can only continue if we take a consolidated approach to make sure that each country’s individual tourism products and domestic strategies compliment one another”.
Floorspace bookings from international representatives in Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa has also grown by 10% for this year’s edition with close to 90 new-to-market exhibitors, as well as increased space uptake from over 62 national tourist bodies with products and services representing 70 countries, including show debutants Bangladesh, The Philippines, Djibouti, Georgia, Senegal and Nepal.
He said: “I am happy to see how the show has grown. When we started 15 years ago, it was much smaller, but the growth over the last decade has been staggering. To see this year that it has over 2,000 exhibitors from across the world, with a stronger regional participation, is a signal that future growth will be phenomenal,” added Sheikh Ahmed.
Regional bookings for 2008’s show are up five percent on last year, with representation from all Middle East countries - a show first - signalling a strengthening of the region’s diverse tourism propositions.