The 15th Arabian Travel Market has welcomed record numbers of regional and international royal family members, organisers Reed Travel Exhibitions has revealed.“Arabian Travel Market 2008 is seeing across-the-board growth in all areas, including visitor numbers, exhibitor numbers and even ministerial and royal attendance,” said Simon Press, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market.
“The regal attendance figures are particularly pleasing as they reflect Arabian Travel Market’s status as the Middle East’s premier platform for the travel and tourism industry to conduct business.”
Simon Press attributed the record-breaking royal and high-ranking ministerial attendance figures to several governmental exhibitors and fact-finding delegations flying in to join the UAE contingent of royals and ministers.
“We have delegations from a host of international and Middle East nations and states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Malaysia, Yemen and Oman. As well as promoting their destination’s offerings, these participants are utilising the show’s increased content and knowledge delivery platforms to discuss how key issues and trends are impacting the global tourism industry at large and their destination’s individual strategies,” he said.
After opening Arabian Travel Market, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of the Emirates Airline Group, offered his own insight in to the show’s growth - which has seen international representation rise by ten percent and Middle East participation climb five percent on last year.
“I am happy to see how the show is growing. 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,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
His Royal Highness, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Chairman of the Board and Secretary General of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, who attended the opening day, said Arabian Travel Market continues to play a central role in the Kingdom’s international promotion as a global tourism destination.
“For six years, the Saudi tourism industry has grown simultaneously with Arabian Travel Market and we are optimistic that coming years will witness continued growth and development in the Saudi industry,” said HRH Prince Sultan.
“This year, we are here with three newly announced sectors, covering a range of tourism initiatives. We will be dealing with antiquities and museums, including exploration, plus accommodation, travel agents, tour operators and tourism masterplans.”
Officials from Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority also praised Arabian Travel Market’s credentials as a marketing vehicle for private industry sectors and as a platform to raise international awareness of Abu Dhabi as a world-class tourism destination.
“This is Abu Dhabi’s largest investment to date in Arabian Travel Market and it’s proving to be very worthwhile. As a branding awareness exercise, this platform is exceptional and as a business-driver it delivers substantial tangible results. Our private sector partners are reporting great interest in a destination which is now truly coming into its own,” said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.
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.