ATM braves the downturn

Trade visitor numbers at Arabian Travel Market were up 2.3 percent on the first day of this year’s show compared to 2008, according to organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions. In addition, overall visitor numbers, which includes press and buyers club members, is up 3.4 percent on last year (as of 2pm Wednesday May 6th 2009). 
And according to Reed Travel Exhibitions, the rise in visitors underlines the industry’s desire to target and utilise key trade events that foster greater business interaction and instigate discussion - critical factors in the sector’s recovery.

“It’s no secret that the industry is actively targeting the number one event in its sector to help generate essential business partnerships and leads. As marketing budgets continue to shrink, companies and government bodies alike know that if they commit to event, both in terms of finance and time, it needs to deliver…and deliver well. The rise in first day figures for Arabian Travel Market 2009, especially given that we are in the midst of some of the harshest trading conditions we have ever faced, speaks volumes about the show and, most importantly, the determination of the industry as a whole,” said Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

“However, as we’ve said before, our focus is on quality not quantity, and that is what we are actively pursuing. We are encouraged by initial figures and I hope we maintain this momentum going forward, and we see a strong increase in repeat visitors over the show’s four days.”

Arabian Travel Market 2009, taking place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, opened its doors this week with more than 2,100 exhibitors and stand-sharers, from 69 countries, including 70 new-to-market representatives. This year also saw sign-up from more than 60 national tourist bodies representing six continents, with the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Romania and Nigeria making their debuts.

Strong showings from Middle East and North African countries, representing more than 850 exhibitors, also saw Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Syria bring larger tourism contingents than last year.

As part of the show’s enhanced knowledge delivery role, Reed Travel Exhibitions has introduced Consumer & Careers Day on Friday 8 May. The programme, which is held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Education, is designed to introduce exhibitors to members of the general public with a keen interest to work within the industry or developing an existing career. The initiative allows visitors to conduct face-to-face meetings with potential employers and attend specific career workshops and seminars hosted by established industry representatives.

Experts will also be on hand to discuss their roles and answer career questions via the Careers Day Panel - a dedicated seminar session, taking place from 15.30 - 17.30, which includes a Pilot, Air Hostess, General Manager, Travel Editor, Travel Agent and a Hotel Area General Manager.


“Careers Day opens up a new avenue for the show and we hope that it will drive members of the public, with an interest in the industry, to come down and see what’s available to them. It really is a unique experience for those wanting to pursue a career in travel and tourism,” added Walsh.