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WTA winners at ATM for Travel Agents Day

WTA winners at ATM for Travel Agents Day

There was still plenty of enthusiasm among attendees at the Dubai International Convention Centre today as the annual Arabian Travel Market entered the home straight.

Among those attracting most attention was HE Sheikh Faisal Khalid, President of Orient Tours, who was celebrating a recent success at the World Travel Awards.

Pictured: HE Sheikh Faisal Khalid, President & Chief Executive Officer, Orient Tours

Following a gala event at The Address Dubai Marina, Orient walked away with the awards for Middle East’s Leading Tour Operator, UAE’s Leading Desert Safari Experience and UAE’s Leading Business Travel Agency. Not bad for a night’s work.

Also on the floor of the convention centre today was Kees Hartzuiker, chief executive of Rixos Hotels. Having previously served as vice president of operations for the Hilton Hotel chain in Asia, Mr Hartzuiker took up his post with Rixos earlier this year, assuming responsibility for 12 properties in five countries.

Kees Hartzuike at Arabian Travel Market today

Later this year the Rixos Hotel Premium Belek, in Turkey, will host the Europe Gala Ceremony of the World Travel Awards, in what promises to be one of the most competitive events in years.

Also brandishing a new World Travel Award was John Flower, business development manager with Illusions Online.


A team from the inbound travel solutions provider took the coveted award for Middle East’s Leading Travel Technology Provider on Monday night and were still celebrating at ATM today.

Pictured: John Flower from Illusions Online with the group’s World Travel Awards

Alongside these winners were leading travel agents from the Middle East, stepping into the limelight as the event celebrates their essential role in the industry.

Event organisers Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) reported a significant increase in the number of agents attending when compared to previous years - a trend the group believes is spurred by the event’s enhanced activity focus for travel professionals.

In response Reed has designated today Travel Agent Day - an initiative designed to foster the latest top class travel and tourism education among trade professionals.

“Travel Agents Day combines skills learning, product knowledge and great competitions, wrapped up in an informative yet educational package to bolster increased business interaction between tourism bodies and those on the front line of this industry,” explained Mark Walsh at RTE.

“Through this scheme, we hope to create long-lasting relationships which greatly benefit the sector going forward.”

Also attending ATM today were a team from Soho Square’s Sharm El Sheikh resort in Egypt, who were preparing for this summers visit from Nancy Ajram and Khaled Selim, with superstar Ragheb Alama also set to appear later this year

The new-look Travel Agents Day format affords destinations an opportunity to showcase their brand to the regional and international industry in a dedicated show-floor theatre.

In addition, organisers have introduced a new badging system for agents, which make them easy to identify for exhibitors.

“It is important destinations are doing their utmost to communicate their differentiating points to those who are on the ground day-in, day-out selling the product,” added Mr Walsh.

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.