Technology, a boom in home-grown hospitality brands and the need for more mid-market tourism products, headline 2014 luxury-themed event programme; over 100 new exhibitors sign up for 21st edition of annual travel trade showcase
The latest statistics from ATM organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions, indicate that demand from new exhibitors at ATM, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from 5-8 May 2014, has merited the addition of an extra hall bringing total event floor space to 23,500 square metres - an increase of almost 7% on 2013.
In addition more than 100 new exhibitors will make their ATM debut including Kenzi Hospitality, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Al Rais Tours & Holidays LLC, Al-Futtaim Travel LLC, Kuwait Airways and Akbar Gulf Travels of India, adding their voice to over 2,500 confirmed exhibitors ready to welcome an expected 21,000 trade visitors.
Vertical sector growth has been repeated yet again, with travel technology company presence up 14% as technological innovation and online booking trends dominate strategic development. In terms of geographical regions, the number of Middle East and UAE exhibitors has increased by an impressive 11% with Asia exhibitors rising by 7% on 2013 attendance.
“An increasing number of home-grown hotel brands along with our spotlight on luxury tourism have contributed significantly to the 5% growth we have experienced in the hotel sector at ATM. Add to that our 120 targeted Hosted Buyers, who represent the luxury sector, cruise, medical and leisure markets, and we have the makings of an incredibly diverse event this year,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
The newly launched ‘Spotlight on Luxury’, which holds particular relevance for the region, will feature luxury-focused seminar sessions and invited hosted buyers directly responsible for this valuable market segment. High-end hotel and destination exhibitors will also showcase their luxury positioning with well-known hospitality brands such as Anantara, Mandarin Oriental, Raffles, Oberoi, Bulgari and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company taking part, along with luxury destinations such as Monaco, Mauritius, Maldives and the Seychelles.
“Luxury is one of three major global trends that we have identified and incorporated into this year’s programme and offers priceless opportunities for the industry, both inbound and outbound, with GCC nationals in particular spending 260% more on airfares than other nationalities and 430% more on accommodation when they travel,” noted Walsh.
“At the other end of the spectrum, we are also seeing ongoing interest and discussions around the opportunities for development in the mid-market tourism category, from accommodation to activities, and specifically for destinations such as Dubai as it begins the countdown to its hosting of Expo 2020. And this also ties in with the third trend – the growth of home-grown brands and independent chains across the Middle East, many of which are making their presence felt at a ‘local’ level as well as looking beyond regional borders and going global as part of ambitious growth plans,” he added.
Another new feature for 2014 is the centrally located ATM Live Wall, where participants will be able to view live streaming of industry interviews, seminar excerpts and other show highlights. This will be complemented by the introduction of an Exhibitor Showcase Theatre in the heart of the action on the show floor, and the location where exhibitors will be able to present their products and services at a 30-minute session.
The ATM 2014 calendar also encompasses more than 30 wide-ranging seminar and tech theatre sessions covering aviation, cruise tourism, mobile trends and the rising demand for wellness tourism. Some of the region’s most influential business leaders including Adel Ali, CEO of Air Arabia; Simon Lynch, Director of Business Development, Abercrombie & Kent; and Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Strategy & Policy Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will be speaking, supported by an international line-up of respected industry experts.
Sabre, the technology solutions provider to the global travel and tourism industry, has been named as sponsor of the popular Travel Technology Theatre where 16 dedicated sessions will address key industry topics from hints and tips for building a brand online to how to find and work with travel bloggers.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.