HRH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirates vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, has officially inaugurated Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, in the presence of senior government officials, leaders of the regional and international travel industry as well as high-profile participants.
The event programme for day one of ATM brings together some of the most prominent travel and tourism organisations in the Middle East and internationally, from both public and private sectors.
Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of Arabian Travel Market, said: “As the first promising signs of democratic progression emerge in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring, the region’s tourism figures show that it is growing once again.
“This year’s ATM serves as a timely reminder and strong indicator of the vital role the travel and tourism industry plays in the region’s socio-economic development.
“A recent World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report showed the direct contribution of the travel and tourism trade to GDP is forecast to increase by 4.6 per cent to over $250 billion over the next decade.”
The 2012 instalment of ATM has seen a 46 per cent rise in visitor pre-registrations, against 2011 figures, for its 19th edition, as well as travel agent registration up by a whopping 213 per cent.
“The record figures we’re receiving for this year’s event reflects the region’s positive approach to the tourism sector as a major economic driver,” added Walsh.
HRH Sheikh Mohammed toured the exhibition with other dignitaries including HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive Emirates Airline & Group and Akbar Al Baker, chief executive Qatar Airways.
This year, ATM features representatives from 87 countries, with 54 national tourist organisations exhibiting at the International Exhibition Centre floor over the next four-days.