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ATM 2014: Luxury brands to target GCC travelers

ATM 2014: Luxury brands to target GCC travelers

Arabian Travel Market launch luxury theme to 2014 line-up as GCC travellers and global HNWIs seek out new high-end experiences

Premium travel and hospitality will be the focus of a new theme at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014 with the launch of ‘Spotlight on Luxury’. The up-scale focus will bring together luxury brand exhibitors, targeted luxury buyers and visitors along with a number of special seminar sessions exploring the high value market segment for both inbound and outbound travelers.

Research released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) put luxury goods and services spending by the world’s super rich at US$1.8 trillion in 2013, with US$1 trillion spent on services and US$460 billion allocated to one-of-a-kind travel adventures. Senior partner Antonella Mei-Pochtler noted a shift in consumer trends for luxury, from ‘owning’ (a luxury product) more towards ‘experiencing’ (a luxury product).

The region’s penchant for a luxury lifestyle is well documented, and supported by some of the highest per capita wealth in the world. According to a 2012 Credit Suisse report, the number of millionaires in the UAE is set to grow by 12% by 2017, reaching 48,000 individuals. GCC nationals also spend 260% more on airfares against other nationalities, with between 40-60% booking business class travel, and also spending 430% more on accommodation and 558% more on dining.

“If you look at the region there can be few places on earth that have such a concentration of luxury five-star hotels complemented by a lifestyle to match, from super yachts and multimillion-dollar homes to dining opportunities courtesy of some of the world’s best chefs and private jet travel. The luxury theme clearly resonates with ATM participants and so we have a dedicated platform for discussion and brand showcasing this year,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of ATM.


Luxury tourism, both inbound and outbound, is also heavily allied with high-end retail and a UK tourism report published by transaction company Global Blue noted that Middle East travellers made up 26% of the total spend by international visitors between January and July 2013, with a focus on luxury goods.

Luxury retail in the UAE is valued at around US$6 billion per annum, according to a Q4 2013 report from upscale regional retailer The Chalhoub Group. 82% of the world’s leading luxury brands, have a presence in Dubai, the city also has an enviable position as the top global destination targeted by retailers in 2011, ahead of London, Paris and New York.

The Oberoi, Dubai, is the official luxury hotel for luxury buyers at ATM 2014, the focus being on luxury this year. Karim Bizid, General Manager of The Oberoi, Dubai said “We are looking forward to participating in the show with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, we are recognised as one of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands, to welcoming luxury buyers and valued business partners to the hotel.”

Hosted buyers representing the luxury segment will be present at this year’s event, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from 5-8 May 2014; along with a collection of renowned luxury hospitality brands including, Amenyara and Zaya Retreats, Anantara Resorts & Spas, Mandarin Oriental, Kerzner International, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts and Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, Oberoi Resorts & Resorts, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts and The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. Also destinations including Monaco, Mauritius, Maldives, the Seychelles.

“We will also be holding several luxury-themed seminars, which will examine key opportunities in the global luxury travel arena and what this means for tourism in the Gulf. These are must-attend events for anyone looking to specifically target this sector of the market,” said Walsh.

A session entitled Luxury on Trends will be held on Tuesday 6 May at 12.15pm -13.15pm, featuring a panel of luxury experts including Simon Lynch, Director of Business Development, Abercrombie & Kent; Travel Attaché CEO, Liam Wholey and The Travel Collection owner & MD, Jacqueline Campbell.

A 2014 trends report released by 250-year-old luxury travel company Cox & Kings, said that the luxury travel landscape this year will see an increase in culinary adventures/gastronomic pilgrimages, the adding-on of destinations to extend layovers as HNWI globetrotters increasingly break up long haul flights, and exotic excursions as part of an adventure bucket list.