US air links open up new tourism markets
Dubai, December 22, 2007
Increasing air links between the Middle East and the US are opening up new inbound and outbound tourism and business travel markets, an industry expert said.
According to Simon Press, exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market, airlines based in the region, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, which have all launched flights to major American cities such as New York, Washington DC and Houston are spearheading the two-way market expansion.
The Arabian Travel Market, the region’s premier travel and tourism event which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2008, is organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions.
“These airlines will shortly start receiving their new long range aircraft enabling them to fly longer distances and transport more business as well as leisure travellers between the two continents,” said Press.
Major US carrier Delta Air Lines has already launched non-stop services to Dubai – the Middle East’s premier airline hub - from the world’s largest single airline centre – Atlanta.
The low US dollar value is making the Americas’ destinations more attractive. However interest in the Middle East’s international headline-making tourism and development projects means a massive number of North American investors and holiday makers view the booming Arabian Gulf market with keen interest.
“For many people in the Americas, the Middle East is still a largely unexplored market and the number of opportunities that await them here, compared to other saturated global markets, make the region the next big thing for international businesses seeking to expand their markets,” said Press.
Arabian Travel Market, which is held annually at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), is also looking to tap into this burgeoning trend to help the regional tourism industry find buyers from American markets.
The show, which will have an improved floorplan in 2008 to encourage a more efficient visitor through flow, is expanding its Americas section to accommodate the projected demand.
“There has been a gradual but growing interest in the region from travel and tour operators in the Americas who are now becoming increasingly aware of the international tourism products that the Middle East has to offer,” said Press.
“The easy availability of international award-winning airlines, coupled with modern airports and competitive shopping, as well as numerous luxury resorts, makes the Middle East one of the top draws for the international traveller.
“The influx of Americas-based companies to the region has increased recently as more exposure of the Middle East is achieved. There has also been a boost in interest from South America, which was aided by Emirates opening up its routes to Brazil. This raised awareness has led to us increase available floor space for Americas-based exhibitors.”
To date, 98 exhibitors from 31 countries have signed up for Arabian Travel Market 2008, which will be held from 6-9th May. Among them are key players from the Americas including the Brazilian Tourist Board with more in the process of signing up.
RTE along with event partners - the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai and Emirates - will participate in international industry events as well as step up marketing activities to attract tourism dollars into the region.
“We want to attract top American buyers to visit the show and meet with regional industry representatives as part of our Hosted Buyer Programme,” said Press.
“We also aim to increase awareness of regional tourism service providers about the ways of conducting and expanding business with the American industry, through informative sessions as part of our highly successful seminar programme.”-TradeArabia News Service