Current affairs seminars to feature at ATM
Dubai, April 19, 2012
Influence of technology, China and hard-hitting panel discussions to assess ongoing impact of Arab Spring will be in focus at the upcoming major travel exhibition Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai.
ATM 2012 will run from April 30 to May 3 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
ATM 2012 reprises its popular Seminar Theatre series with a packed three-day schedule covering a gamut of key hospitality and tourism issues and attracting experts from some of the industry’s top brands.
While the Arab Spring remains a focal part of the seminar sessions and indeed, show floor discussion, attention is to turning to fledgling markets and new opportunities from the BRICS nations especially with technological advances and increased connectivity - even the remotest markets are now accessible.
One of the seminars on this year’s schedule already attracting keen interest is ‘The Rise of the Dragon: Attracting Chinese Travellers to the UAE’. Moderated by Lucy Chuang, managing director and co-founder of Gulf Sino Training and Consulting and the Dubai Chinese Learning Center, the forum will address ways in which the tourism sector can adapt and develop services and skill set in order to attract inbound business from China.
An estimated 300,000 Chinese tourists travelled to the UAE last year and spent $334 million, according to a recent study by MasterCard; making Chinese tourists the most lucrative segment for the UAE.
Per capita spending by visitors from China was Dh4,092 ($1,114) per tourist compared with Dh3,477 per average British tourist and Dh3,996 per average Kuwaiti tourist, figures showed.
“The UAE has seen a huge rise in the number of tourists from China since 2009 when it gained ‘approved destination’ status from the Chinese government, and the number of visitors from China is expected to grow further as they continue to enjoy the mix of leisure, cultural and retail tourism that Dubai and Abu Dhabi have to offer,” said Chuang.
“A flying time of around eight hours and a growing airline capacity between the two countries, help make the UAE an ideal destination for Chinese tourists.”
In March this year Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways signed an MoU with China Eastern Airlines that included joint route and schedule co-ordination. Meanwhile, Dubai’s Emirates Airline continues to increase the number of routes for its Airbus A380 to China.
The 60-minute session, which will be held on May 1, will take an in-depth look at how the region’s tourism industry can adapt or improve products and services to entice Chinese travellers to choose the UAE as a preferred travel destination.
Chuang will also give insight into how Chinese culture, behavioural patterns, habits and unique etiquette are key drivers when making travel decisions as the dragon nation’s influence continues to grow from both a business and leisure perspective.
“This session will be of particular interest to tourism professionals targeting the Chinese market as part of strategic development plans, and with around 84 million Chinese tourists expected to travel overseas by 2015 – a dramatic jump from 57.4 million last year – this is already proving to be a popular session,” remarked Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
A major draw of this year’s seminar series is a number of sessions featuring high profile industry speakers and thought leaders.
In ‘Bouncing Back from the Arab Spring’ the panel will discuss what steps can be taken to improve the perception of the region globally and what can be done to lure investors to these attractive markets where infrastructure requires development.
In ‘The Big Talk’ Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways will be in conversation with John Strickland of JLS Consulting, for a head-to-head on the airline’s expansion and future plans.
Other sessions include ‘Luxury with a Conscience’ – examining the rise of philanthropic travel and asking whether it is, in fact, a hypocritical beast – and ‘Return of the Dhow’, which aims to bring the Middle East’s boutique cruisers out of the shadow of their supersized sisters and explore the critical role they are playing within the region.
With the Holy Month once again directly impacting the crucial summer season, a number of dedicated sessions will look at the strategies being employed to overcome the ‘Ramadan Factor’ and share industry experience and learning curves from 2011.
Running alongside the seminar series, the all-new Tech Theatre is a dedicated platform that provides an opportunity to gain invaluable insight into leading edge industry-related technologies including social media, GDS, internet booking sites and mobile apps’. – TradeArabia News Service