ATM to highlight regional tourism potential
Dubai, April 29, 2012
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, the region’s leading travel industry showcase which opens its doors tomorrow (Monday), will highlight the strength of regional destinations.
More than 2,400 exhibitors from 87 countries will take part in the event, being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.
ATM 2012, which is expecting 23,000 visitors, is being held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Conference Centre until May 3. The show has grown 7 per cent in size, underlining the strength and growth prospects of the regional tourism industry, said a statement.
Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, speaking ahead of the show said: “The region is embarking on an unparalleled programme of investment and development, with a clear focus on infrastructure enhancement and the goal of driving visitor numbers as well as diversifying their economies.”
“According to the World Travel and Tourism Council almost $38 billion was invested in 2011 to support regional leisure and tourism development. This will rise to $41 billion this year so it is clear that the region is growing rapidly,” he added.
Highlighting the strength of certain regional destinations, Walsh pointed to the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
“The UAE is looking to achieve 9 per cent growth in visitor arrivals in 2012, as the country continues to benefit from unrest elsewhere in the region. The Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said the emirate of Dubai posted a 10 per cent rise in hotel guests in 2011 against the previous year, welcoming 9.3 million hotel guests and cruise passengers with the average length of stay also rising 12 per cent to 3.6 days. Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority reported a record number of hotel visitors for 2011, with over 2.1 million hotel guests, beating the previous record high of around 1.8 million in 2010,” he said.
Oman’s Ministry of Tourism is concentrating on promoting short breaks and MICE tourism targeting the Gulf and India as it continues its infrastructure development.
“Research by Euromonitor has the Sultanate on a growth spurt, with arrivals growing from just over 1.2 million in 2006 to 2.2 million in 2011,” he added.
Similarly, the number of visitors heading to Qatar is expected to jump to 1.6 million by 2014, according to Euromonitor, up from just under one million in 2009.
“Saudi Arabia is the other regional player taking giant strides towards tourism prominence. Recent figures released by Business Monitor International, see visitors to the Kingdom to reach 15.8 million by 2014, up from around 13 million in 2010. Its hospitality sector is growing in tandem with the country’s ongoing programme of economic diversification,” said Walsh.
Saleh Mohammed Al Geziry, DTCM's director of overseas promotions and inward missions, said:' Dubai tourism industry continues its strong growth despite the global economy still remaining unsettled due to our strong fundamentals and capability to meet the demands and expectations of the tourists and industry players.”
Dubai hotels posted an excellent performance last year in terms of occupancy levels and guest nights. Guest nights rose to 32,848,190 in 2011, an increase of 23 per cent compared with the previous year, he added.
Route expansion plans by the region’s major carriers are also opening up the Gulf and broader Middle East to new markets as combined annual profits reached approximately $1 billion in 2011, according to the International Air Transport Association.
“The Arabian Travel Market has played a pivotal role in the development and success of the region’s travel and tourism industry, functioning as a catalyst to attracting key industry figures from across the globe, to the region. Having supported ATM since its inception, we at Emirates are proud to see it develop into the formidable force it is today,” said Salem Obaidalla, senior vice president – commercial operations (Europe & Russian Fed), Emirates.
“We see ATM as an ideal platform for Emirates to showcase our constant innovation; from our new global brand platform ‘Hello Tomorrow’ - our evolution from a travel brand to a lifestyle brand, to raising awareness for our new for 2012 destinations, as well as various other new initiatives across the Emirates Group.”– TradeArabia News Service