Giant travel expo kicks off in Dubai
Dubai, April 30, 2012
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, the biggest travel and tourism event in the Middle East region, opened its doors in Dubai on Monday, featuring representatives from 87 countries, with 54 national tourist organisations.
The four-day event was officially ianaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai in the presence of senior government officials, leaders of the regional and international travel industry as well as high-profile participants.
The day one of ATM brought 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 of event organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions, 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,' he stated.
“A recent World Travel and 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 tourism sector as a major economic driver 18-months on from the Arab Spring. We have seen a significant jump in interest from within the GCC, which is confirmed by the positive pre-show figures we have seen across the board,” remarked Walsh.
Sheikh Mohammed, toured the exhibition with other dignitaries including Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO Emirates Group and Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
Among the key international officials at the event are Alain Azouaou, Ambassador, French Embassy Abu Dhabi and Gonzalo De Benito Secades, Ambassador of Spain. Jean-Paul Tarud Kuborn, Chilean Ambassador to the UAE, also joined senior figures from tourism ministries in Cyprus, Malaysia and the Philippines.
ATM comprises an exhibition, conference and seminar programmes, along with specialist industry days including travel agents day and careers day.
Topics discussed on day one included bouncing back from the ‘Arab Spring one-year on’ and ‘luxury hospitality in the modern age of globalisation’.
The speakers included some of the region’s most influential business leaders such as Qatar Airways chief Al Baker and Rudi Jagersbacher, president of Hilton Worldwide.
Highlights of tomorrow's sessions include challenges facing aviation growth in the Middle East, attracting Chinese traveller to the UAE, the Euromonitor travel industry overview, along with impact on tourism of Ramadan.-TradeArabia News Service