There was a surge of business travel segment flowing from the Middle East and African region as Dubai witnessed the opening of 23rd Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2016) on Monday. The exhibitors gathered at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and showcased a plethora of diverse products and extensive services.
The 4-day market got open for business with Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai inaugurating it yesterday. Other delegatory included Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline along with Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and CEO of DWTC.
The UAE, in particular, embraced the trend of hosting as the travel market expands with key players in hospitality investing a lot in the capital Abu Dhabi. The Middle East country predicts to attract 20 million tourists around 2020 with most of them being business travellers. Dubai being the hub of all these gatherings is all set to cater to the rising demand by investing massively the mid- market hotel segment.
A whopping number of exhibitors participated with over 2800 representatives from 86 countries, 64 pavilions standing tall and over 100 plus participants as debutante this year. The event is a hotbed for business networking opportunities, insightful seminar sessions, leadership forums, and recognition of the industry’s year-long achievement. This year’s show theme is mid-market travel, which is officially sponsored by Louvre Hotels Group. The lucrative segment is one that is firmly in the sights of key players industry-wide.
The show opened with a flagship session of The Future of the UAE as a global tourism Hub bringing together heads of tourism from across the world. Dubai tourism said that the top markets at the ATM here in the first quarter are the US and China.
China has been making a lot of headlines in the tourism space because of the relaxed policies by the government recently. In 2015, Chinese tourists represented the national group with the highest increase in tourist numbers when 450,000 Chinese travellers headed to visit Dubai to enjoy its beaches and shopping malls, a 29 percent increase year on year.
Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange and the CEO of Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken inaugural discussion addressed that the Indian Ocean island has been witnessing a strong growth in the tourism sector which also remains as the country’s economic mainstay. The minister commented on the media query of a high cost of living by saying that people should remove the perspective of Seychelles being an expensive destination.
“You need to visit Seychelles to understand its hospitality and beauty, we have nothing to hide, what you see is what you get and we have the best affordable boutique hotels available which are similar to a five-star standard”, said Minister St. Ange.
ATM hosts various forums to analyse trend-led opportunities and discuss different market challenges. Several features line up the event including a wellness 7 spa lounge at which the region’s buyers will be able to interact with the international suppliers at pre-scheduled appointments.
Source: The Gulf Today