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Over 11,000 attend Arabian Travel Market 2002

Final figures released by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), organisers of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM<.>), reveal that 11,418 visitors from 69 countries attended the 2002 event staged earlier this month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Of the total some 5,643 were trade visitors, 600 were media and 5,175 were consumers.

Overall the figures are fractionally up on 2001 by 1.4% driven largely by an increased turnout of media and consumers, said Matt Thompson, RTE’s Group Exhibition Director, Overseas Events.

Though trade visitors slipped by 11% on 2001, there was a significant turnout of 2,035 international travel professionals and increased industry attendance from Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which is highly encouraging.

Trade visitors from Kuwait increased 22.6%, from Qatar by 16.8% and 3.8% from Saudi Arabia.

Thompson believes several factors contributed to the slight downturn in overall trade visitor turnout.

This reflects consolidation within the industry, the challenge of managing expectations with a move to a new venue and the fact that many previous visitors, particularly from within the Gulf, have since been converted into exhibitors. Nevertheless this was the first international travel show to have demonstrably held its own since September 11th last year. Other shows have witnessed visitor falls of around 25%.

The main thing is that business was most certainly still being done.

Among deals concluded at the show were 10 wedding party packages for Dubai’s Taj Palace Hotel, an incremental 12,000 room nights for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts’ 10 properties in Asia, GCC summer business for the Holiday Inn Downtown Dubai and US$ 2.9 million worth of business for Meridien Hotels. In addition, for Hotel Leelaventure Limited of India, ATM brought the chance of major conference business for 2004.

It came from a European company wanting to organise medical conferences, said Vanita Saexa, Deputy General Manager Sales & Marketing. These are people we haven’t worked with before. At ATM we were in the right place at the right time. We are now pitching for the business, let’s hope we get it.

Cedar-wood log cabin producer, Shore and Mountain Resorts of Lebanon took trial orders worth US$ 2.18 million from hotels in the UAE and Jordan and expects another US$ 550,00 in follow-on orders.

The show was extremely successful, well worth our while, said Nicholas Mobayed, Chairman, Shore & Mountain Resorts. We have also received interest from a French buyer who is looking to order 100 cabins.

RTE says it is now actively reviewing exhibitor and visitor feedback to assess how it will now drive the show forward.

This could include recommendations on the floor space layout, said Thompson.

Media attendance at ATM 2002 hit a show-record and surpassed the 2001 event by 36%.

The media corps spanned 36 countries and the international coverage achieved should help further build the show’s global profile which could translate into a wider geographic exhibitor and visitor footprint, said Thompson.

Consumer turnout soared by 17%. This is a clear indication that the public within the United Arab Emirates is still intent on travel and is looking for new tourism options, said Thompson.

Just over 70% of trade visitors were of managerial status – 11.1% were managing directors and 13.3% either company chairmen or owners and partners.

There’s no doubt that the show is attracting key decision-makers, hence as a business forum it is fulfilling its mission, said Thompson.

The main groups represented by trade visitors were hotels, outbound tour operators, business travel agents, group travel organisers, travel retailers and incentive organisers.

The most sought-after exhibitors for the trade buyers were airlines, hotels, car hire providers, tour operators, tourist attractions, MICE suppliers, health resorts and spas as well as cruise and ferry companies.

Trade visitors polled at the show also placed the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the CIS countries, North America and Southern Africa as their prime business targets.

Despite the difficult industry trading conditions of the previous nine months, Arabian Travel Market 2002 attracted over 700 exhibitors from 56 countries – a result RTE believes firmly demonstrated the resilience of the travel sector.

We were particularly encouraged that the show managed to expand both its geographic exhibitor spread and product range, said Thompson.

Covering 8,500 square metres – a growth of 2.4% on 2001 – the show featured 212 stands, 68 of which were show newcomers. It also had first time official participation from Algeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Korea and Greece.

And there are optimistic signs that next year’s show, which takes place at Airport Expo Dubai from May 6-9, will more than hold its own with a flurry of early commitments being received.

One of the first to contract was Saudi Arabian Airlines, which has pledged to increase its stand size by 30%.

We had a very successful show and negotiated deals with two Malaysian tour operators in readiness for our increased flight schedule to the country, said Mohammed Amin Turkistani of the carrier’s marketing department. We also concluded business with hotels and tour operators from Germany and Austria.

Also rebooking was Hotel Napoleon of Paris, which signed US $75,000 worth of room nights at ATM 2002. A highlight for us was the high quality Saudi visitors we met which were new, important contacts for us, said Olivier Hanout, Room Division Manager, Hotel Napoleon.

The Dubai-headquartered Ramee Group of Hotels was also quick off the mark confirming it has doubled the size of its 2003 participation.

We are expanding and need to raise our profile more and this is the show to do it, said Preetham Sharma, Group Business Development Manager, Ramee Group of Hotels. This year’s show enabled us to tie up with numerous travel agents from around the GCC who bought in bulk.

ATM official ground handler Net Tours is also boosting its participation for 2003. Thanks to this show we are now negotiating around a dozen new contracts with buyers from Iran, Turkey, South Africa, India and Belgium, said Matthew Kurian, Sales and Marketing Manager, Net Tours.

Official country group organisers from Mauritius, Malaysia and Greece also predicted bigger national pavilions at next year’s show. We need at least 400 square metres next year because of the overwhelming response we received, said Aminuddin A. B. Hamid, Deputy Director Marketing Middle East, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.

Greece says it will double its presence in 2003. We will mount a big stand to promote the Olympic games, said Ioannis Patelis, President, Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Among visitors to this year’s show were hosted MICE buyers from France, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and USA. They were joined on a hosted buyer programme by some of the top purchasers in Saudi Arabia. All hosted buyers were provided with complimentary accommodation at the Fairmont Dubai hotel.

Next year RTE is aiming to recruit 50 international MICE buyers to its hosted programme as well as 20 buyers from the Gulf, in particular Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

ATM 2002 visitors dubbed the show an unparalleled networking opportunity.

I came to arrange corporate packages for Japanese tourists wishing to visit Dubai, said Yoshito Kumazki, of Tokyo’s Pollux Tourism. It was a great chance for me to meet the key local and regional players.

Qatari visitor Dr. Ahmed M.A. Al Mulla, Assistant General Manager of Doha’s Al Mulla Travels said for him the key attraction of the show is its accessibility. GCC agents find this a very affordable show to attend and it’s very beneficial for us for networking, he said.

Mossa Al Buloshi of Oman National Transport said he and his colleagues visited the show as part of a business mission for a new company project.

We are studying the launch of a new tourism and travel agency in Muscat and met with potential travel agency and tour operator partners from around the world. We’ve had a promising response. Interestingly enough, those from Europe and the Far East were also interested in launching business tours to Oman, he said….

Final figures released by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), organisers of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM<.>), reveal that 11,418 visitors from 69 countries attended the 2002 event staged earlier this month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.



Of the total some 5,643 were trade visitors, 600 were media and 5,175 were consumers.



Overall the figures are fractionally up on 2001 by 1.4% driven largely by an increased turnout of media and consumers, said Matt Thompson, RTE’s Group Exhibition Director, Overseas Events.



Though trade visitors slipped by 11% on 2001, there was a significant turnout of 2,035 international travel professionals and increased industry attendance from Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which is highly encouraging.



Trade visitors from Kuwait increased 22.6%, from Qatar by 16.8% and 3.8% from Saudi Arabia.



Thompson believes several factors contributed to the slight downturn in overall trade visitor turnout.



This reflects consolidation within the industry, the challenge of managing expectations with a move to a new venue and the fact that many previous visitors, particularly from within the Gulf, have since been converted into exhibitors. Nevertheless this was the first international travel show to have demonstrably held its own since September 11th last year. Other shows have witnessed visitor falls of around 25%.



The main thing is that business was most certainly still being done.




Among deals concluded at the show were 10 wedding party packages for Dubai’s Taj Palace Hotel, an incremental 12,000 room nights for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts’ 10 properties in Asia, GCC summer business for the Holiday Inn Downtown Dubai and US$ 2.9 million worth of business for Meridien Hotels. In addition, for Hotel Leelaventure Limited of India, ATM brought the chance of major conference business for 2004.



It came from a European company wanting to organise medical conferences, said Vanita Saexa, Deputy General Manager Sales & Marketing. These are people we haven’t worked with before. At ATM we were in the right place at the right time. We are now pitching for the business, let’s hope we get it.



Cedar-wood log cabin producer, Shore and Mountain Resorts of Lebanon took trial orders worth US$ 2.18 million from hotels in the UAE and Jordan and expects another US$ 550,00 in follow-on orders.



The show was extremely successful, well worth our while, said Nicholas Mobayed, Chairman, Shore & Mountain Resorts. We have also received interest from a French buyer who is looking to order 100 cabins.



RTE says it is now actively reviewing exhibitor and visitor feedback to assess how it will now drive the show forward.



This could include recommendations on the floor space layout, said Thompson.



Media attendance at ATM 2002 hit a show-record and surpassed the 2001 event by 36%.



The media corps spanned 36 countries and the international coverage achieved should help further build the show’s global profile which could translate into a wider geographic exhibitor and visitor footprint, said Thompson.



Consumer turnout soared by 17%. This is a clear indication that the public within the United Arab Emirates is still intent on travel and is looking for new tourism options, said Thompson.



Just over 70% of trade visitors were of managerial status – 11.1% were managing directors and 13.3% either company chairmen or owners and partners.



There’s no doubt that the show is attracting key decision-makers, hence as a business forum it is fulfilling its mission, said Thompson.



The main groups represented by trade visitors were hotels, outbound tour operators, business travel agents, group travel organisers, travel retailers and incentive organisers.



The most sought-after exhibitors for the trade buyers were airlines, hotels, car hire providers, tour operators, tourist attractions, MICE suppliers, health resorts and spas as well as cruise and ferry companies.



Trade visitors polled at the show also placed the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the CIS countries, North America and Southern Africa as their prime business targets.



Despite the difficult industry trading conditions of the previous nine months, Arabian Travel Market 2002 attracted over 700 exhibitors from 56 countries – a result RTE believes firmly demonstrated the resilience of the travel sector.



We were particularly encouraged that the show managed to expand both its geographic exhibitor spread and product range, said Thompson.



Covering 8,500 square metres – a growth of 2.4% on 2001 – the show featured 212 stands, 68 of which were show newcomers. It also had first time official participation from Algeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Korea and Greece.



And there are optimistic signs that next year’s show, which takes place at Airport Expo Dubai from May 6-9, will more than hold its own with a flurry of early commitments being received.



One of the first to contract was Saudi Arabian Airlines, which has pledged to increase its stand size by 30%.



We had a very successful show and negotiated deals with two Malaysian tour operators in readiness for our increased flight schedule to the country, said Mohammed Amin Turkistani of the carrier’s marketing department. We also concluded business with hotels and tour operators from Germany and Austria.



Also rebooking was Hotel Napoleon of Paris, which signed US $75,000 worth of room nights at ATM 2002. A highlight for us was the high quality Saudi visitors we met which were new, important contacts for us, said Olivier Hanout, Room Division Manager, Hotel Napoleon.



The Dubai-headquartered Ramee Group of Hotels was also quick off the mark confirming it has doubled the size of its 2003 participation.



We are expanding and need to raise our profile more and this is the show to do it, said Preetham Sharma, Group Business Development Manager, Ramee Group of Hotels. This year’s show enabled us to tie up with numerous travel agents from around the GCC who bought in bulk.



ATM official ground handler Net Tours is also boosting its participation for 2003. Thanks to this show we are now negotiating around a dozen new contracts with buyers from Iran, Turkey, South Africa, India and Belgium, said Matthew Kurian, Sales and Marketing Manager, Net Tours.



Official country group organisers from Mauritius, Malaysia and Greece also predicted bigger national pavilions at next year’s show. We need at least 400 square metres next year because of the overwhelming response we received, said Aminuddin A. B. Hamid, Deputy Director Marketing Middle East, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.



Greece says it will double its presence in 2003. We will mount a big stand to promote the Olympic games, said Ioannis Patelis, President, Greek National Tourism Organisation.



Among visitors to this year’s show were hosted MICE buyers from France, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and USA. They were joined on a hosted buyer programme by some of the top purchasers in Saudi Arabia. All hosted buyers were provided with complimentary accommodation at the Fairmont Dubai hotel.



Next year RTE is aiming to recruit 50 international MICE buyers to its hosted programme as well as 20 buyers from the Gulf, in particular Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.



ATM 2002 visitors dubbed the show an unparalleled networking opportunity.



I came to arrange corporate packages for Japanese tourists wishing to visit Dubai, said Yoshito Kumazki, of Tokyo’s Pollux Tourism. It was a great chance for me to meet the key local and regional players.



Qatari visitor Dr. Ahmed M.A. Al Mulla, Assistant General Manager of Doha’s Al Mulla Travels said for him the key attraction of the show is its accessibility. GCC agents find this a very affordable show to attend and it’s very beneficial for us for networking, he said.



Mossa Al Buloshi of Oman National Transport said he and his colleagues visited the show as part of a business mission for a new company project.



We are studying the launch of a new tourism and travel agency in Muscat and met with potential travel agency and tour operator partners from around the world. We’ve had a promising response. Interestingly enough, those from Europe and the Far East were also interested in launching business tours to Oman, he said.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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