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Arabian Travel Market

Arabian Travel Market 2005 sees continued growth; next year`s show will be even better says organiser

Arabian Travel Market 2005, attracted a record number of trade buyers to the Dubai World Trade Centre, with total trade visitor numbers nearing the 11,000 mark for the first time. Buyers attended from 94 countries with significant increase from Russia, UK, Australia and North America. International visitors were also doing very good business and staying for up to six hours a day, many visiting for two or three days. The event`s popularity within the region continues to grow with trade visitors exceeding 7,000.

More than 750 journalists attended the show and the press conferences were all well attended. Almost a quarter of the journalists came from abroad.

The show had 30 per cent more floor space to accommodate 1,664 exhibitors from 64 countries, up by nearly 100 on last year including 106 first time participants from Cendand Hotel Group, Globus and Cosmos Tours, Sixt Rent a car and Kuoni.

Tom Nutley, Chairman of Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market, said: The success of this show reflects the strength on the international travel and tourism industry which is set to grow by 5.1 per cent to US$ 9.8 trillion according to the World Travel and Tourism Council and the healthy state of the regional market fuelled by offshore leisure developments, new hotels, airports and airline expansion.

The show housed 57 national and regional pavilions this year and both tourist authorities and the companies which joined them reported brisk business from day one.

South Africa took a national pavilion for the first time at the event and is now looking to increase this by 50 per cent in 2006.

Rob Hetem, Director Tamrich Tours, a major inbound operator based in Johannesburg, said: We were inundated with meetings during the first two days. We held more than 80 one-on-ones with outbound operators from across the GCC, Turkey and the Czech Republic and even Serbia.

This is a truly international show and this stand will create much-wanted awareness about South Africa as a destination.

The show was also voted a major success by the Korea National Tourism Organisation (KNTO).

Chang – Yong Lee, Director at KNTO`s Dubai office said that the quality of the visitors maintained the high standards of previous years and he was already planning to book a bigger stand for 2006.

He said: During the show`s two first days we held 82 meetings with travel agents and tour operators from the Middle East and Europe. Following Emirates` launch of daily flights to Seoul this month, interest in Korea has grown significantly and we expect even more visitors from the Middle East to travel to Korea this year.

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board is also expecting that the high quality of visitors will boost business.

Aminath Shihab, Assistant Director Marketing, said: Last year`s arrivals reached a peak of 616,000 mainly from Europe which is our key market. We are targeting the show to put the message across that the Maldives has recovered from the Tsunami and the tourism industry is back on tracks.

From the Middle East we have had great interest from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which are the region`s key feeder markets to the Maldives.

Karin Bartosova, Trade Fairs Manager, CzechTourism, which has participated at the show since it was launched 12 years ago, said that there was growing interest at ATM in Prague and health and spa tourism this year.

She said: We held 20 meetings with UAE and Indian tour operators who have expressed strong interest in our spa resorts. Visitor quality is very high, as always at Arabian Travel Market, and we hope to come with a bigger stand next year.

The Finnish Tourism Board was a first time exhibitor with a national pavilion and is already planning for next year`s show.

Matti Pera-Rouhu, Director Sales of Finnair, the country`s national carrier, said: We have already booked two groups of 40 people each for a summer holiday in Lapland and we have held dozens of meetings with Middle East and Indian tour operators which will lead to new business.

Carol Maddison, Regional Marketing Manager, VisitBritain, said: This year`s show is bigger, better and brighter we are seeing a lot more regional buyers and are expecting a record year.

The feedback from the 25 suppliers on our stand is that the quality of business being done is higher and we expect even more success than last year.

She said that after last year`s show Middle East tourism value to the UK increased by eight per cent to …

Arabian Travel Market 2005, attracted a record number of trade buyers to the Dubai World Trade Centre, with total trade visitor numbers nearing the 11,000 mark for the first time. Buyers attended from 94 countries with significant increase from Russia, UK, Australia and North America. International visitors were also doing very good business and staying for up to six hours a day, many visiting for two or three days. The event`s popularity within the region continues to grow with trade visitors exceeding 7,000.

More than 750 journalists attended the show and the press conferences were all well attended. Almost a quarter of the journalists came from abroad.

The show had 30 per cent more floor space to accommodate 1,664 exhibitors from 64 countries, up by nearly 100 on last year including 106 first time participants from Cendand Hotel Group, Globus and Cosmos Tours, Sixt Rent a car and Kuoni.

Tom Nutley, Chairman of Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market, said: “The success of this show reflects the strength on the international travel and tourism industry which is set to grow by 5.1 per cent to US$ 9.8 trillion according to the World Travel and Tourism Council and the healthy state of the regional market fuelled by offshore leisure developments, new hotels, airports and airline expansion.”

The show housed 57 national and regional pavilions this year and both tourist authorities and the companies which joined them reported brisk business from day one.

South Africa took a national pavilion for the first time at the event and is now looking to increase this by 50 per cent in 2006.

Rob Hetem, Director Tamrich Tours, a major inbound operator based in Johannesburg, said: “We were inundated with meetings during the first two days. We held more than 80 one-on-ones with outbound operators from across the GCC, Turkey and the Czech Republic and even Serbia.

“This is a truly international show and this stand will create much-wanted awareness about South Africa as a destination.”

The show was also voted a major success by the Korea National Tourism Organisation (KNTO).

Chang – Yong Lee, Director at KNTO`s Dubai office said that the quality of the visitors maintained the high standards of previous years and he was already planning to book a bigger stand for 2006.

He said: “During the show`s two first days we held 82 meetings with travel agents and tour operators from the Middle East and Europe. Following Emirates` launch of daily flights to Seoul this month, interest in Korea has grown significantly and we expect even more visitors from the Middle East to travel to Korea this year.”

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board is also expecting that the high quality of visitors will boost business.

Aminath Shihab, Assistant Director Marketing, said: “Last year`s arrivals reached a peak of 616,000 mainly from Europe which is our key market. We are targeting the show to put the message across that the Maldives has recovered from the Tsunami and the tourism industry is back on tracks.

“From the Middle East we have had great interest from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which are the region`s key feeder markets to the Maldives.”

Karin Bartosova, Trade Fairs Manager, CzechTourism, which has participated at the show since it was launched 12 years ago, said that there was growing interest at ATM in Prague and health and spa tourism this year.

She said: “We held 20 meetings with UAE and Indian tour operators who have expressed strong interest in our spa resorts. Visitor quality is very high, as always at Arabian Travel Market, and we hope to come with a bigger stand next year.”

The Finnish Tourism Board was a first time exhibitor with a national pavilion and is already planning for next year`s show.

Matti Pera-Rouhu, Director Sales of Finnair, the country`s national carrier, said: “We have already booked two groups of 40 people each for a summer holiday in Lapland and we have held dozens of meetings with Middle East and Indian tour operators which will lead to new business.”

Carol Maddison, Regional Marketing Manager, VisitBritain, said: “This year`s show is bigger, better and brighter we are seeing a lot more regional buyers and are expecting a record year.

“The feedback from the 25 suppliers on our stand is that the quality of business being done is higher and we expect even more success than last year.”

She said that after last year`s show Middle East tourism value to the UK increased by eight per cent to £580 million and business from the UAE alone rose 43 per cent to £179 million.

Germany saw Middle East visitor numbers increase by 15 per cent to 500,000 last year and is predicting further growth.

“The companies on our pavilion said business was significantly up on last year over the first two days,” said German National Tourist Board Project Manager, Yvonne Gottwaiz.

The Greek National Tourism Organisation has already decided to book a bigger stand for next year after seeing business booming at the show.

“Our travel operators and agents all said they were selling well and are very positive for the future,” said Marketing Executive, Eleni Skarveli. “Dubai and the Middle East is an up coming market for Greece and we see Arabian Travel Market as crucial in building this business.”

Catherine Chabrier, Middle East Promotion Manager at Maison de la France, the country`s tourism authority, said: “Exhibitors on our pavilion were particularly impressed by the quality of business this year.

“We took a third more space for this show because of increased demand from the French industry which sees this exhibition as pivotal in developing business.”

Trade buyers both international and regional, were also highly impressed with the extended show and said the large number in new exhibitors offered fresh opportunities.

Regular Middle East buyers and first time regional visitors were out in strength every day of the event.

The President of Egyptian tour operator, RayaTravel, Hisam Amin, attending his first Arabian Travel Market, said: “This has been a very successful show for me and I will definitely be back next year. I have managed to negotiate some inbound business to the UAE as well as international business.”

The show was described as an unforgettable experience by first time visitor Dr Edward Petras of Baghdad-based travel agency, Petras Travel & Tourism.

He said: “We are trying to promote religious tourism for Iraq and are looking at the Iranian and Pakistani market. The show also provided us with contacts from Central and Eastern Africa which we will be following up. Most of the people I met expressed a long-term desire to see the Iraqi market opening up.”

Julia Amer of Mountain High, the Dubai-based adventure travel company, who had flown in from a business trip to Nepal to get to the show, said: “I came specifically for a seminar on Jordan and to meet Sri Lankan contacts. It has been very exciting and I have some new tour ideas, so it has worked for us.”

Rajiu Shah, Director, Globe Trading, the UAE outbound tour operator, said: “This year the show is much bigger and better. There are far more options available than before.”

Michael Partsch, Managing Director of Cross Media Company of Austria, said: “This event is now as important to us as the London and Berlin travel shows. I am a regular visitor, but this year is the most impressive to date. I have managed to pick up some business and also set up a lot of appointments for the future.”

Jason Rudgley, a partner in the Scottish-based PitchBlue global hotel, spa and leisure recruitment and training consultancy was on his first visit to the show but said the expense had been well worth the trip.

He said: “This is a great forum to meet lots of people under one roof and we will certainly be back.

“We have been operating in the Middle East for 12 years and have recently opened an office in Beirut. So many of our clients asked us if we were going to this show that we decided we ought to check it out.”

Jutta Kaufhold, Project Manager with German Arabian Affairs, the Hamburg-based travel agency, said the show had been highly successful for business.

He said: “We are looking to build up our inbound and outbound business and have managed to link up with a number of new partners this week. Our Middle East business has benefited from Emirates direct flights to Hamburg and the contacts we have made at this show will boost this business further.”

The show was opened by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, who toured the show with a VVIP entourage which included HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Information and Culture; HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Civil Aviation; HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai and Chairman of the Emirates Group; H.E. Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Director General, Dubai`s Department of Information and Tom Nutley.

In a welcome address, HH Sheikh Mohammed said: “Arabian Travel Market for the second year running has been named `Exhibition of the Year” by Reed Exhibitions, the owning company of RTE. The title was bestowed upon it after tremendous feedback from exhibitors who commented on the quality of the organisation, visitor profile and the capacity for business generation. I would like to congratulate Reed Travel Exhibitions on this achievement.”

Arabian Travel Market 2005 was held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister and under the auspices of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai.

“This has been our best ever show in Dubai by far, and the feedback has been tremendous with exhibitors already re-booking for next year,” said Nutley.

“We plan to double the number of hosted buyers to 140 next year after the success of this year`s sessions which were packed with exhibitors from beginning to end.”

* ABC audited figures available shortly. All figures are from organisers research unless stated.

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