Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016, the region’s leading travel industry showcase, opened its doors yesterday (Monday 25th April) for four days of business networking opportunities, insightful seminar sessions, leadership forums, and recognition of 12 months of industry achievement.
Now in its 23rd year, the 2016 edition, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from 25-28 April 2016, will welcome 423 main stand holders representing 86 countries, with more than 26,000 visitors expected to attend the Middle East’s longest running and largest trade event.
The show has added an extra hall for 2016, with over 2,800 exhibiting countries, 64 national pavilions, and over 100 new exhibitors set to make their ATM debut.
“The region faces a triple challenge in attracting leisure and business travellers with the triumvirate of service, experience and value all key to developing sustainable tourism economies in an increasingly diversified sector. This has been the catalyst in focusing our attention on mid-market tourism this year, as Middle East destinations look to diversify their source markets and attract a larger volume of visitors as well as look to increase the loyalty quotient in an extremely competitive market environment,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market.
“This has been identified as both an underdeveloped and potential growth area for the region, driven by demand from the growing middle class markets such as China, India and Africa combined with budget Generation Y travellers and young families,” she added.
Mid-market topic-led seminars include the opening session, ‘The Future of the UAE as a Global Tourism Hub’, taking place on 25 April from 13:00 – 14:30 on the ATM Global Stage located in Hall 8 with an impressive line-up of speakers. Panelists Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM); Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO Shurooq; Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi); Gerald Lawless, Head of Tourism, Dubai Holding and Honorary President, Jumeirah Group; Thierry Antinori, Emirates Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline; and Aligi Gardenghi – VP Marketing EMEA and Commercial Director MEA, Hilton Worldwide will discuss the grand vision for the UAE as one of the world’s leading tourism hubs and how will it evolve over the next decade and beyond.
The Mid-market Strategies session, which will run from 13:15-14:15 hrs on 26th April, also on the ATM Global Stage, is designed specifically to identify who the midmarket traveller is, where they come from and what they want. Panelists include Mark Nogal, Regional Head, Focused Service Brand Management, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide; Dr Amine Moukarzel, President, Louvre Hotels Group MENA; Karim ElGuanaini, Senior VP of Product Marketing, Miral Asset Management and Ali Abu Monassar, President, The Vision Destination Management.
“As ever, this year’s showcase leads the way in terms of market insight and information exchange with targeted features designed to directly address current market-changing issues. These include the prestigious ATM Leaders Breakfast, on 27th April, which will bring together 100 heads of private sector travel organisations to discuss regional challenges, opportunities and future landscape. Plus, looking at the digital media landscape and opportunities there, we are excited to debut our ATM Bloggers’ Speed Networking session at which up to 25 travel bloggers will take part in mini-meetings with exhibitors to explore ways to work together in the future,” said Noblet-Segers.
Other new features at this year’s event include the Wellness & Spa Lounge, a dedicated space for 25 exhibitors designed to connect Middle East wellness and spa buyers with international suppliers; and the launch of the Travel Agent Academy, which will take place on the final day of the exhibition.
Annual show favourites make a return with the Travel Tech Show and Travel Tech Theatre seminar sessions promising an educational and insightful four days of knowledge sharing; and the New Frontiers Recovery Awards, recognising the efforts of those nations that have suffered devastating economic and human losses in the last 12 months, as a result of natural disasters.
“As Dubai’s dynamic tourism proposition continues to be expanded and enhanced, not least with the opening of 16 new tourist attractions in 2016, including theme parks, Dubai Opera House, green spaces and retail destinations, we continue to actively leverage the city’s growing global appeal among a diverse range of traveller segments. Essential to our success is the ongoing collaboration between and collective contribution of government and private stakeholders, and ATM is an ideal opportunity to cement these partnerships, build new ones and effectively engage with the global travel industry,” Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing
“The travel landscape is fast changing and people have more access to travel. The traveller of today is looking for the best value propositions they can get. At Emirates we are well positioned to meet the needs of the evolving mid-market segment, because meeting and exceeding customer expectations is at the heart of Emirates’ DNA and our brand. We have been catering to the diverse needs of an international cross-section of passengers through superb on board and on ground offerings since day one. Today we connect Dubai and the UAE to over 150 destinations with non-stop flights, including to exciting cities outside of the traditional international airport hubs; and we will continue to help introduce new markets and segments into Dubai and the UAE utilising a younger fleet, equipped with the latest generation of products and technology,” said Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline.
“Arabian Travel Market is a milestone for the Hospitality Industry in our region. It allows to evaluate an ending season and plan the new one. This is done by meeting and connecting minds. It is a lounge to feel and share. The Vision Destination Management is glad to participate and, once again, to contribute as official ground handlers to welcome regional and international professionals into our destination” said Ali Abu Monassar, Chairman, The Vision Destination Management.
“The Arabian Travel Market is a strong industry platform that underlines the evolution of Dubai as a global tourism hub. With every edition, ATM presents the compelling strengths of the city in welcoming business and leisure visitors. This year’s theme, ‘mid-market travel,’ is particularly close to Emaar Hospitality Group ahead of the launch of our first hotel under the Rove Hotels brand. We now have three distinct brands – premium luxury with The Address Hotels + Resorts, upscale boutique with Vida Hotels and Resorts and contemporary midscale with Rove Hotels. We are looking forward to accommodating ATM guests and hosting the party as the event’s official Hotel Partner and of course ATM offers us valuable industry connections to further promote our brands globally and present our home-grown strengths as one of Dubai’s fastest-growing hospitality providers,” said Chris Newman, Corporate Director of Operations, Emaar Hospitality Group.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.
For more information on Arabian Travel Market 2016, please log on to: www.arabiantravelmarket.com