Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016 posted a 7% year-on-year rise in visitor numbers with more than 28,000 trade visitors attending the show, which took place from 25-28 April at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Leading with a topical mid-market theme, the initial results for the 23rd travel and tourism industry showcase, released by organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions, also recorded a 9% increase in the number of Buyers’ Club members, with a similar percentage hike in the number of other quality visitors such as VIPs, sponsors and speakers, compared to 2015.
“The initial estimated figures for this year’s show highlights ATM’s significance as a leading exhibition for the region’s travel and tourism sector, as an increasing number of destinations ramp-up efforts to drive travel and tourism as part of economic diversification and sustainability,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market.
“The overall increase in visitor numbers and specifically the 9% rise in key buyers (those with budget responsibility for regional and international contracting) underscores ATM’s importance to trade buyers and also means ATM 2016 is poised to top last year’s record US$2.5 billion in business deals facilitated.
“This year’s popular mid-market theme also resonated with the region’s travel professionals – with many exhibitors leveraging opportunities to launch mid-tier brands as well as discussing strategies, developments and future trends during the ATM seminars,” added Noblet-Segers.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, ATM has grown to become the largest event of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. The 2016 edition boasted an additional hall, with 423 main stand holders representing 86 countries, 64 country pavilions and over 100 new exhibitors making their debut.
Once again, the show welcomed a number of new initiatives including the launch of the ATM Global Stage, which opened the week’s proceedings with a high level panel discussion on the future of tourism in the UAE featuring leading industry leaders including Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation Travel and Commerce Marketing; Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority; H.E Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq; Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline; Gerald Lawless, Head of Tourism, Dubai Holding and Honorary President, Jumeirah Group and Aligi Gardenghi, VP Marketing EMEA and Commercial Director MEA, Hilton.
Also new for 2016 was the Wellness & Spa Lounge, a dedicated space for 25 exhibitors which connected Middle East wellness and spa buyers with international suppliers; the inaugural Travel Agent Academy; and, in line with the show’s ongoing focus on technological innovation, the first-ever ATM Bloggers’ Speed Networking session, at which 40 travel bloggers met with interested exhibitors.
More than 50 seminar and tech theatre sessions took place over the course of the show while the ATM Best Stand Awards returned for a second year, with some delighted winners including The Address Hotels + Resorts, flydubai and Amadeus IT Group. Finally, the New Frontiers Awards recognised Taiwan.