Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, the region’s leading trade exhibition for travel industry professionals, has seen a 46% rise in visitor pre-registrations, against 2011 figures, for its 19th edition, opening this Monday, 30 April.
2012 has seen a 7% increase in exhibitors with more than 21,000 square metres of floor space hosting over 2,400 exhibitors and 82 new companies. This increase is also reflected in its international reach with 54 national pavilions and 87 countries represented overall.
“The trend that we’ve witnessed in previous years, has continued, with visitor pre-registration numbers substantially up and 11 new destinations exhibiting includingMoscow,Romania,ZimbabweandMauritius. ATM is always a timely reminder of the major contribution that the travel and tourism industry plays in the regional economy,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of Arabian Travel Market.
According to Walsh, travel agent registration is also up by a staggering 213% this year, with trade visitor pre-registration surging by 38% and Buyers Club by 35%. “Reflecting the region’s proactive approach to the tourism sector as a major economic driver and 18 months on from the Arab Spring, we have seen a significant jump in interest from within the GCC, which is confirmed by the positive pre-show figures we have seen across the board,” remarked Walsh.
Further buoyed by the launch of the weeklong Tech Theatre, which will run alongside the popular seminar series, and give visitors the chance to gain invaluable insight into leading edge industry-related technologies including social media and GDS direct access, the event has attracted experts and thought leaders from across the industry spectrum including Akbar Al baker, CED, Qatar Airways and Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Hilton Worldwide Middle East and Africa.
The four-day programme for ATM includes the seminar series, workshops and specialist industry days including a Travel Agent Day, sponsored by TTN, which has taken a new direction this year tying in with the technology focus, and careers focus aimed at encouraging emerging young talent as well as enabling exhibitors to promote company vacancies or find a job online through the Arabian Travel Market job board.
“For the first time in the 19-year history of the show, Tourism Ministers from across the Middle East will come together today for a special session that will focus on driving the region’s tourism agenda,” said Walsh.
“Our decision to invite the region’s tourism ministers was spurred not only by the wave of positive sentiment felt across the industry as the first signs of post Arab Spring democracy have emerged, but by the points raised at the UNWTO/ATM session at last year’s World Travel Market. We expect that the UNWTO and ATM forum will have a significant and positive effect on regional collaboration to sustain growth in the travel and tourism sector here,” he added.
Now approaching in its 19th year, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. In 2011, Arabian Travel Market featured 2,236 exhibitors across more than 20,000 square metres, attracting more than 22,000 visitors.