THE ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET OPENS ITS GATES TO THE WORLD

His Highness Seikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai officially opened the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai today.

The Seikh was joined at the opening ceremony by dignitaries including HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of the Emirates Group; and His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Travel trade professionals from across the world’s hospitality industry are descending upon Dubai for what is the region’s leading travel industry showcase.

The growth and scale of ATM 2017 is testament to the buoyant travel and tourism industry here in the MENA region

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “We have visitors registered from all corners of the globe and all facets of the hospitality industry for what promises to be the biggest show yet in the event’s 24-year history.

“The growth and scale of ATM 2017 is testament to the buoyant travel and tourism industry here in the MENA region. It is no secret the growth we observe in the regional industry is spurred by visionary national agendas and a favourable and thriving business environment. With a series of mega-events scheduled for the coming years, including Expo 2020, this growth will undoubtedly continue.”

Following the success of the 2016 exhibition, where more than 40,000 industry professionals, including 30,000 trade visitors, agreed deals worth US$2.5bn, it is expected ATM 2017 will welcome over 2,600 confirmed exhibitors – with 100 exhibiting for the first time – across 65 national pavilions. The show will also extend across an additional hall, in order to meet growing demand.

Running until Thursday, April 27th, ATM 2017 looks into the latest industry trend of experiential travel as its main theme and feature four days of business networking opportunities, insightful seminars and ministerial meetings, at Dubai World Trade Centre.

In addition to the extended exhibition, ATM 2017 also offers a full programme of seminar sessions.

On the Global Stage, the opening session “The legacy of Expo 2020” took place on Monday 24th April, with a VIP panel including: His Excellency Helal Almarri, Director General, DTCM; Anita Mehra, SVP Communications and Reputation, Dubai Airports; Marjan Faraidooni, Vice President, Legacy Impact and Development, Expo 2020; and Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO, UKinbound.

Chaired by broadcaster Richard Dean, the session assessed the role of Expo 2020 Dubai in delivering the UAE government’s long-term vision for economic diversification. Panelists discussed the core theme of sustainability as part of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Year of Sustainable Tourism Development; the potential legacy of the mega project; and the future of the UAE as a knowledge economy, a leading global city, and tourism destination.

Press adds: “With Expo 2020 only three years away, we see dozens of ambitious projects being announced across the UAE. From airports to cities-within-cities, the country has a masterplan for growth and development, including a pipeline of 160,000 hotel rooms, and it is vital that such plans are discussed in forums such as the ATM Global Stage 2017.

“What is particularly important to remember is that tourism is a central pillar to the economic diversification of the UAE and its Middle East neighbours, which means tourism will continue to grow after Expo 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”

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His Highness Seikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum tours ATM 2017

More than 20 ministers also met with industry leaders from across the MENA region at the UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum. Discussions explored methods of capitalising on tourism growth and building a sustainable ecosystem for the sector to unlock its potential within each country’s National Agenda.

On the first and second day of the show, ILTM Arabia debuts with an invitation-only series of one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments between suppliers of luxury products and destinations from around the world, to an audience of high net worth individuals.

The show also features the Wellness and Spa Lounge, the Travel Agents’ Academy, Buyers Club, which is sponsored by Sharjah Tourist Board, and Bloggers’ Speed Networking event.

While in the ATM Travel Tech Theatre, the seminar programme will focus on the show’s 2017 theme. Sessions will include Marketing to Experiential Travellers, Blogging, Social Media, Mobile, Tech and Hospitality Technology.

Exploring the trillion-dollar Muslim lifestyle and food industry, The Global Stage will also host the inaugural ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit 2017, from 12.20pm on Wednesday 26thApril.

The global Muslim travel market was valued at $151 billion in 2015, representing around 10% of the global international tourism market and, by 2021, that value is expected to reach $243 billion. The Global Halal Tourism Summit will explore the business opportunities that exist and how the travel industry can stay ahead of the curve.