- Chinese visitors up over 100% & international visitors up 20%
- Massive potential of Saudi Arabia’s new ‘White Oil’ recognised
- Travel & tourism technology now beyond disruption, say experts
This year’s Arabian Travel Market witnessed a 106% increase in visitors from China and a 20% increase in international visitors to the event, which was held at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019.
ATM has grown to become the largest event of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world with visitor numbers smashing through the 28,000 mark for the third year in succession.
This year’s event showcased the largest ever exhibition from Asia, witnessing an 8% YoY increase in total floor space, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka being the largest exhibitors.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The continued growth of ATM is testament to the continued strength of the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East.
“It not only brings together travel and tourism professionals from around the globe to discuss the potential of the regional outbound market, where GCC tourists spend over six times the global average.
“In addition, it draws major inbound players, eager to capitalize on the huge amount of investment that is being put into the region’s tourism infrastructure, including its airlines, resorts, attractions and facilities.”
The 2019 edition, which placed a spotlight on cutting-edge technology and innovation, boasted more than 400 main stand holders with over 100 new exhibitors making their debut. The number of countries represented at ATM 2019 totalled over 150.
Identifying the top tourism trends showing the greatest growth potential is one of the most valuable insights ATM has to offer, and this year’s event was no different as it launched Arabian Travel Week – an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows.
ATM 2019 formed part of the inaugural Arabian Travel Week, as well as ILTM Arabia, CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa – a new route development forum which launched this year and new consumer-led event ATM Holiday Shopper which kicked off proceedings on Saturday 27th April.
ATM 2019 got underway with the ‘Arabia China Tourism Forum’. With the overall number of outbound tourists from China projected to hit 224 million by 2022, according to research conducted by Colliers International, the session explored how Gulf states can boost Chinese visitor numbers by catering to the younger travellers arriving from the Far East.
An expert panel revealed that unique and tech-enabled experiences represent a key component when it comes to convincing younger Chinese travellers to visit the GCC. Panellists noted that China’s free independent travellers (FITs) are looking for attractions that are not available in other markets.
Terry von Bibra, GM Europe, Alibaba Group, said: “Smaller groups [of Chinese travellers] are going to new places to discover and have unique experiences – special experiences that they can share with friends on social media, which is very important.
Another of the highlights from the Global Stage was an informative discussion on the potential benefits and pitfalls of technology implementation in the Middle East’s tourism sector.
Panel discussion titled ‘The Big Picture – Who Will Sell Travel Best in the Future?’ revealed gulf-based travel and hospitality companies that use disruptive technologies to boost personlisation and remove friction for customers are likely to become future market leaders.
While innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and personalisation technology have the potential to boost efficiency across the industry, panellists emphasised that operators should always consider how new applications are likely to impact the customer experience.
Fouad Talaat, Regional Manager of Partner Services – MEA, Booking.com, said: “Some of us think we’re in an era of disruption but I think we’ve passed that already. I think we’re in an era of powerful customers.
“We think of ourselves as a customer-first AI company. This means that the application of any new technology is introduced to enhance the experience for our customers.”
New to ATM 2019, focused seminar ‘Why Tourism is Saudi’s New ‘White Oil’, was one of many other sessions on the Global Stage. With Kingdom-based industries in direct contact with tourists expected to generate more than US $25 billion this year, an expert panel discussed the opportunities related to upcoming tourism-focused developments and visa reforms.
The development of new projects such as The Red Sea Project and Qiddiya, both of which are completely reinventing destinations, and the creation of local attractions thanks to the Quality of Life Vision Realization Program and the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) as well as the roll-out of 30-day Umrah Plus Visas, eVisas and specialists visas for events, the Kingdom looks set to attract more tourists than ever before
Dr Badr Al Badr, CEO, Dur Hospitality, said: “We’ve been in the hospitality sector for 42 years and we’ve never seen anything like this. What’s happening now is earth shattering. The change of mindset in terms of opening up this country for visitors – whether for religious or general tourism – is definitely something to be celebrated.”
For more information about ATM 2020, visit: https://arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com.
About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)
Arabian Travel Market is the leading international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2019 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, with representation from 155 countries over the four days. ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market 2020 will take place in Dubai from Sunday, 19 to Wednesday, 22 April, 2020. To find out more, please visit: www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com.
About Arabian Travel Week
Arabian Travel Week is an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows including Arabian Travel Market and ILTM Arabia, as well as CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa – a new route development forum launching this year and ATM’s first ever consumer event ATM Holiday Shopper. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector – under one roof over the course of one week – the inaugural Arabian Travel Week took place at Dubai World Trade Centre from Saturday 27 April to Wednesday 1 May, 2019. For more information visit: arabiantravelweek.com.
CONNECT Route Development Forum delivers a total networking experience, bringing together airports, airlines and aviation suppliers in a format that offers formal one-to-one pre-arranged meetings, engaging industry seminars together with social opportunities to cement relationships with existing clients and engage with new ones. Created and organised by The Airport Agency-France, CONNECT is now in its 16th year and set to attract more 650 participants in June 2019 at its flagship event taking place in Cagliari, Sardinia. For more information, visit: www.connect-aviation.com.
The inaugural CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa event will be the brand’s first and only networking forum in the Middle East. Ideally located in Dubai to address the booming aviation market of the Middle East, it will bring together the aviation and the tourism industries, which are the backbone and catalyst of economic development. For more information, visit: www.connect-aviation.com/2019-meia/.
About ATM Holiday Shopper
ATM Holiday Shopper is the brand-new travel event for consumers offering the very best travel and tourism discounts and deals, plus the chance to learn about a range of emerging and unexplored destinations and activities from destinations around the world. The inaugural event was held in Hall 1 of the Dubai World Trade Centre on Saturday, 27 April, 2019 from 12:00 – 20:00. For more information, visit: www.atmholidayshopper.com.
About ILTM Arabia
International Luxury Travel Market Arabia is an exclusive event for those looking to attract HNW travellers from the Middle East to their destination. Returning for its third year, ILTM will allow international luxury suppliers and key luxury buyers to connect via one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments and networking opportunities. ILTM took place on Sunday 28th April and Monday 29th April 2019. For more information, visit: www.iltm.com/arabia/.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than seven million participants.
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism events organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises six leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than USD 7 billion of industry deals. These events include:
WTM London, a must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating about GBP 3.4 billion of travel industry contracts. The next edition will take place from 4-6 November, 2019. For more information, visit: http://london.wtm.com/.
Travel Forward, a new travel technology event co-located with WTM London and part of the WTM portfolio of events. The inaugural Travel Forward conference, exhibition and buyer programme will take place from 4-6 November, 2019 at ExCeL London, showcasing next-generation technology for travel and hospitality. For more information, visit: http://travelforward.wtm.com/.
WTM Latin America, an exhibition that attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about USD 374 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. The next edition will take place in 2020. For more information, visit: http://latinamerica.wtm.com/.
WTM Africa, which was launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. The next event will take place in 2020. For more information, visit: http://africa.wtm.com/.
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