The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) opened its doors to buyers, exhibitors and media on Monday in the bustling Emirates hub of Dubai.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister for the UAE and current ruler of Dubai had the official duties of opening the 2012 exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
ATM is an annual event that brings together exhibitors, buyers, media and travel industry experts from across the globe for four days of intensive conferences, meetings, interviews, seminars and displays.
The commencement of the expo saw travel industry stalwarts such as Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways and UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai give talks about the current state of the region’s tourism.
“The political events that have unfolded in the Middle East and North Africa have severely disrupted the flow of tourism to the region. This is a fact,” Mr Rifai said at the UNWTO Ministers’ Summit held on the first day of ATM.
“In 1990 we only had 18 million travellers to the Gulf region. The 18 became 80 million in twenty years… the progress is remarkable. With the exception of 2011 the record and the story about this region has been outstanding.”
At the ‘Dubai Experience’ welcome meeting, hosted by Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Abdullah Bin Suwaidan, deputy director overseas promotions and inward missions, said that Dubai is continually striving to be the leading tourism destination and commercial hub worldwide.
ATM has been growing and expanding over the past nineteen years and prides itself on being the largest exhibition in the region and one of the biggest of its kind worldwide.
Representatives from 87 nations and delegates from 54 national tourist organisations will meet again tomorrow to continue the popular exhibition with seminars and talks addressing issues such as Ramadan tourism, attracting Chinese visitors to the UAE, challenges facing aviation growth in the Middle East and many more.
ATM will run from 30 April through till 3 May.To visit or register and for the latest information visit the Arabian Travel Market website.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T