Dubai is set to welcome largest Arabian Travel Market yet, with the travel trade event set to feature 2,600 exhibitors, 65 national pavilions, over 35 seminar and technology theatre sessions and anticipates 30,000 trade visitors.
Now in its 24th year, the organisers have added an extra hall for the second successive year to accommodate extra demand, with over 150 countries represented, 65 national pavilions, and more than 100 new exhibitors set to make their ATM debut.
ATM senior exhibition director Simon Press said in a statement: "It is clear that the Expo 2020 project is driving growth throughout Dubai, as it aims to complete 160,000 hotel rooms in time to welcome an additional five million visitors over the course of the six-month event. However, the UAE and the GCC countries as a whole are looking towards tourism as a way of diversifying their economies away from their reliance on hydrocarbon receipts."
He added: "The increasing trend is for an immersive style of tourism, which encompasses different areas of local life – culinary, culture, history, shopping, nature, sports, halal, theme parks, wellness and spa, medical tourism and sheer Arabic opulence – and can be the basis for a holistic travel experience, by connecting with a place rather than just making a visit.
"This growing trend is now on the radar of the region’s tourism chiefs as destinations face increased competition for their share of the more traditional travel segments. And it is very much on the radar of Arabia Travel Market 2017, which has adopted experiential travel as the main theme of this year’s event, integrating it across all show verticals and many activities, including focused seminars and roundtable events."
New to ATM 2017, ILTM Arabia will play host to 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, and marketing to experiential travellers will be an integral part of the ATM Travel Tech seminar programme.
The UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum returns, uniting more than 20 ministers with industry leaders in the MENA region to consider methods of capitalising on tourism growth and building a sustainable ecosystem.
Other features returning to the show this year include the Wellness and Spa Lounge (which has grown by 40% and now includes 35 international suppliers and 35 Middle East specialist buyers), Travel Agent Academy, Buyers Club and the Bloggers Speed Networking events.
There will also be a series of seminars, starting with the opening session of this year’s event on the Global Stage, which will look at the role Expo 2020 will play in delivering the UAE Government’s long-term vision for economic diversification.
Dubai’s Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) CEO Issam Kazim said: "2017 began on a strong note for inbound tourism to Dubai with over three million overnight visitors recorded in January and February, representing a 12 per cent year-on-year growth in visitor numbers. A large part of this continued success is due to the ongoing support from our partners – from new and existing attractions, to airlines and travel agents – all working together to evolve and innovate Dubai’s destination offering."
He revealed that on the stand this year, Dubai Tourism will be highlighting several new initiatives including Dubai Sustainable Tourism updates and the new industry training ‘Dubai Expert’ which Dubai College of Tourism will showcase, among other features.
Arabian Travel Market 2017 opens its doors on Monday, April 24 until Thursday, April 27, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.