Oman Travel Market Show fails to hit the mark

City Seasons Thomas Tapken was not impressed in Muscat

Opinion, Reports, Comment & analysis, Oman travel market

Imagine this, you have invested time and money in creating a great stand, you have printed new marketing literature and you have committed that full page advert in the show catalogue.

You arrive at the show only to find the hall disappointingly empty with very few exhibitors.

So what promised to be a beneficial exercise has turned out to be a huge financial burden with very little ROI. Will you go again?

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Trade shows are an essential component of any business strategy because they enable organisations to network with key trade buyers, create brand awareness, launch new products and generate sales leads.

And for the hospitality industry, trade shows in May are an opportune time for hotels to capitalise on summer business and for the tour operators to negotiate summer packages for the intra-regional and outbound business.

Of course, you have to be particular about which shows to attend and how best to capitalise on them.

Perhaps one of the better examples is the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. It reports year on year growth and remains a priority on every tour operator, hotels group and tourism board’s calendar. It is also widely supported by the whole of the Middle East region.
And here then is the issue.

The recent Oman Travel Market Show held in Muscat did little to impress this year. A distinct lack of local supporters meant that Oman was really not showcasing itself as a destination of choice to its key regions.

Here you have a stunning country that is a favourite for Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand not to mention the, closer to home, GCC market , yet why would the tour operators and buyers of these markets venture to an event where the local hotels and travel agents were conspicuously absent?

I admit that coming so soon after ATM could be a tough sell so perhaps the dates could have been more opportune, but still a trade show such as this is a really good reflection of the destination. It gives participants first hand information and is a vital platform for establishing business contacts.

Trade shows will only work if the host country and its population support them.

It is a sad fact that those events which are poorly organised or lack support have a very short shelf life. While it is true that visitor numbers at many events could be better, those that are lacking exhibitors because of a lack of interest are in serious trouble.

The ‘build it and they will come’ approach simply does not work in this current climate. Organisers need to be more proactive in encouraging local organisations to support these type of initiatives. After all it is their best interests to promote their destination is it not?

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