ATM Kicks Off Today

The importance of the Middle East in reviving the global travel and tourism industry beset by a global economic turmoil is underscored by a stronger-than-expected exhibitor presence at the Arabian Travel Market, which opens today at the Dubai International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

It should be noted that Arabian Travel Market's potential is highlighted by the presence of 2,100 exhibitors, a line-up slightly smaller than the show's previous 2008 edition, to promote greater business development by means of enhanced business friendliness and knowledge sharing capabilities.

It was confirmed by Mark Walsh, Group Exhibitions Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions that a performance barometer for the Middle East tourism industry was put forward by Arabian Travel Market, or ATM, participation and attendance.

Mr. Walsh said, "This year's showing is indicative of the wider picture. There are elements which are outperforming last year's event, which signals the market is eager to utilize top-tier, business events to help develop new revenue streams and partnerships which will prove critical in facilitating the sector's resurgence."

The 16th edition of the show has drawn 70 new-to-market representatives in spite of the ongoing slump in the travel industry worldwide, underlining the importance of the Middle East to the industry's global recovery.

"While we have seen marginal declines in exhibitor numbers and floor-space, we have received only a few cancellations. Much of this is down to the fact that across the globe people are scrutinizing their marketing budgets as return on investment become more pertinent," said Walsh while speaking at a Press conference to announce the opening of the exhibition.

It was expressed by Walsh that it would not be appropriate to compare last year's edition with the current show.

It should be noted that nearly 60 national tourism bodies representing six continents, including new-to-market showings from the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Romania and Nigeria as well as representation from the private sector in Ecuador, Slovenia and San Marino would be included in the show which is seen as the region's premier travel and tourism showcase.

An expanded seminar programme is also boasted by the 2009 show with more than 30 experts discussing a variety of key topics.