Although I have not been the full 40 years with our travel magazine, I have been for more than half its life (26 years), so I have a few stories of my own to tell!
Even in 1993 when I joined Al Hilal Group and TTN, in Bahrain, there were hotels only in the city centre and now, there are luxury brands across the Kingdom. When I travelled to Dubai, the World Trade Centre building and the Clock Tower roundabout were the landmarks you used to find your way, now neither of those can be seen.
When it comes to leisure and theme parks, there were only a few as well like Adhari Water Park and Al Areen Wildlife Park in Bahrain and Wonderland Waterpark here in Dubai and now, there are so many to choose from, including inside the largest malls!
Even today, you blink and something new has popped up – there really is no other place in the world quite like ours.
Where the traditional outbound markets used to be London, New York and Paris, the rapidly growing air travel network of the GCC and Middle Eastern carriers, has enabled the world to become our oyster. Far-away places like Finland and Sochi in Russia, for instance, are either appointing representatives or opening offices here and the same goes for the GCC countries opening up to more markets across the world.
But for me the true highlight has been the amazing people I have had the opportunity to meet and to work with, including sheikhs, presidents and CEOs, all of who are passionate about this amazing industry.
To all the clients regionally and internationally who have supported TTN and me personally these last 26 years a big thank you, as even through the good and the difficult times, you have been supportive whenever possible.
But most of all, I think I was the most lucky person to have walked into our MD’s office that day in 1993 and be offered the most amazing job in the most amazing industry that has been a part of nearly half my life and enabled me to see more than 34 countries and make great new friends.
Here is to the next 40 years!
– The writer is publishing director, Travel & Tourism News Middle East.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.