Arabian Travel Market, the Middle East's premier travel and tourism exhibition which marked its 14th showing at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), could well double in size within the next five years, according to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president, Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai and chairman of the Emirates Group.
This year’s edition was the largest in the annual series with some 2,600 exhibitors from 64 countries – a 24 per cent increase on last year. It featured 116 new exhibiting companies from 34 countries, with first-time representations from China, Croatia, Macau, Palestine, Peru, Ras Al Khaimah, Swaziland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe. The show also marked Visit Palestine's global exhibition debut.
“This exhibition is definitely going to continue on a growth pattern and although it is difficult to say exactly what the growth will be, it could well double in size by 2012," said Sheikh Ahmed.
All records were broken, with an extraordinary 12,305 visitors and 22,655 total industry attendance on the first three days, reserved for business.
Preliminary statistics showed a record 10.4 percent rise in overseas visitors, local visitors were up by 5.3 percent, overall industry attendance rose eight percent while turnout by Meridian Club Members, the VIP club operated by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organizes the event, increased 7.3 percent.
Trade buyers from over 100 countries attended.
As the curtain came down on the 2007 edition of the annual event, exhibitors were tallying onsite business intake which spanned new spa deals for hotels, group outbound and inbound contracts, new convention and meetings events and quotations on overseas cruises.
Saudi Arabia’s Top Adventure won outbound business both to the UAE and Europe. “We signed three deals with UAE operators, another with a Spanish company, one with a UK player and also one with a Swiss agent,” said Khaled Al Rasheed, CEO, Top Adventure.
Next year’s show will be held at the same venue from May 6 to 9.