Industry challenges to come under spotlight


Bahrain will host this year's Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Conference under the theme "Tourism - A Real Business in a Real World".

The conference will be held at the Gulf International Hotel and Conference Centre on May 4-5 under the patronage of Information Minister and chairman of Supreme Council of Tourism, Nabeel Al Hamar.

The conference will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the tourism sector in the Gulf, together with the increasing need for government and industry to work together to ensure that the region benefits from the predicted growth of tourism.

At the conference in 2001, the first tentative steps were taken towards the development of marketing the region as a "Single Destination". The development of such an initiative was always seen as being a medium to long term goal.

The subject will continue to be addressed in 2002 in the hope that the conference will be a catalyst towards the creation of this ideal, said the organisers.

Speakers at the conference have been drawn from a broad cross-section of the industry.

To address the issue of the effects of September 11 and other events that made press headlines last year, Nick Van Marken of Arthur Andersen will present their latest research on tourism trends.

To demonstrate the more practical effect, a panel of hoteliers, airlines and tour operators will share their experiences of what everyone agrees was a "difficult" year.

Meanwhile, Turkey is to stage its biggest ever promotion at the ATM in Dubai in May as the country looks to build on a surge in tourism from the GCC.

The Turkish Tourism and Information Office is mounting a 141 sq m pavilion at ATM 2002, which will be held at the Airport Expo Dubai from May 7-10. The pavilion will be 18 per cent bigger than last year.

The expanded ATM participation comes as Turkey celebrates a 71 per cent increase in its tourism arrivals from the Gulf and looks for even bigger regional gains.

The Turkish tourism and Information Office is one of 36 national/state official tourist bodies currently contracted for ATM, which is organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE).

"The exhibitor profile currently spans 38 countries, a mix of both inbound and outbound destinations, which demonstrates the continuing appeal of the Middle East market in times of an international industry slowdown," said Matt Thompson, group exhibition director (Overseas Events), RTE.