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Middle class driving travel boom
April 2016 3046

As more and more middle class tourists take to the skies, the 2016 edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) will throw the spotlight on mid-market travel and how the Middle East can develop and grow business from this new wave of travellers, especially from emerging markets.

In addition, the ATM will also focus on luxury travel, spas and wellness, technology, halal tourism, shopping, adventure travel and responsible tourist, according to Simon Press, senior exhibition director at Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of the show.

Now in its 23rd edition, this year’s ATM takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE, from April 25 to 28.

It will will feature more than 2,800 exhibitors from 80 countries across the world and as many as 26,000 visitors over the course of the four-day event.

While the overarching theme for this year’s show is mid-market travel, the event will continue to focus on different market verticals from spa and wellness to cruise tourism, as well as reprise the hugely popular and informative technology theatre series of seminars, workshops and presentations, says Press.

Simon Press

There is demand for new midscale projects right across the region, and this has been identified as both an underdeveloped and potential growth area for the region, driven by demand from the growing middle class markets such as China, India and Africa combined with budget Generation Y travellers and young families, Press tells TTN.

'If we look just at Dubai as an example, data released by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) revealed that up to 50 per cent of the 3,600 new hotel rooms to enter the Dubai market in the final months of 2015 had a three-star or lower rating. This has added much-needed midscale room stock to the emirate’s hotel landscape, where three-star or below room supply only accounted for 29 per cent of total availability in the first quarter of 2015,' he says.

Destinations such as Dubai are already putting in place programmes to encourage investment into midmarket hotels such as the release of government land plots for three- and four-star hotel projects, speeding up of the construction permit approval process to just two months, and the waiver of the 10 per cent municipality room tax for four years upon completion, Press says.

Press also expects the event to generate brisk business by the billions, as usual. 'In 2015 business deals worth more than $2.5 billion were signed over the four days and we look forward to a similarly productive show this year,' he says.

By K S Sreekumar


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