Record-breaker expo the best yet


The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2001 was an all-round record-breaker with more exhibitors and occupied space than ever before and the best visitor turnout in the eight-year history of the Middle East's premier travel and tourism show.

Initial figures for the event, which was held from May 1 to 4 in Dubai, UAE, put the number of trade visitors at 6,366, an increase of almost seven per cent on ATM 2000.

The number of press registered rose almost 26 per cent to 476 while consumer attendance soared to 4,420, a hefty 67 per cent increase on the previous year.

'The 'Best Yet' seems something of an exhibition clichŽ, but exhibitor and visitor feedback suggest this show really deserves the description,' said Tom Nutley, managing director of Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organises the show.

'What is most pleasing is that we had more overseas trade visitors than ever before. Some 2,269 trade professionals from 82 countries outside the UAE visited which is almost 36 per cent more international trade visitors than last year.

'The show recorded substantial double-digit growth in visitors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa, the UK and USA. Trade visitor turnout from Syria and Germany doubled with some 103 German travel professionals attending.'

RTE puts the all-round increased show performance down to several factors.

'There's no doubt that the show is now better known worldwide and that the potential of the outbound and inbound Middle East markets is being keenly pursued by all sectors of the industry,' said Matt Thompson, group exhibition director, overseas events, RTE.

'In addition, the spiralling development of the Middle East's own indigenous tourism base is consistently adding new players, and new exhibitors, to the industry.'

The growth in consumer turnout was largely due to the addition of a Thursday evening 'public' session and the involvement of Visa International as official payment card sponsor.

Consumer visitors had to pay a nominal sum to enter the show but were given free entry on production of a Visa credit card.

The exhibition took up five halls at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Occupied floor space was over 8,000 sq m 900 more than in 2000 and a 15 per cent year-on-year increase. In total, 782 companies from 55 countries participated on 216 stands.