Middle East exhibitors put on show of strength at market


Middle East exhibitors were out in full force at the World Travel Market (WTM), which was held from November 10 to 12 at the ExCel Centre in London, with a number of talking points among the travel and tourism trade being unveiled.

Gulf Air’s eye-catching stand, which included a Formula One simulator, continued to draw the crowds interested in its new products and services, including its recently-launched Sky Nanny service, flights launched to Athens and Sydney and the announcement of a fleet expansion.

New aircraft and in-flight product was also a talking point on the Emirates stand, which was celebrating the inauguration of A340-500 services on routes between Dubai and London Gatwick, Sydney and Osaka. The aircraft boast Emirates’ new-look inflight products, which were introduced recently.

In line with a general increase in the number of exhibitors at the WTM, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company were both back after a gap of several years, the Fujairah Tourism Bureau was a first time exhibitor and, in addition to Gulf Air, the Yemen Tourism Board also had a larger stand this time.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO) used the WTM to highlight an aggressive expansion plan for its tourism industry over the next ten years, in  which more than 100,000 new beds are due to be created with the development of six, new purpose-built resorts including Taghazout near Agadir, where clearance work has already started. The MNTO will also be stressing the diversity of its tourism products.

“There is still a tendency to think of Morocco as only being Marrakech and Agadir but we have a great deal more to offer,” said the MNTO’s UK & Ireland director Ali El Kasmi. “We aim to improve transport links to a number of other centres including Fez, Tangier and Ouarzazate. We also offer a wide range of activities including golf, trekking, sailing and spa holidays.”

Tunisia also highlighted the diversity of its tourism product, including the new Yasmine-Hammamet marina resort, which has 30 four- and five-star hotels as well as self-catering units, a promenade and a Medina designed in an ancient style.

Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera was again a focus on the Egypt stand, although a new beach resort area at El Einsokhua demanded particular attention. Established centres such as Cairo, Hurghada, Safaga and Sharm El Sheikh showcased the diversity of Egypt’s product that makes the destination a popular choice for tourists around the world.