Unprecedented turnout at ATM 2004

HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Information Minister opening the ATM 2004 at the DWTC

THE Arabian Travel Market 2004 (ATM), the largest edition yet of the 11-year-old Middle East travel and tourism show, attracted a record-breaking audience of trade visitors and consumers.

The show, held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, featured over 1,400 exhibitors from 55 countries and was 30 percent larger in terms of occupied floor space than 2003.
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organises the show, said the record was ‘unprecedented’ and a vote of confidence in the industry. Initial unaudited registration showed 8,606 trade visitors from 96 countries attending the show – 25 percent up on last year, while consumer attendance soared 85 percent to 8,224.
“This was most certainly the best Arabian Travel Market yet. Most encouraging is the 47 per cent increase in overseas trade visitors,” said Tom Nutley, chairman, RTE.
The event featured the first-ever official pavilions from Abu Dhabi and Iran. Twenty-four more countries than last year sent delegates, including Bermuda in the West and the Comores in the South.
The larger attendance also spurred brisk business with several companies reporting on-site deals. More than 80 new hotel developments in the region were announced at the event.
From regional hotels selling MICE packages such as the Kuwait Hilton to companies pushing holidays to the frozen North, everybody was at the show and visitors spoke of tying up numerous deals across the board.
RTE, meanwhile, has begun planning for Arabian Travel Market 2005, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 3-6 as commitments for the 12th edition begin to pour in. Countries and private sector companies alike are looking to grow their participation.
RTE says despite the sudden surge in floor space sales this year, further growth for next year is on the cards, but at the more usual 10 percent to 15 percent rate. “Growth is achieveable because of all the new projects coming up in the Middle East and because regional airlines are opening new routes, which will in turn open up new markets for us,” added Nutley.