MTF 2004 hailed as best-ever

Egyptian PM Dr Ahmed Nazif inaugurates MTF 2004

NOTWITHSTANDING the regional crises, the tourism sector has bounced back from the depths it had fallen in recent years and the just-concluded Mediterranean Travel Fair (MTF) in Cairo provided ample proof of that.

There was vibrancy in the air as tourism executives met and planned their strategies and explored new markets.
A quick survey by TTN revealed that most of the exhibitors were upbeat over the interest generated at the fair and were eager to take part in the next expo slated for September 2005. The calibre of people attending has been very good this year with more people from the senior management level participating and making themselves available at the stands, said Reed Travel Exhibitions group exhibition director, overseas events, Chris Chackal. More than 160 exhibitors from 28 countries took part in the annual event, the show size going up 22 per cent compared to last year. Unaudited figures showed 7.6 per cent increase on visitor attendance and 10 per cent increase on attendance at the event overall, said organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions.
A number of new exhibitors were present this year. They included Australia, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Italy, Algeria, Yemen and the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) Saudi Arabia.
 “We will look at how we can further improve the show. There are a variety of ways and new ideas to upgrade the show. We would like to encourage a more international presence,’’ said Chackal. “We have created an ideal forum for the regional tourism market to build its future on. We would like to increase the cooperation between the countries and companies. We are excited about the opportunity to grow.’’ The increased awareness and interest in the event reaffirms the essential business networking platform that MTF provides within the Eastern Mediterranean region, added Vicky Crane, marketing manager, MTF.
Among the exhibitors, the Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian, Libyan and the Qatar Airways stands were particularly impressive. Exhibitors and visitors were unanimous in acknowledging that this year’s was the best MTF so far. “MTF provided us with the opportunity to raise awareness of Qatar Airways, highlighting our extensive route network,” said Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker.
The MTF is an important event for the airline as “we are keen to raise awareness among the travel industry about Qatar and to promote Qatar as a travel hub in the region,’’ added another Qatar Airways official. She said it was a very busy show for the Qatar Airways team and they were absolutely happy with the response they received from the visitors.
“MTF is an ideal platform to meet not only local and pan-Arab clients but also international travel trade people,’’ said InterContinental Heliopolis Cairo general manager Thomas Hilberath. “It is actually three fairs in one.’’