Arising, stronger than before

With the New Frontiers Awards coinciding with this year’s Arabian Travel Market, Reed Travel Exhibitions’ Tom Nutley tells KEITH J FERNANDEZ why the award is so important, and why it should be an inspiration
RTE’s Nutley

Why is the time right for this award?
Increasingly destinations suffer from wild card events that impact dramatically on their tourism industry.

As the world’s largest travel exhibition organiser we would like to support such destinations in these times of crisis. There is so much to rebuild after such events, helping a country market their destination to the industry is one of the most affective ways Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) can help. It is also an integral part of RTE’s corporate social responsibility programme 

Where did the idea come from? 
After the Bali bombings the destination faced a challenge in getting tourist back to the destination. The greatest support they could have had was from the travel industry and travel associations.  We at Reed felt we could help destinations facing these problems with the New Frontiers Award.
I believe you are personally very involved with the New Frontiers Award. Why does this mean so much to you?
From a personal perspective I find it heartbreaking when I read about disasters whether man-made or natural that devastate otherwise thriving communities, not to mention the tragic loss of life. What has taken many years to build can be torn apart in seconds and through the New Frontiers Award I can personally contribute in some small way towards an exceptionally worthwhile cause. 
Why give it out at the ATM in Dubai? Surely a larger event such as your own WTM would be more appropriate? 
The New Frontiers Award is the only award endorsed by RTE at ATM giving it a forum for maximum exposure. World Travel Market is RTE’s flagship event with many awards, events and announcements. Whilst ATM is a four-day whirlwind of new launches and announcements, the New Frontiers Award is starting to establish itself as part of the ATM week.
As climate change threatens to impact the entire industry, not to mention the world economy, would the award be extended to cover organizations/ destinations that helped avert such overwhelming problems?
The award is only in its second year and there is no reason why we can't broaden the awards to include climate change initiatives
However, the prize of $10,000 of exhibition space at ATM gives destination the opportunity to market their product to a captive audience at ATM. It makes sense for the award to go to a destination
How far will such awards inspire the industry to reach out in a spirit of co-operation to help other countries?
The New Frontiers Award sets a fine example for other industry professionals to follow, it should inspire those within the travel industry after all we are all committed to developing the travel industry and it is within everybody’s interest, to ensure we have a healthy vibrant industry professionally, personally, ethically and morally.
Has Phuket been able to capitalize on last year’s win?
After winning the inaugural NFA, Phuket had a very successful MTF in Cairo and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) were looking forward to a bumper winter season. Unfortunately only a couple of weeks later, the Thai government was ousted during a military coup. Naturally this would have affected tourist numbers, TAT has suggested that the number of visitors is now increasing again and their target of 13.6 million tourists now looks achievable. 

(The New Frontiers Award will be presented in a special awards ceremony at the ATM’s annual exhibitors’ party at the Grand Hyatt Dubai on May 1)