ATM mulls change in 2008 floor plan

Press: ATM has mirrored the travel and toursim potential of this region

The Arabian Travel Market, the region’s premier showcase for the travel and tourism industry, has a new director at the helm.

As exhibition director Simon Press takes over in time for the 15th edition of the show, TTN’s SHALU CHANDRAN puts a few questions to him, and, with increased connectivity to the Americas, comes away excited at the growing profile of the show.
Excerpts from an interview discussing exhibitor satisfaction, visitor profiles and a tweaked floor plan:

As the new exhibition director, what are your plans for ATM 2008? What changes can we expect to see?
Since its inception, ATM’s success continues to grow and underlines what is definitely the world’s fastest growing tourism region. Arabian Travel Market provides exhibitors and buyers a common forum to interact, learn, network and conduct business. A development side for the show, going forward, we will work closely with exhibitors to drive content at the show as well as work on the seminar series.
With everybody’s time becoming increasingly precious, we will ensure that we offer an engaging platform at ATM and that this is communicated to the audience in such a way that the event continues to be the essential place to do business.

ATM 2007 attracted the highest ever visitor turnout in its history. Can we expect to see another record breaking show?
This is the 15th ATM and, over the years, the show has mirrored the travel and tourism development of this high potential region. In terms of size and visitor turnout the exhibition has annually set new records and we look forward to again delivering an attendee profile which will assist exhibitors in achieving their business aims.
This year will be inviting visitors based on our exhibitors’ needs to ensure communication to these top buyers, both regional and international, spells out the content included within the ATM. This added value route will help meet the challenge to ensure that we attract key decision-makers.

How much business was conducted from ATM 2007?
While we do not capture exact figures and numbers, we have again been given very positive feedback from both exhibitors and buyers, confirming ATM’s position as the must-attend travel event for the Middle East and where business is conducted.

What about exhibitors? Will we see more countries making their debut at the ATM 2008?
As always, we are keen to increase the exposure of international representation and products while continuing to support and develop our links with the Middle East. This will, of course, help us continue to improve the content offered during the event and enhance the show’s attractiveness to the potential visitor.

Who do you think must be invited to participate at next year’s show?
With new routes opening up to the Americas, this is an obvious area for development, along with more products and representation from the private sector and the Middle East.
We will also invite key industry figures who will form part of the content-led seminars and help establish the ‘thought leadership’ aspect to the free-to-attend seminar series.
Have you addressed the various problems faced by visitors and exhibitors, last year? What are the obvious areas that need to be tackled first?
From post-show research, ATM does receive very high satisfaction levels, however, an area that has come to our attention is the floor plan and layout of regions. For 2008 we are looking to place the UAE and Middle East products side-by-side on the floor plan. We will also try to help visitors easily find products through pre-event communication and other initiatives planned during the show.

What can exhibitors and delegates look forward to this year?
Working to ensure exhibitor satisfaction is a mission critical element for us and in 2008 we are looking to increase and ensure that there are enhanced offerings throughout the show. Initiatives include the seminar programme delivered by top industry leaders.
A seminar theatre on the show floor will further increase the availability of this high-end content to visitors as well as exhibitors. We are currently working with exhibitors to ensure the initiatives they run on the stands are communicated as part of the pre-show marketing and PR campaign.