ATM seminars focus on industry issues


A total of 14 leadership seminars tackling key industry issues will be staged for the first time on the show floor at the 15th Arabian Travel Market (ATM) held this year between May 6 and 9.

“For 2008, we have worked closely with exhibitors and industry leaders to drive content for the seminars with topics being developed on last year’s post show research,” said Sarah Kitley, marketing executive, Arabian Travel Market.  “We have spent considerable time conversing with exhibitors to identify their key business challenges. The seminar subject matter is a direct response to meeting these needs.”
The seminars, chaired by well known industry heavyweights, will be a major pull for top level visitors, decision makers and governmental officials, according to Reed Travel Exhibitions, event organisers.
“With everybody’s time becoming increasingly precious, we want to ensure we offer an engaging platform and that this is communicated to the audience in such a way that the event continues to be the essential place to do business and increase industry knowledge,” said Simon Press, exhibition director ATM.
“We have consistently reviewed the seminar programme to ensure it addresses all the key issues impacting the industry, and this year is no exception. One of the main factors in 2008 is for the programme to focus on both region specific trends as well as those affecting the global market.” 
On Tuesday May 6 at 1pm Andrew Cowen of Sama Airlines, will be speaking on Starting a Low Fares Airline in Saudi Arabia. The presentation will cover many of the issues that Sama has had to face along the way including investment, regulatory, commercial and operational issues and the strategies adopted to resolve these.
On Wednesday May 7 there will be a panel discussion starting at 11.30am entitled Recruitment and Retention Strategies in the Middle East Hotel Industry. The panel of speakers include representatives from Rotana Hotels,, Hospitality Search International, Hyatt International and Kerzner International.
This will be followed by MeetMe – A Meetings, Industry, Conferences and Events Overview by NPI Media, with speaker Rob Nicholas of MeetMe. Results of the first ever specialist research undertaken for the meetings industry in the Gulf will be presented at this seminar.
David Van Der Meulen of Motivate Publishing will be Going Green and speak on who’s doing what and the significance of corporate and social responsibility for travel.
Anne Jamieson, the Sunland Group, will speak on Palazzo Versace, the first fashion branded hotel, and at 4.30pm Jean-Claude Baumgarten of the WTTC presents Global Putlook, Regional Trends for 2008 and Beyond, including an overview of The Global Travel and Tourism Summit.
At 5.30pm TravelMole-Social Networks and Web 2.0 is the subject of a talk by Graham McKenzie from TravelMole.
On Thursday May 8 from 1130 FutureBrand – Country Brand Index Results and Findings is presented from 1130 by Rina Plapler of FutureBrand. Following this at 1.30pm is a presentation from Lawrence Hunt on SilverJet, the all business class airline: The New Success Story.
Medical tourism and the emerging industry of global healthcare are discussed at 2.30pm by Jonathan Edelheit and Renée-Marie S Stephano, both from the Medical Tourism Association.
The Big Debate on the future of travel agents and the development of online travel bookings is hosted by SFT Bank and starts at 3.30pm. An Introduction to TravelEyes follows, this is the award winning tour operator providing holidays for both blind and visually impaired as well as sighted travellers. The seminar presented by Amar Latif of TravelEyes, covers his business model.
At 5.30pm a seminar on Yotel, 21st Century Travel: luxury and affordability in a small space, has speaker Gerard Greene from Yotel at the helm.