Nasir Jamal Khan

ATM: The backbone of inbound tourism

The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has witnessed steady growth in recent years, with more exhibitors joining in the event every year. It has become one of the largest travel and tourism trade exhibitions, connecting the whole world on one single platform.

Participation at ATM is important not just for the travel agents and tourism companies in the GCC and Middle East, but to exhibitors from around the world too. For example, destinations such as Georgia, Azerbaijan and Bosnia have been enjoying increased traffic from the region mainly due to participation at ATM. Today, they are amongst the top destinations for outbound travel from the GCC/ME market. Countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Peru are also seeking increased traffic from the Middle East as they recognise the potential for tourism growth, with direct connections from the Emirates enabling hassle-free travel for visitors.

ATM brings a host of benefits to all stakeholders, partners and agents in the region and globally. Four days of networking to connect with the whole world brings a wealth of opportunity. Most countries have been successful in increasing market share by participating at ATM, hence the reason that we see a growth of new markets, buyers and exhibitors from around the world each year.

Dubai’s connectivity plays a very important role in its attraction as a travel hub, a fact which many travel businesses are aware of and capitalise on to the maximum extent at ATM. Each year new destinations take part to attract more visitors from the region in a reciprocal process that also raises the profile of the GCC at those destinations. ATM also brings foreign travel agencies to Dubai to network directly with local operators, who enjoy the benefits of exposure to many different markets in one platform.

ATM gives ample opportunities to the inbound tourism market as it facilitates the inbound tour operator. Tourism in Dubai increases Year-on-Year as the UAE’s visionary leadership works with the department of tourism and other stakeholders and partners to consistently bring something new to the market. As a result, ATM will keep getting stronger every year, enabling not just the UAE but the whole GCC region to ensure sustainable tourism growth in the region.

From the general list of markets, both inbound and outbound travel from Saudi Arabia, India and China has increased over the past year. Since Air Canada launched direct operations with three weekly flights to Dubai a year ago there has been an increase in the traffic from Canada. Outbound to Turkey and inbound from Russia is yet to pick up, although inbound from Turkey is still steady, as direct connectivity by both Emirates and Turkish Airlines ensures an increase in traffic to the region and beyond. Although there was an initial drop of visitors from the UK, we are now witnessing strong traffic.

Overall, the outlook is extremely positive for yet another hugely successful Arabian Travel Market exhibition.

Nasir Jamal Khan, CEO, Al Naboodah Travel and Tourism

(The views expressed are solely of the author. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)

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