Setting eyes on new travel trends

With a focus on the growing travel, tourism and hospitality trends in the region, attendees at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) share their insights on emerging market movements, and how well it will benefit the trade in the region as it heads for Expo 2020.


Abdulla Al Dah CEO Al Shaab Village
“Housing the largest ice rink in the emirate of Sharjah, Al Shaab Village is the perfect family destination which preserves the culture of Sharjah yet caters to the many requirements of today’s local and international travellers. ATM is a very important event in our calendar as it is one of the most close-to-home platforms where we can participate and network to provide destinations with more opportunities. Our partnership with Sharjah Tourism Development Authority enables us to build and strengthen agreements with many feeder markets that prefer to visit the destination of Sharjah. Residents from Sharjah, GCC and other emirates are regular visitors who help in the rising number game. Over the past few years, we have witnessed over 250,000 visitors and this year we are working on a new refurbishment plan which will position us at an even higher level as there is nothing similar in the emirate.”
Mohammed Khoori General Manager, Golden Sands Hotel Apartmens
“We are continuously working towards fortifying our presence as a market leader in the hospitality industry by attracting new and wider markets from the GCC, India, China, Russia, UK and other European countries. One way to do this is by making a strong presence at leading trade exhibitions where we meet new suppliers and discover the latest industry trends, innovations, research and insights particularly about the region. We are planning to open our doors to serious buyers and give them the opportunity to promote and sell Golden Sands Hotel Apartments to their customers. With the correct strategy in place, we will remain to be the preferred accommodation of long and short term stay guests, business and leisure travellers and family, groups or individuals.”
Nia Niscaya Deputy Minister of Tourism Indonesia
“With the transformation of the organisation of Ministry of Tourism into a customer centric strategy, the structure is now based on the needs of travellers in terms of creating tourist-friendly products. It is hoped with this new strategy we can reach our target this year. Despite a decline in tourist arrivals from Middle East in 2017, the Middle East market continues to contribute in spending and helping generate revenues more than any other market. Out of 9.2 million people in UAE, 8.8 million are active internet users, and 6.3 million are social media users. Therefore, our promotion strategy is now focused towards digitalisation as most people tend to make bookings of flights and hotels through their smartphones. Besides, adventure and responsible tourism have a double function to play for economic benefit to the community and visitors.”
Timothy Njihia Country Manager—UAE RwandA
“The airline industry is evolving at an unprecedented rate with rising customer demands. These demands have evolved from passive to proactive and this redefines the engagements and competitive landscape for both airlines and travel industry players. Being a leading global event, this is a grand opportunity for RwandAir to showcase itself to an international audience both as an airline and the strategic link for Rwanda with the outside world. Our key highlights include our service, latest destinations and entry into new geographical markets. These exhibitions are key drivers for creating industry networks, opportunities and commercial success. My most valuable networks originate from these exhibitions I have attended across the world. Our delegation will have the General Consulate of the Republic of Rwanda in Dubai and Northern Emirates, and Rwanda Development Board amongst others.”
Markland Blaiklock Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Centara Hotels and Resorts
“We’re approaching the end of the first full year operation at Centara Muscat Oman and we’re very pleased with the performance in exceeding targets regularly. The volumes are not yet huge but they are growing in leaps and bounds with many new flight routes and increase in the volume of flights from both flagship and low-cost carriers. Our Dubai-based regional team will be present at ATM this year, joined by senior executives from our corporate headquarters and key General Managers. Centara Residences & Suites will open a luxury branded hotel and a themed family resort in Dubai in 2020. The Middle East is a key region of focus for us. In addition to projects mentioned, we expect to open at least two more properties in Dubai besides exploring opportunities in Abu Dhabi.”
Matthew Powell Managing Director—Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Travelport
“Our stand will include demo pods that allow visitors to experience how we help agents drive revenue by providing realtime access to a vast array of products and serives. These include high quality content, delivering powerful business and competitor insights using our analytics tools, and engaging travellers throughout their travel journey. As the only travel commerce platform to achieve IATA’s highest certification as an NDC Level 3 Aggregator, we will also have experts on the stand discussing how we are extending our leadership in this area by industrialising our NDC capability and incorporating NDC content into our suite of products for airlines and travel agencies. Our experts will discuss how we are using our merchandising solution to help travel agents boost sales by displaying, gaining information and selling branded fare families and ancillary products.”
Samir Mehta General Manager, Arabian Adventures
“Experiential travel together with sustainability of the environment are being increasingly sought-after by tourists. The growth of millennial tourists is contributing to an increase in the late booking trends, thereby making strong digital presence vital. The diversification of product offerings and tourist segment mix is indeed supporting growth in adventure tourism to UAE. From dune buggies, zip lines, jet-ski, snow-ski and helicopter rides, safety standards are essential to ensure the sustained growth in this segment. ATM is a key tourism trade event, with increasing number of buyers and exhibitors from this region and beyond. Arabian Adventures will be at the Dubai and Abu Dhabi stands to meet trade partners and showcase our products and services.”
Ahmad Al Abdulla Chairman Central Hotels
“Central Hotels will be unveiling two new properties this ATM which is set to double its inventory of keys with the opening of two spectacular hotels namely Royal Central The Palm (207 keys) and Canal Central in Business Bay (280 keys). Central Hotels’ impressive growth in Dubai is fuelled by the city’s extensive expansion of tourism infrastructure in preparation of Expo 2020. Our expansion strategy demonstrates our commitment to support the growth of the destination and its envisioned potential. We look forward to being a part of this incredible success by contributing positively to the hospitality sector in the UAE.”
Christophe Mousset General Manager The Oberoi, Al Zorah
“We are extremely proud of the success and development of The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah since its opening in 2016. From the time when we officialy launched the property, we have welcomed an array of guests, both local and international alike who, have seemingly all held the property in the same favoured regard. The overarching feedback from our guests supports our conceptual aim to offer a unique 360-degree resort experience with a perfect balance of sun, sea, nature and design, as well as upholding the worldwide standard of The Oberoi brand’s exemplary services. We continue to receive exposure and recognition in regional and international markets and look forward to a prosperous ATM and year ahead.”

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