With the holiday season upon us, what better occasion to get into the travel mood than at Arabian Travel Market 2013. Celebrating its 20-year anniversary, the show earlier this month at Dubai World Trade Centre is the biggest travel exhibition in the Middle East.
Top global travel destinations as well as major hotel brands and leading airlines were present at the show, providing a great opportunity to gather information and make travel choices. From luxury holidays to budget accommodation and car rental firms to tour operators, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) covered options for both consumer and business travel.
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As more hotels open, airlines add new routes and global destinations become more accessible, customers have more choice than ever. With the landscape of the travel industry continuously changing and competition increasing, exhibitors at ATM took advantage of the opportunity to differentiate themselves by demonstrating marketing innovation that engaged the audience.
Visitor Attractions @ ATM Dubai
One of the sweetest attractions at the show this year was at Etihad Airways’ stand, where Georgetown Cupcake served cupcakes all the way from Washington DC, to which Etihad Airways now flies direct from Abu Dhabi.
Ritz-Carlton took the lead on social media, while ‘Summer is Dubai’ set the holiday tone of the exhibition with massive branding in the main concourse of the exhibition venue, where the supercar display of Dubai Police gained much attention.
Qatar Airways revealed its many travel destinations column by column as visitors hurried from hall to hall, making the most of the 4 days at the show.
Culture and Heritage
Exotic and dream destinations from South America to the Far East included Argentina, Thailand and Malaysia, whose stands attracted many crowds keen to observe national dances and heritage displays.
New exhibitors @ ATM Dubai
The face-to-face interaction enabled by exhibitions acts as a key driver in raising brand awareness, as FlyGeorgia demonstrated. The airline promoted affordable airfares to Georgia as well as the natural beauty of the country, attracting interest in the destination by awarding visitor prizes through a spin-the-wheel contest.
Peru welcomed me onto their stand with the Spanish greeting ‘Hola’, introducing tourist attractions in culture, nature and adventure across the country.
Stands were packed throughout the show with industry professionals exchanging business cards and curious visitors making enquiries; one such stand was Visit Portugal, also a major exhibitor at ATM for the first time. I was pleased to see Portugal at the show as a destination I remember most for its friendliness, hospitality and feeling of safety as a solo traveller.
Following research for my visit to Portugal, I recall seeing the SANA name consistently in search results and noticing beautiful images of the luxury Myriad Hotel in Lisbon. An interesting discovery I made at ATM was that the new hotel is part of the same group, SANA Hotels, which is the largest in Lisbon. To enquire about Myriad’s luxury facilities, send an Email to Mr. Seth Reimer, Sales Director.
UAE @ ATM
Sponsors MeetME, a niche magazine of Nicholas Publishing International, were busy covering the show and producing the show dailies at their stand, located near Dubai Airports, Emirates, flydubai and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in Dubai.
Emirates of the UAE with individual stands at ATM also included Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital. At Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority stand, exhibitors included those I have reviewed, such as Al Ain Zoo and the magnificent Ain Al Faida.
Dubai-based Motivate hosts industry-leading events such as the Business Traveller Middle East Awards, which took place on the eve of ATM, and at their stand displayed its range of publications including Hello!, Emirates Bride and Gulf Business.
I enjoyed lunch catering by Crowne Plaza Dubai at IHG’ s stand, where I learned about Holiday Inn Bur Dubai and the new signature scent guests at Holiday Inn will notice on arrival in its worldwide hotels.
Chocolate heels made for polishing off were not only edible attractions at Fairmont’s stand as I was informed by truly 5-star representatives: the delicacies are also served at the luxury hotel chain.
Mövenpick displayed their hospitality at a mini-restaurant at their stand, with the impressive Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate hosting the official ATM exhibitors’ party with a wonderful welcome and excellent catering.
Online hotel booking
One of my favourite online hotel booking websites Booking.com was present as an exhibitor, and at the Kuwait stand, the online booking company Fendeq.com marketed their services. A manager of trivago, who was visiting the exhibition, informed me that their website acts as a comparison between various hotel booking websites – and even directly with hotels – to display the best rates, which customers can book directly with the providers themselves.
Travel tips and weekend getaways
Arabian Travel Market 2014
- ATM Dubai is an annual travel and tourism show in Dubai organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions, which includes World Travel Market in London in its worldwide travel exhibitions portfolio
- ATM Dubai 2014 dates are 5-8 May and will be in its 21st year at the Dubai World Trade Centre
- Keep up-to-date with news from Arabian Travel Market by visiting the official website