The 2017 edition of The Arabian Travel Market will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 24-27 April 2017 with key themes centered around tourists seeking adventure, culture, heritage, wellness & spa and cruising experiences.
ATM 2017 will integrate the experiential theme across all of the show verticals and activities, including focused seminars and roundtable events, featuring dedicated exhibitor participation.
“Travellers are increasingly looking beyond conventional leisure programmes and itineraries and actively seeking out atypical experiences that deliver a true taste of local culture. This growing trend is now on the radar of the region’s tourism chiefs as destinations face increased competition for their share of the more traditional travel segments and are increasingly looking to diversify their proposition into new and niche markets which require product differentiation and innovation,” said Simon Press, senior exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market.
“The Middle East has an abundance of authentic local experiences to offer from overnight stays in a stone house in remote Omani villages to Old Dubai walking tours that search out the best street food. We also want to create awareness of how to convert concepts into viable commercial realities, to broaden the appeal of Middle East destinations, increase their visitor numbers and revenues, which can support sustainable economic development,” commented Press.
Marketing to experiential travellers will be an integral part of the ATM Travel Tech seminar programme.
“Developing new communications’ strategies is a must to reach out and engage with these consumers, who by the sheer nature of their choice, are unconventional, tech savvy and mobile. So connecting through relevant content via social media platforms, blogs, vlogs and peer-to-peer recommendations as well as third party endorsements, will be examined in depth,” added Press.
Industry professionals throughout the Middle East region are keen to look for new and niche markets, especially in the short to mid-term as Dubai in particular, continues to grow its hotel supply unabated. According to STR, at the end of August 2016, Dubai had grown its room stock to 85,500 across 403 hotels, which is putting added downward pressure on rates as hotels compete for occupancy, with little respite ahead as room supply is set to rise further to between 140,000 and 160,000 rooms by 2020.
ATM – considered by many industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, witnessed a year-on-year visitor attendance increase of 8% to over 39,800 in 2016, with 2,520 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than US$ 2.5 billion over four days.
One new feature is the Chief Information Officer Summit and ATM 2017 also welcomes back the UNWTO and ATM Regional Ministerial Summit as well as other popular features’ such as the Leaders Breakfast, Global Stage, Wellness and Spa Lounge (which has grown by 40% and now includes 35 international suppliers and 35 Middle East specialist buyers) Travel Agent Academy, Buyers Club and the Bloggers speed networking events.