Travel Channel heads East

Experts in travel TV aim to bring out some positive images of the Middle East.

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By  John Irish Published  March 22, 2004

Television viewers across the Middle East will soon have a new channel on their screens. From April 02, Travel Channel, a UK-based network devoted to the travel industry will begin broadcasting round-the –clock. The channel is set to beam out free-to-air across 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. “It’s very synergistic with what the GCC is going through,” says Gurav Sinha, managing director, Insignia, which will represent Travel Channel across the region. “There’s a change in the economies with more emphasis in tourism, so the timing is perfect from that perspective.” Running since 1994 from the UK and covering over 80 countries spanning from Europe to South Africa, Travel Channel is hoping to tap into the current feel good factor and sudden growing interest in the Arab World. “We’re not new, we’ve been established for the last ten years, and so for us it is a growth plan that we’ve put in place. We intend to recover our investment in two to three years,” he says. Turning the project into reality took Insignia over 14 months with investment reaching over US $500,000 in the first year. Those costs are expected to increase as the need to produce original localised content grows. This is one area, where the channel will need to work on. Currently, it possesses a pool of licenced shows such as Lonely Planet, as well as a spattering of its own productions covering the region. The channel will begin its region-targeted shows with a 30-minute daily résumé of events at May’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM). “It’s important for all exhibitors to get their message across and Travel channel will be the first dedicated travel channel to showcase the event in broadcasts throughout the region as well as across Europe,” explained, Matt Thompson, group exhibition director Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of the ATM.

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