ATM heads for new visitor record

Foreign buyer numbers were up by a massive 10 per cent on last year's record, with turn out from Europe, India, Singapore and Japan particularly strong.

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By  David Robinson Published  May 5, 2005

International buyers from 94 countries covering all five continents visited Arabian Travel Market 2005, by the end of the second day of the region's premier travel and tourism show. Foreign buyer numbers were up by a massive 10 per cent on last year's record, with turn out from Europe, India, Singapore and Japan particularly strong. Visitors from Australia tripled and numbers from the UK and Russia were up 20 per cent. The show, organized by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), at the Dubai World Trade Centre, closes on Friday with a session from 4 pm to 9 pm open to consumers. RTE chairman Tom Nutley said: "These figures illustrate the truly international nature of the market served by the show and its key role as a must attend event for the global industry. 'We are on course for yet another record year at Arabian Travel Market with more new visitors, reflecting the continued growth of both the regional and international tourism industry." Chris Chackal, group exhibition director, RTE, added: "This year has seen more buyers coming from every corner of the globe and that is reflected in the positive feedback we are getting from exhibitors about the amount of business being done." Meanwhile tourist authority exhibitors from the UK, Germany, Greece, France and Scotland all praised the show as the strongest ever and predicted it will create even more Middle East business for their countries. Carol Maddison, regional marketing manager, VisitBritain, said: "This year's show is bigger, better and brighter and with European exhibitors in the same hall as the Middle East stands we are expecting a record year. "The feedback from the 25 suppliers on our stand is that the quality of business being done is higher and we expect even more success than last year." She said that after last year's show Middle East tourism value to the UK increased by eight per cent to Pounds 580 million and business from the UAE alone rose 43 per cent to Pounds 179 million. Germany saw Middle East visitor numbers increase by 15 per cent to 500,000 last year and is predicting further growth. "The companies on our pavilion say business is significantly up on last year over the first two days and expect that to continue;" said German National Tourist Board project manager, Yvonne Gottwaiz. The Greek National Tourism Organisation has already decided to book a bigger stand for next year after seeing business booming at the show. "Our travel operators and agents all say they are selling well and are very positive for the future," said marketing executive, Eleni Starveli. "Dubai and the Middle East is an up coming market for Greece and we see Arabian Travel Market as crucial in building this business." Catherine Chabrier, Near and Middle East Promotion Manager at Maison de la France, the country's tourism authority, said: "Exhibitors on our pavilion have been particularly impressed by the quality of business this year. "We took a third more space for this show because of increased demand from the French industry which sees this exhibition as pivotal in developing business." Arabian Travel Market 2004 put Scotland on the Middle East map, according to VisitScotland trade promotions manager, Melanie Angus. "We are now reaping the benefits," she said. "Last year a lot of people were a bit unsure about where Scotland was but we are getting some very positive enquiries and doing good business. This show allows us to target both Middle East tourists for our tours and city offerings and the massive expatriate market for golfing breaks." The show features 1,800 exhibitors, including 106 making their debut, from 64 countries. It covers 38 per cent more floor space than last year's event. Consumers can visit the show on Friday for just Dh5. Children under 16 are allowed in free if they are accompanied by an adult. All entry fees will be donated to the 'Just A Drop' charity to provide fresh water to communities damaged by last year's Asian tsunami. Arabian Travel Market 2005 is held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister and under the auspices of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai

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