Industry slams ATM's real estate slant
Delegates and exhibitors attending last month’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) have criticised event organisers for allowing too many real estate companies to showcase their projects at the show.
“The property company’s stands were so large that they broke the exhibition in two. We were in the car rental section and just didn’t get the footfall we expected because there was no walkway through the real estate exhibitions to our hall,” complained Ian Wallace, sales manager Middle East, Alamo.
“We have no problem with Dubai promoting itself, but real estate does not belong to a travel show.”
Ian Alden, sales manager at Prime Travel travel agency in Dubai, added: “If property companies are going to exhibit, that’s fine, but put them in their own section to allow the travel people to get on and do their job.”
Alden, Wallace and every ATM delegate with whom ATN spoke said the exhibition was quiet compared to the 2005 event.
“I think numbers were down on last year despite what organisers say,” said Jacqueline Campbell, managing director of luxury hotel marketing company, The Travel Collection.
“As a result, many hotels are questioning whether it’s the right place to exhibit next year. It’s important to have a presence at ATM, but we have to start calculating the return on investment.”
According to ATM organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), 12,067 industry professionals from 99 countries attended the first three days of ATM, marking an 11.45% increase on 2005.
Sam Poddar, manager of Deira-based agency Mohebi Aviation, disagreed with these figures, but said the slump in buyer numbers worked in his favour.
“It gave me the opportunity to sit down with suppliers I wanted to meet, many of whom are coming on board with us for the first time,” he explained.
Chris Chackal, group exhibition director, RTE, emphasised that this year’s ATM was “the busiest in ATM’s 13-year history”, and in response to industry complaints about real estate content, said: “”In 2005 we witnessed a few of the new property and real estate developers get through and exhibit, but we reacted to this and turned these down in 2006.
At this year’s show, every single exhibitor was linked to a tourism-related project and we will continue to implement these guidelines.”