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14 Saudi companies for premier regional travel & tourism show

United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, March 05 - 2002 @ 16:29

Saudi Arabia is to maintain its prominent presence at Arabian Travel Market – the region’s premier travel and tourism exhibition, which will be held at the Airport Expo Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from May 7-10 this year.

Fourteen companies from the Kingdom will be directly represented at the show, with dedicated Saudi exhibitor space of 304 square metres – a slight increase on 2001.

“New to the show are tour operators Mawassim Tours, Shaayert and Attar Travel Centre all of Jeddah,” explained Matt Thompson, Group Exhibition Director (Overseas Events), Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organises the show.

“In addition, several Saudi exhibitors who were present in 2001, have increased the size of their participation this year. They include Makkah’s Hospitality Wings for Tourism and Medina’s Taiba Residence Suites both of which have boosted their stand sizes by 25%, while Saudi Arabian Airlines has increased its stand by 50% to 90 square metres.”

Thompson added that many of the Kingdom’s hotels will also be represented at the show taking part in pavilions mounted by their international managing chains.

“The sustained Saudi participation is in line with the Kingdom’s more focussed efforts on developing an inbound tourism infrastructure and industry and reflects new opportunities opening up from intra-regional travel, which has surged since the effects of September 11 last year.

“While international outbound travel may have been negatively impacted, the industry is reporting greater-than-ever interest in intra-regional travel and this will be in strong focus at this year’s show.

“We are particularly pleased at the level of repeat bookings from Saudi Arabia – a clear indication that the show is delivering genuine business results for participants.”

In addition, one Saudi exhibitor – Dar Al Manasek of Jeddah – is to deliver an address at the educational seminar programme running at Arabian Travel Market 2002 on May 9.

“Jamal Abbas, Chairman of Dar Al Manasek, will outline to delegates developments in the Kingdom’s Hajj and Umrah Tourism sector,” said Thompson.

Other topics to be presented during the seminar programme include ‘Marketing To American Associations and Corporations,’ ‘Using Technology To Target The American Meetings and Incentives Market,’ ‘Sustainable Tourism’ and ‘How To Attract and Retain Customers Through A More Secure Online Payment Alternative.’

Representatives from the Connected International Meeting Professionals Association (CIMPA), the Pacific Asian Travel Association (PATA), Green Globe 21 and Paybox UK are among seminar speakers.

“There is a deliberate heavy focus on the US market in the programme because American associations and corporations spend over US $110 billion in meetings annually – a great market for outbound destinations to tap,” said Thompson. “The seminar will explain how US organisers select meeting sites and professional organisers. Currently there are approximately 45,000 US-based associations, each organising anywhere from 5-120 meetings each year. About 46% of them organise international meetings, according to a state of the industry report by Deloitte and Touche.”

Saudi Arabia’s leading travel buyers are again in the Arabian Travel Market spotlight with some of the Kingdom’s top purchasers being invited onto the show’s special hosted buyer programme.

Twenty Saudi tour operators as well as 50 of the world’s leading incentive decision-makers will be hosted. They will meet Arabian Travel Market exhibitors and participate in a buyer-meet-supplier on the first day of the show.

“The Saudi MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) market is the focus of our hosted buyer programme due to industry demand and research among our exhibitors,” said Thompson.

Saudi Arabia is among 47 countries from which, to date, exhibitors have registered for the show. “The profile includes 42 official destination pavilions and the mix is as great as ever both in product and geographic destination offerings,” said Thompson.

“The Far East is well represented as is Africa, Europe too remains committed. The only area not to have lived up to our pre-September 11 expectations is the USA, where perhaps the travel industry’s focus has now taken on a more domestic approach.

“But the good news for industry visitors to the show is that the product profile is in fact growing, opening up more business opportunities. For instance, one of the leading yacht brokers and operators of luxury crewed yacht charters in Greece will be at the show for the first time – indeed it is the first time a yachting supplier has been represented,” said Thompson.

Last year 59% of Arabian Travel Market visitors polled said they attended the show with the specific aim of finding new products or developments.

“Specialist services, such as yachting were also listed by trade visitors as one area they would like to see more of,” said Thompson.

Last year some 338 trade visitors from Saudi Arabia visited Arabian Travel Market – which was up 5.3% on 2000. “Year on year our visitor turnout from the Kingdom has increased and we are hoping for a similar result this time,” said Thompson. “With industry analysts predicting that intra-Arab tourism is likely to double within a decade, it is more vital than ever that the foundations are put in place to address growth in this burgeoning sector.”

Saudi Arabia remains a key target for outbound suppliers and is listed as among the top five regional markets by overseas exhibitors.

“Turkey, for instance, is staging its biggest-ever Arabian Travel Market promotion this year and says Saudi Arabia is its biggest market in the GCC,” said Thompson. “Turkish tourism officials say in the first nine months of last year, arrivals from the Kingdom were up 35% on 2000 — but they are now looking to boost traffic even further.”

“Despite the international travel slowdown we do expect this year’s event to match last year’s record showing when over 700 exhibitors from 59 countries participated and over 10,000 people, including 6,336 trade professionals visited,” said Thompson.

Arabian Travel Market 2002 will feature the Internet Café run by Expatsite.com which proved so popular last year and its official carrier, Emirates, which flies from the Kingdom to Dubai is offering bona-fide delegates concessionary fares to the show.

Arabian Travel Market 2002 is the ninth in the highly-successful annual series, the only travel and tourism event with a true Pan Arab reach.

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Tuesday, March 5- 2002 @ 16:29 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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