Global interest in the event, which runs until Friday at the Dubai World Trade Centre, posted an impressive increase. The number of International buyers flying into Dubai was up by four per cent on last year, and there was a massive rise of 22 per cent in GCC visitors.
Tom Nutley, Chairman, of Arabian Travel Market organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), said: “The strong first day figures reflect the growth in the market and the key role this show serves for both inbound and outbound tourism.
“We have already had visitors from 73 countries, who have invested a lot of time and money attending, demonstrating the strength of global interest in the show”
The show’s specialist MICE hosted buyer’s sessions saw hundreds of exhibitors doing business with the 60 international and 10 regional companies at the evening event.
Chris Chackal, Group Exhibition Director, RTE, added: “These early numbers represent unprecedented growth by any standards and visitors are extremely impressed with the scale of this year’s event and the fresh business opportunities it offers.
“Visitors are very focused, know who they want to see, and yesterday they were getting in first thing in the morning and doing a full day’s business with the exhibitors they are targeting.”
Meanwhile, Indian tourism looks set for a major boost from the event with exhibitors predicting they will do at least 15 per cent more business than last year.
Prakash Jajoria, Regional Director (West Asia & Africa) of the Indian tourism authority, Incredible India, a regular exhibitor, said:
“This year’s show is fantastic and business has been extremely brisk.
“The Indian pavilion has seen more first day buyers than ever before and we expect business to be up by at least 15 per cent on last year.
“The show is much bigger and I am confident it’s going to be a massive success.”
Luxury India Holidays, making its first visit to the show at the pavilion has already decided to book its own stand for next year.
Managing Director of the up market tour organiser, Monisha Makhija, said: “We were told this was a good place to do business and so far I am extremely impressed.
“Our top of the range offering is generating a lot of Middle East interest already.”
The size of this year’s event has also impressed E K Bharat Bhushan, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism.
He said: “The show is beautifully laid out and open. We met buyers from every GCC country on the first day and the signs are extremely positive.”
And Pondicherry Tourism Development Corporation also voted the show a success.
Chairman, Neela Gangadharan, said: “We have been to London and Berlin but this is our first time at this show and I think the facilities here are the best. The number of people interested in doing business with us has been tremendous.”
J & K Tourism of Kashmir, on its second visit to the show also expects a record year.
Senior Manager, Rauf Shah, said: “This year’s show is a real eye opener. This is a great forum for us because people who come here know about India and know what they are looking for.”
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.
It is open to consumers on Friday from 4pm to 9 pm for just AED 5. 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 His Highness General Sheikh 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.
Wednesday, May 4- 2005 @ 12:59 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.