‘‘We are already planning our stall for the next year. We will be right next to the big boys from the region like the Jumeirah and The Address. It has been a fantastic event and we have had a lot of enquiries and discussions with our travel partners from around the world, notably from India, which is a big market for us globally, but even more so for our property in Dubai,’’ says Doug Greenwood, Marketing Director of Cheval, a British luxury hospitality company, that exhibited at Arabian Travel Market for the first time ever.
Participation in ATM 2023 was crucial for Cheval as just weeks ago, the company has opened its first property outside the United Kingdom, with a Cheval Maison right next to Nakheel Mall in the upscale Palm Jumeirah area of Dubai.
As the fair was drawing to a close on Thursday, Greenwood walked around the fair, getting an idea of other exhibitors at the fair. India Outbound met Greenwood right next to the Italian pavillion, where the three person team of Ace Tours, a 12-year-old Destination Management Company based in Italy, was reviewing the participation and the meetings that the company representatives had conducted at ATM 2023. Of the three, Claude Micallef, the Sales Director, is an old India hand, with over four decades of interactions with various tourism professionals from across India during his tenures at leading French tourism companies like Lido de Paris, Bateaux Mouches and Crazy Horse.
Micallef says Ace Tours participation in ATM was highly successful as the company offers two high-profile European destinations that top the to-do list of most tourists from around the world, but more so the travellers from the GCC countries as well as India. ‘‘We have had some exciting meetings here with travel partners from the GCC region as well as India. Our message to them has been very simple. Ace Tours offers tailor-made and highly specialised programmes that are customised precisely to offer the kind of experiences that a traveller is seeking and that’s why people are coming to us,’’ Micallef tells India Outbound.
The participants at ATM 2023 have reasons to be satisfied with their experiences at the fair since the largest travel and tourism event in MENA has gotten bigger than ever this year. Fiona Ashton, Marketing Manager of Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of the event, tells India Outbound that with over 2000 exhibitors from 150 nations across the globe and over 34,000 professional attendees, ATM 2023 is larger than ever, having registered a 27 pc rise in number of exhibitors.
Ashton says that the event has attracted more exhibitors from almost all regions of the world, showing a rising interest in the regional markets. The highest representation at the event was of course from the GCC countries, with exhibitors like Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi in Dubai and others taking larger than life pavillions, while Asia was also very strongly represented as were hotels and travel tech firms from various countries.
With sustainability as the key theme of the fair, as many as 63 sessions examining the multi-faceted aspects of sustainable travel and tourism were organised over the past four days and a large number of reports, which highlight the current state of affairs and also show the path to NetZero with a number of recommendations for airlines, hospitality industry as well as tourist attractions were released during the ATM 2023.
As part of its 30th anniversary, ATM also unveiled a dedicated sustainability pledge to reinforce the commitment of the organiser, RX, to delivering sustainable events through the use of environmentally friendly materials and the elimination of single-use plastics.