Dubai plays host to inaugural Arabian Travel Market Advisory Board
Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) showcase, hosted their inaugural Advisory Board Meeting at the Address Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, bringing together travel and tourism leaders to discuss the untapped opportunities and key challenges facing the industry. ATM’s Advisory Board was set up to provide counsel on industry themes, challenges, growth opportunities and future strategies in the Middle East travel and tourism sector - as well as to help facilitate current business and marketing plans. Board attendees included Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operational Officer, Etihad Airways; Olivier Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality; Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Anita Mehra, Senior Vice President Communication & Reputation, Dubai Airports; John Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Colliers International; Mohamed Awadalla, Chief Executive Officer, TIME Hotels; Bassel Al Nahlaoui, Managing Director, Careem; Mark Willis, Chief Executive Officer Middle East & Africa, Accor Hotels Group; Mohanad Sharafuddin, Chairman, Arabian Falcon Holidays and Muhammad Chbib, Chief Executive Officer, Tajawal. Nick Pilbeam, Divisional Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), said: “The Advisory Board was initiated to allow ATM to get closer to the industry and to listen and learn from some of the region’s key hospitality leaders as they discuss the industry’s key trends, while brainstorming topics and issues that should be debated at next year’s show. “In addition to addressing regional challenges and opportunities, the Advisory Board also stressed the importance of looking at global shifts, trends and events that will impact and shape the future of the travel and tourism industry here in the Middle East, which we will make sure to incorporate into next year’s seminar agenda,” Pilbeam said. Throughout the board meeting RTE shared findings from a market research report commissioned by ATM. The report interviewed exhibitors from all relevant sectors of the industry, including hotels, tourism organistions, car rental, airlines and cruises. This research highlighted the challenges exhibitors are facing in today’s market and the extent to which they are impacting marketing and sales strategies, financial performance, leadership, HR and training. Based on these findings, ATM has developed a list of areas which it will look at in the short-to-medium term to address these challenges. These include providing new buyers, better coverage of specific niches and improved market insights and education amongst others. The planning for ATM 2019, which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019, got underway as board members discussed next year’s theme – cutting-edge technology and innovation – while brainstorming other topics and issues for debate at next year’s show. Pilbeam added: Meeting with key industry representatives to hear their views on ATM, market performance and current trends is invaluable as we work to build the agenda for next year’s show and continue to strengthen our offerings - providing more business opportunities for our exhibitors.” ATM – considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2018 event, showcasing the largest exhibition in the history of the show, with hotels comprising 20% of the floor area. With a spotlight on technology and innovation, ATM 2019 will build on the success of this year’s edition with a host of seminar sessions discussing the ongoing unprecedented digital disruption, and the emergence of innovative technologies that will fundamentally alter the way in which the hospitality industry operates in the region. Arabian Travel Market 2019 will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019.