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Arabian Travel Market predicts upturn in business travel demand

Mideast exhibition market sees solid Growth, Dubai World Trade Centre buoyed by strong 2009.

May 2, 2010 8:25 by

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2nd May: The recession affecting the business traveller market appears to be well on the road to recovery, especially within the GCC region and wider Middle East, according to Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director.

The news comes as the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism event – taking place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) from the 4th – 7th May 2010 – gears up for one of the largest editions in its 17-year history.

“GCC air traffic is predicted to see expansion of 12 per cent this year, following growth for the region of around 10 per cent last year – according to a 2010 report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The Middle East is also expected to see a significant rise in the number of events hosted in the region over the next 12 months,” said Walsh.

“According to IATA, international business travel in particular is picking up, following the experience of the past two years in which first class and business class travel were the hardest hit during the recession. By seat class, both economy and premium travel are growing at around 5.5 percent, IATA says.

“Business class travel is vital because those passengers usually pay the highest fares,” continued Walsh, adding that a robust rise in world trade seems to be driving the upturn in premium passengers, as a pent up demand for face-to-face meetings is once more taking place. “IATA’s report suggests that the recovery in business travel is mostly in the regional markets of Asia, with Middle Eastern airlines continuing to benefit from the gains in market share made during the recession.”

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) – the owner and operator of DICEC and the management body of Dubai’s Airport Expo – has also seen an increase in visitors and exhibitions alike over the past 12 months according to its CEO, Helal Saeed Almarri. “In 2009 we saw a 12 percent increase in visitor volumes for exhibitions, conventions and conferences at our venues, with an increase in exhibitor numbers of 2.5 per cent over 2008.

“Late last year we extended the floor area in DWTC to include the three Sheikh Saeed Halls and the new Trade Centre Arena – a total of 25,000 square metres, have been built to accommodate the region’s growing demand for exhibitions. Despite global economic uncertainties, DWTC and Airport Expo Dubai have welcomed approximately 1,240,000 visitors across exhibitions, meetings, and conferences. These figures show the confidence of the international business community in Dubai”, said Helal Saeed Almarri.

Walsh further added exhibitor sign-up to Arabian Travel Market 2010 was very encouraging. “100 per cent of the available space has been contracted and exhibitors from over 60 countries will be attending,” he explained. “More than 60 exhibitors are attending the show for the first time this year, which itself speaks volumes about this region’s business potential.

“In addition, last year’s 6.5 per cent increase in visitors to Arabian Travel Market was a positive indicator to industry experts that the region would buck worldwide trends to record solid growth in the travel and tourism sectors. The Middle East’s ability to adapt and reprioritise to identify and capitalise on new growth trends is one of its greatest strengths.

“Every year Arabian Travel Market strives to increase the content at the show, igniting discussion and debate on the issues that really affect the industry. This year will be no different with a seminar programme in place that reflects current times and economic conditions. The relevance of Arabian Travel Market is now stronger than ever before,” Walsh concluded.

Arabian Travel Market is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai – and under the auspices of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of the Government of Dubai.

Visitor registration for Arabian Travel Market 2010 can be done through the show’s dedicated website:

About Arabian Travel Market

Arabian Travel Market 2009 boasted more than 2,100 exhibitors and stand-sharers, from 69 countries, including 70 new-to-market representatives, as well nearly 60 national tourist bodies representing six continents, including debutants from the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Romania and Nigeria, as well as first-time representation from the Ecuadorian, Slovenian and San Marino private sectors.

The four-day event also had increased space uptake from a number of destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Thailand, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius and Kenya.

Arabian Travel Market is part of the Reed Travel Exhibitions’ portfolio, which includes 15 of the world’s leading travel industry events. For more information visit

Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions organise the world’s leading travel industry events for trade professionals around the globe, incorporating the travel trade, corporate, meetings and incentives sectors including The World Travel Market, Arabian Travel Market and the International Travel Luxury Market as well as niche tourism products such as golf and luxury travel.

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The world’s leading organiser of trade and consumer events Reed Exhibitions excels in creating high profile, highly targeted business and consumer exhibitions and events to establish and maintain business relations, and generate new business.

Every year Reed Exhibitions runs over 470 events in 37 countries, bringing together over seven million active event participants worldwide. With over 2,700 employees in 38 offices around the globe we serve 44 industries worldwide covering a wide variety of industry sectors.

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