The recently concluded Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition, which is also touted as the largest tourism and hospitality event in Middle East (ME) has been a massive success. The four day event recorded a turnout of 23,000 visitors, a 10 percent jump from the year before. It was exhibited by 2700 exhibitors, an 8 percent jump from 2013 and involved 24,500 square meter of space for tourism related activities, a figure untouched in the previous 20 editions. Icing on the cake was 40 seminars capturing latest trends and analysis on the burgeoning ME and global tourism landscape.

The four day event was exhibited and visited by different players from the tourism and hospitality fraternity such as airline companies, hotels, resorts, convention centers, travel agents and technology solution providers, representing 157 individual countries. In addition, the event has also drawn various government think tanks, media houses and even real estate companies.

Active participation was observed from various GCC member countries as well as from other regions such as Asia, Europe and America etc.

Besides, regular leisure and business tourism, luxury was one of the most talked about themes in the ATM, with most notable announcement being done by Etihad Airways. The Abu Dhabi’s flagship carrier unveiled “Residence by Etihad”, the most luxurious living space in the air. Available in single and double occupancy, featuring a living room, separate double bedroom and an en-suite shower room and a personal butler trained by Savoy Academy in London.

ATM & Regional Tourism

The success events such as ATM could be understood on the backdrop two separate evolving trends associated with the region. Firstly, the region, which is believed to be the fastest growing local and inbound tourism market across the globe, boasts a robust tourism sector which is fuelled by aggressive marketing, powerful aviation sector, rich culture and archeology and emerging trends of luxury tourism. Not to mention good infrastructure, state of the art convention centers and strategic location coupled with rise in economic activities, making it a fertile ground for lucrative event and exhibition industry.

Secondly, every year, popular regional locations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi in (UAE); Amman in (Jordan) and; Muscat in (Oman) are visited by leisure and business travellers in big volume from Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Due to constant rise of tourists inflow, events such as ATM becomes a suitable platform for local, regional and global players to come and set up their presence to interact with stakeholders and prospective partners in order to forge meaningful alliances. Although exact volume of deals finalized in the recent event is yet to be revealed but the response of the visitors indicate that large volumes deals are on its way to be finalized. Unsurprisingly many investors and first timers also visited the ATM to discover and comprehend business investment opportunities in the region.

Similarly, it can be also stated that ME is also home to a vibrant and dynamic population, which is heavily skewed towards the young demographics. In spite of political crisis in some parts, the region’s economy is growing and diversifying fast, resulting into a rapidly growing rich and affluent class, which holds a substantial size and makes significant economic sense. As a consequence, international and regional destination and tourism attractions are actively engaging through multiple platforms to tap into the high spending ME travelers.

In the latest version of ATM alone, 68 national pavilions were constructed from different parts of the globe. To names few, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives, Taiwan and Croatia.  Besides trade and tourism consuls and associations from different Gulf nations, UAE based emirates such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah were also actively involved in the event.

ATM & The Dubai Factor

Though the event is reflection of Pan ME tourism and hospitality landscape, the Dubai factor cannot be discounted, which has been a significant catalyst in ensuring its success. The Emirate that has received over 11 million tourists in 2013 is rolling out an ambitious plan to realize 20 million tourists by 2020, with an anticipated 12 percent growth rate. As a part of its long term plan, Dubai also intends to add 66,000 more hotels rooms in the next 6 -7  years. Out of which around 30,000 would be realized in the short run in the form of 150 new hotels, a 25 percent jump from existing 600.

Along with the long term objective of tourism expansion, the emirate is also making strong investments for the upcoming World Expo in 2020, an event considered to be at par with Olympics. It will feature a state of the art exhibition center called Dubai World Central and involve infrastructure and transportation upgrading. Aligned with its long term tourism expansion and World Expo 2020 plans, Dubai has also stated operation at Maktoum International Airport which is the world’s largest airport near the exhibition site. In addition, the present airport is undergoing massive expansion and is set to surpass Heathrow Airport as the busiest international airport in sometime.

Hence, if our estimation serves us right, Dubai’s that already boasts successful tourism and hospitality market is set for further double-digit growth in years to come. This will bring more sizeable opportunities for existing as well new players.

The growth experiences in the hospitality sector will naturally translate into larger success for events such as ATM. Their significance as ideal platform for, showcasing exciting products and services to a large mass of prospects, facilitating meaningful interaction and alliance and obtaining a ringside view of the latest happening, trends and information on the rapidly evolving tourism landscape of Dubai and ME will multiply. This can be also indicated from the fact that advance booking for ATM 2015 has already commenced.

Research Konnection

The report has been compiled by Research Konnection Team, a Dubai based Market Research and Consulting House with a focus on capturing finer details of various sectors in UAE and translating them into winning propositions. Our emphasis is always on the right suggestion rather than good ones.

If you are someone who is looking out to enter into the Dubai market or want to further research hospitality and tourism sector, then feel free to Konnect. Based on our understanding of local dynamics coupled with our extensive research skills, we can help you with market research needs as well as assist you in developing complete feasibility study and business plan. Our service won’t just be limited to that as we can consult and help you with various other dimensions of running a successful business in Dubai, ranging from company establishment assistance to Konnecting with the suitable and cost effective partners. Feel free to Konnect with us on

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
How can we help you?

Contact us for market research services or submit a business enquiry online.

Contact Us