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Monday 24 April THE OFFICIAL SHOW DAILY——24-27 April 2017 20


SHAPING A NEW TRAVEL EXPERIENCE


Leading the way ATM 2017 shines a spotlight on the region’s tourism future 1 Arabian Travel Market 2016 The 24th edition of Arabian Travel


Market opens its doors at Dubai World Trade Centre today, set against the backdrop of a major shift taking place throughout the region’s travel and tourism industry. Diversification is now the name of the game as across the Middle East, the focus is on future proofing to ensure long-term growth. From Saudi Arabia to Jordan, and from Bahrain to the UAE, the strategy is the same – to broaden the appeal and play to individual strengths, while moving


away from a historic reliance on oil. The result is a series of bold masterplans, that when combined, offer a robust roadmap as the region navigates the decades ahead. Central to the plan, and the official


theme for this year’s show, is expe- riential travel as destinations vie to offer visitors unforgettable expe- riences to tap into the trend and boost visitor numbers. A series of mega theme parks are springing up across the region, while amazing new


entertainment concepts and wildlife attractions are just some of the impres- sive additions to the overall offering. It’s all supported by a first-class trans- port network connecting visitors like never before, as enviable aviation hubs and local carriers continue to go from strength to strength. The hospitality sector has also responded with a diverse portfolio of properties now in place across the Middle East that offers something to suit all budgets, and is bolstered on an almost daily basis.


32


MAXIMISING THE EXPO EFFECT


The long-term plan, however, goes


beyond the leisure tourism landscape to delve deep into the day-to-day workings of destinations, ensuring an offering fit to rival the very best in the world. In Dubai, the plan is to create a knowledge economy by attracting some of the brightest minds in the world, while at the same time foster- ing homegrown talent. Free zones like Dubai Healthcare City have become innovation hot spots where scien- tific breakthroughs and pioneering treatments are helping to boost the emirate’s credentials as a centre for knowledge sharing in the build-up to Dubai Expo 2020. In Saudi Arabia, major changes are taking place across society as a framework is put in place to allow for a thriving business and leisure tourism industry, while in Qatar infrastructural overhauls continue apace as the 2022 FIFA World Cup edges ever closer. Capturing it all, as one of the most important industry barometers, the programme for ATM 2017 paints the most up-to-date picture of the region’s travel and tourism landscape. Kicking it all off, opening session ‘Expo 2020 Dubai: The Legacy’ will look at how the much-anticipated mega-event will contribute towards the UAE govern- ment’s vision for economic diversifi- cation. Bringing together high-level government and private-sector stake- holders, the session will consider the expo’s legacy and how it feeds into the emirate’s wider tourism and knowledge economy goals, as well as considering the impact on the GCC’s travel, tourism and aviation industries. The session will also take a look at developments that are set to transform the region over the next 10 to 15 years.


Continued on page 7


SETTING THE AGENDA


UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai


Arabian Travel Market 2017 will today host more than 20 senior politicians and leaders for the UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum. Entitled ‘Fostering the Contri-


bution of Tourism to Sustainable Economic Growth and Diversifica- tion in the MENA region’, this after- noon’s special session takes a look at the rapid growth of the MENA travel industry, which is tipped to welcome 195 million visitors by 2030. The top- level delegates will also consider the contribution of tourism to sustainable economic growth and diversification throughout the region. Simon Press, Senior Exhibition


Director, ATM, said: “The Middle East has experienced huge changes since the UNWTO Ministers Forum was last held at ATM back in 2015. “This year will reflect the pace


and level of that development, uniting more than 20 ministers with industry leaders in the MENA region to consider methods of capitalising on tourism growth and building a sustainable ecosystem for the sector to unlock


Continued on page 7


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