Arabian Travel Market, the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East, has revealed that 70% of exhibition space for its 2011 event has already been sold after unveiling a new format to its four-day event. An additional day of business focus has been introduced while still maintaining a dedicated session for consumers.

So far confirmed exhibition space totaling around 15,000 square metres has been secured, which is a 5% increase over the same marketing period last year. Indeed, despite a fragile global economic recovery, retention rates for Arabian Travel Market have been particularly impressive with a 63.6% average over the last three years, which rises to an average of 72.6% for companies who have participated for two consecutive years or more.

“To sell 70% of our exhibition space, at this stage of the marketing cycle with such consistent retention, is a testimony to the strength of our brand. It also highlights the fact that we deliver our promise, our extended business sessions are a good example of that,” said Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and approaching its eighteenth year the show takes place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

In 2011 the event will open a day earlier running from Monday to Thursday (May 2-5), with new opening times creating an extra day of business on Thursday followed by a dedicated consumer session later the same day between 3pm and 9pm.

The Arabian Travel Market has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. The 2010 show attracted 2,236 exhibitors covering over 20,000 square metres and more than 22,000 visitors.

Underscoring the strength of the Arabian Travel Market brand throughout the region, Rotana Hotels Management Corporation, one of the leading hotel management companies in the Middle East and North Africa, has agreed to sponsor the pre-event registration process and the onsite registration area at the show.

“Rotana is a well respected, dynamic hospitality brand with ambitious expansion plans, having already grown from from 2 properties in 1993 to 42 today, exemplifying the extraordinary growth throughout the region over the past 15 years,” said Walsh.

The agreement is an exclusive sponsorship opportunity with high brand visibility on all registration collateral material as well as high impact onsite exposure including registration staff in Rotana-branded uniforms.

Omer Kaddouri, Chief Operating Officer of Rotana, said: “Our overall objective at the show is to strengthen our regional presence and to support our expansion plans for 70 properties by 2014. Sponsoring the pre show and onsite registration at a premier event such as Arabian Travel Market, will assist us greatly in promoting our brand and showcasing the products within the Rotana portfolio.”

Rotana currently operates 42 properties across the Middle East and North Africa including luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Beirut, Kuwait, Syria, Sudan, Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh .

“In addition, all participants who pre-register for Arabian Travel Market 2011 will be eligible for a 10% discount on their airfare from Emirates,” said Walsh.

For more information on Arabian Travel Market 2011, please log on to www.arabiantravelmarket.com