The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has unveiled its high profile participation in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism event to be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 2-5 2011, for the 14th consecutive year.

Underscoring the importance of being part of the region’s largest trade and consumer travel exhibition, SCTDA Chairman HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi said the ATM this year could see a substantial increase in the number of exhibitors, tourist destinations and products, and will present an important platform for Sharjah and the UAE.

“ATM provides us with a great opportunity to showcase the emirate’s unique tourism products and services and promote Sharjah as a world-class tourist destination,” said Al Qassimi who heads the high profile Sharjah delegation to the ATM next week, promising new strategies and plans to enhance the emirate’s global profile.

The Sharjah delegation will include senior officials and representatives from the SCTDA, Sharjah Airport Authority, Sharjah Airport Travel Agency, Corniche Al Buhairah Hotel, Ramada Sharjah, Samaya Hotel Apartments, Sharjah National Hotels (Marbella Resort/Oceanic Hotel and Resort Khorfakkan/Hotel Holiday International) Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) Sharjah Museums Department, Sharjah Media Centre, Al Hamrah Hotel, Al Sharq Hotel and Al Sharq Suites, Royal Beach Resort & Spa and MH Group of Hotels (Sharjah Carlton Hotel/Beach Hotel/Nova Hotel.)

The ATM is expected to feature more than 400 exhibitors and between 25,000 to 30,000 people from more than hundred countries, not to mention more than a thousand journalists from around the world, are attending the event this year.

The SCTDA has been regularly showcasing Sharjah at leading international travel and tourism events over the past many years.

“The participation in the ATM this year follows our recent resounding success at the ITB Berlin, MITT Moscow and GIBTM Abu Dhabi where Sharjah had been the centre of attention,” said Al Qassimi.

The Arab governments’ spending in the tourism sector is expected to grow from $6.8 trillion dollars in 2008 to $13.3 trillion dollars in 2018, he pointed out. In view of the challenges facing the world economy and travel market today, governments and tourism industry in the region have to intensify their efforts to develop tourism potential and infrastructure in the region, emphasised Al Qassimi.

“All of us involved in promoting Sharjah as a unique tourist destination are working together as a team to achieve this purpose. New markets have already opened up thanks to our regular participation in international exhibitions.”

Sharjah’s 529-square metres stand at the ATM Dubai will showcase the rich cultural heritage and tourist attractions of the emirate, as well as highlight its educational, entertainment and business facilities. Information about the emirate will be available to visitors in both Arabic and English.

Al Qassimi said regular participation in international events such as ATM has immensely contributed to the growth of the travel and tourism sector in Sharjah. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of visitors annually. Sharjah is today recognised as a world-class destination for the entire family.” This year’s participation in ATM will be the largest for the emirate in the last 13 years.