emirates-atm09The 2014 edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) will mark significant growth for the region’s largest travel showcase. Due to increased exhibitor demand from a variety of industry sectors, an extra hall has been added to the floor plan, which now exceeds 23,500 square metres of exhibition space.

According to organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions, this represents a 5.8% increase in floor space for next year’s event, which will be held from 5-8 May, 2014 at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre; with newly revealed statistics recording rising demand from Middle East exhibitors up 11%, Europe up by 7% and travel technology and hotels rising by 8% and 7% respectively.

“That the highest growth in floor space is coming from the Middle East is reflected in the growth being experienced in tourism in the region,” comments Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

“The UAE is the undoubted tourism leader in the Gulf region, but multi-billion dollar high profile developments and ambitious long term economic diversification plans are also putting neighbouring Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia in the spotlight,” continued Walsh.

Qatar’s 2022 vision and infrastructure investment agenda, and Saudi Arabia’s focus on domestic tourism are creating new tourism hubs across the Kingdom as the region’s hotel pipeline reaches 485 hotels (118,535 rooms) according to the latest STR Global Middle East update.

The UAE currently has 114 hotels (32,261 rooms) under construction and STR Global reports that Oman will see the highest growth, with 4,577 rooms in development, followed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Jordan. A trend towards large scale property development is boosting total room stock, and a number of new upscale brands are also entering the region including the recently opened Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah and the Anantara Dubai on Palm Jumeirah. The first Four Seasons luxury resort in the UAE is also scheduled to open by Q4 2014 in Dubai’s popular Jumeirah Beach district.

A successful Dubai World Expo 2020 bid would also be a major contributor towards tourism growth with up to 25 million visitors (70% from outside the UAE) estimated over a six-month period. This would positively impact GDP by up US$23 billion between 2015 and 2020, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research.

“The UAE’s fundamental tourism appeal is already built on a sustainable footing. A successful Expo 2020 bid would accelerate that growth exponentially,” added Walsh.

In addition to the increase in exhibition space, building on its successful seminar series, ATM will also add a third seminar theatre to the line-up this year, with a new ‘Showcase Theatre’ for short workshops and country destination briefings.

Arabian Travel Market 2014 will take place from the 5-8 May at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, and will occupy five of the centre’s largest halls as well as the entire Sheikh Saeed halls. ATM 2013 welcomed 2,300 exhibitors from 87 countries, covering 22,000 square metres of floor space.