The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) annual roadshow arrives in Dubai today as industry stakeholders fine-tune their promotional plans ahead of region's largest travel and tourism event due to start in May.
The four-day event, scheduled to start from May 5, will be a debut show for Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) as the emirate is expecting 20 million visitors by 2020.
Executives from Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of ATM, are holding a workshop for exhibitors to discuss marketing opportunities and how to showcase their proposition to ATM's 21,000 trade visitors. Last year, ATM welcomed over 21,000 visitors from 165 countries, covering 22,000 square metres of floor space.
According to TRI Hospitality Consulting, hotels in Dubai reported the highest profit levels in the region in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year. Gross operating profit per available room (GopPAR) for 2013 increased 10.3 per cent to $206, average room rates (ARR) for the year were up by 6.5 per cent to $324 and RevPAR was up by 7.6 per cent for the same period.
In the first nine months of 2013, Dubai government figures revealed that Dubai hotels had welcomed 7.9 million visitors, as year-on-year increase of almost 10 per cent and due, in part to longer average stays, visitors spent $4.2 billion an increase of 17 per cent compared with the same period in 2012.
Iftikhar Hamdani, general manager of Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman, said the hotel achieved over 90 per cent occupancy level in 2013. This is third consecutive year for Ramada Ajman to lead the northern emirates in terms of occupancy and we are very proud of this achievement.
"The demand for year 2014 will be more than 2013 and without extending the inventory, we will not be able to cater to this demand. 2014 is looking very promising and we aim to remain on top as usual," Hamdani said.
"Our main market will remain the CIS as demand is more than our inventory. In fact, guest satisfaction ratio with Russian tourist is above 93 per cent and the demand for Ramada Ajman is highest among any other property in the UAE. We need to increase at least 200 more rooms in Ajman due to this high demand," he added.
According to Dubai International Airport, annual passenger traffic also rose to 66.4 million in 2013, reflecting an increase of 15.2 per cent with 28 new routes in 2013. The airport now serves a total of 239 destinations.
"The Dubai success story continues with increases right across the board. It is difficult to imagine that growth slowing anytime soon, especially with Standard Chartered Bank estimating that at least $9 billion will be invested in Dubai's infrastructure ahead of the Expo 2020," said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
"Indeed the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing has been established to promote brand Dubai around the world and armed with a considerable budget. Hotels will pay up to Dh20 per room per night fee to fund the endeavours of the DCTCM, as Dubai focuses on its 20 million visitor target by 2020," added Walsh.
Dubai is the penultimate stop of the six Middle East destinations being visited by the ATM team during its week-long roadshow which took in Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman with Riyadh to come next week.
Current and potential exhibitors visited during the roadshow will learn about new event features including the introduction of an annual theme, with 2014 shining the spotlight on the luxury travel sector. The seminar programme in particular will focus on this important theme, which is particularly relevant to Dubai and the rest of the Gulf region.