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Tue 25 May 2010 04:00 AM

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ATM: A sneak peak

Reed Travel Exhibitions group exhibition director Mark Walsh reveals the new additions to 2010's Arabian Travel Market, which has placed the emphasis on education and networking.

ATM: A sneak peak
WALSH: The focus is now on recovery and positive growth for the industry, rather how to cope with the crisis.

Reed Travel Exhibitions group exhibition director Mark Walsh reveals the new additions to 2010's Arabian Travel Market, which has placed the emphasis on education and networking.

What are the aims and objectives of Arabian Travel Market?

Arabian Travel Market is a one-stop-shop for the world of travel and tourism. We ensure that we provide our visitors and exhibitors with quality, focused business opportunities, bringing them all the latest industry news and trends in a business friendly, interactive exhibition environment. Arabian Travel Market has a reputation as being the industry's preferred partner for conducting Middle East business and 2010 will be no different.

What are the themes behind this year's Arabian Travel Market?

This year there will be a heavy focus on recovery but compared to the last couple of years we will be looking to the future and to positive growth rather then how to cope and ride out the crisis.

Each year we listen to feedback from the industry to help improve year on year to make sure the show meets the industry's needs. This year we have doubled our seminar programme, enhanced our online activity and have introduced Zone 8, which will provide a much more relaxed area for informal networking away from the hustle and bustle of the main floor. This all goes towards contributing to the business focused content of the show and fosters enhanced interaction. What are your projections for visitor numbers this year?

Our main focus is always on the right type of visitors; quality over quantity, high-end influential people within the industry looking to do business is the  key to the event being a success. Last year we received more than 15,000 visitors and we would expect a similar amount of people this year. How do you think the mood at the show will compare to last year?

This year the industry is in recovery and the outlook is much more positive, it's a very exciting time for business. Arabian Travel Market has always acted as barometer for the industry's health as the event allows the travel and tourism trade to come together and discuss the future. Progress is being made and interesting developments are beginning to occur as the industry takes its first steps back in to the sunlight after weathering the economic storm.

Have any new exhibitors / destinations signed up for the show this year?

The 2010 edition is shaping up to be the most comprehensive in the show's 16-year history. Ninety-eight per cent of space is contracted with more than 2200 exhibitors from six continents, including more then 50 new to market representatives.

What can we expect from the seminar programme this year?

As mentioned earlier, for 2010 we have doubled the seminar programme due to high demand. This year we have introduced a new room, the Debate Room. This is where top industry speakers will come together in a panel format to discuss key topics such as Value Tourism, Cruise Tourism and Sports Tourism to name just a few. In the single seminar room we will have experts from companies such as Deloitte and EuroMonitor who will focus in-depth on future industry trends. Also new this year is ‘Ásk the Experts,'  - these sessions, have been designed to give a step by step guide to public relations, social media and SMS marketing.

Have you added any new features to this year's event?

Alongside the enhanced seminar programme we have also introduced Zone 8, which allows exhibitors a chance to showcase their destinations to the public through a series of live shows.

This year we have expanded our web presence. We have improved our website and we're offering visitors and exhibitors a chance to connect earlier and easily through our Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter sites. Our Twitter account provides up to the minute news on Arabian Travel Market, and our LinkedIn and Facebook groups are another avenue for exhibitors and visitors to meet and engage prior to the show.

In addition we have launched connect@ Arabian Travel Market.  This enables Hosted delegates and Buyers Club members to book appointments with exhibitors pre-event. Exhibitors can view the buying profiles of all Hosted Delegates.We recommend that everyone takes advantage of these free tools, to help maximise their time on site.

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