By Gemma Greenwood
Log on to ArabianBusiness.com for coverage of Dubai's 14th Arabian Travel Market, which starts today.
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) gets underway today - and it's set to be the biggest show yet.
The event, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) until May 4th, will boast 2600 exhibitors from 64 countries - a 24% increase on last year.
"This highly successful series has maintained annual growth since its inception - which is testimony to the huge surge in international travel and the emergence of new destinations within this product and beyond," said Tom Nutley, chairman of ATM's organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE).
"At this year's show there are 116 exhibiting companies from 34 countries, including first-time representations from China, Croatia, Macau, Palestine, Peru, Ras Al Khaimah, Swaziland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe."
RTE has also witnessed a surge in pre-registered visitors - up 15% on last year's event - and spanning 112 countries.
Of total pre-registrations, 67% are from the Middle East and North Africa, 16% from Europe, 12% from Asia, 2% each from Africa and the Americas and 1% from Australasia.
"Our statistics show that nearly 70% of them are of management status or above, 55% have direct purchasing authority of which 17% have a budget level of more than US $1 million - further evidence that Arabian Travel Market attracts some of the world's top buyers," said Nutley.
It was important to attract quality exhibitors and buyers, he noted.
However, Nutely predicted that ATM would continue to grow and that the 2008 edition would occupy DICEC's entire exhibition area.