By Gemma Greenwood
Long-running show for corporate travel buyers aims to attract quality exhibitors.
Airlines, travel management companies, accommodation providers and any company involved in servicing the corporate travel market are being urged to reserve their space at the forthcoming Business Travel Show in Dubai.
"We are looking to hear from potential exhibitors, both local and international that have a strong interest in this region," explained Sally Pugmire, event director at UK-based Centaur Exhibitions, which is staging the event in partnership with Dnata World of Events. "In terms of visitors we are looking to attract corporate buyers and arrangers of corporate travel."
The two-day Business Travel Show has been running in the UK for more than 10 years and in Germany for three years. The former attracts more than 8000 visitors and 250 exhibitors each year.
The inaugural Middle East event will by staged at Dubai' Madinat Jumeirah Arena from October 29-30 and has already seen corporate travellers providers such as Virgin Atlantic and the Shangri-La hotel group sign up to participate.
In addition to the exhibition, the Business Travel Show will run an educational seminar programme working in conjunction with the Association or Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).
Pugmire said potential exhibitors included airlines, TMCs, hotel groups, corporate credit cards, car and rail service providers, private jet hire companies, and ancillary travel services such as taxis, chauffeur-drive, serviced accommodation and travel security services.
By exhibiting they will be showcasing their products to managing directors and finance directors of small-to-medium-sized businesses; travel managers/co-ordinators from large companies; procurement professionals; and personal assistants and travel bookers.
According to the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, business travel accounts for 80% of all travel to and from the Gulf region.
The value of Middle East business travel was estimated at US $13.7 billion in 2006, which by 2016 should reach $28.4 billion.
Pugmire said with such growth on the horizon, there was a need to identify key issues affecting the corporate travel market from both the corporate buyer and travel management company perspective.
With this in mind, Centaur and The Business Travel Show's Dubai-based marketing partner, Fusion Marketing, aim to conduct surveys of the market and stage roundtable/open forum sessions with key industry players.
The first was stage on April 19 at Dnata Agencies headquarters, discussing topics including zero commission, the impact of low cost airlines and e-commerce solutions for corporate travel buyers and providers.