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Sun 21 Oct 2007 10:50 AM

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Getting down to business

The organisers of Dubai's inaugural installment of the Business Travel Show explain why the time is now right to introduce this well-established event to the Middle East market.

This month, the region's prime travel suppliers, spanning airlines, hotels, travel management companies, and many ancillary services, will gather at the Madinat Arena, Dubai, to showcase their products and services to corporate travel buyers.

It will mark the first time that the established Business Travel Show, which has run in London for 14 years and in Germany for four, has ventured into the Middle East.

Buyers and suppliers want to develop their relationships and get to know each other.

But as the company managing the event, Centaur Media, explains, there is no time like the present to stage such an event considering the exponential growth in business-travel related products and the companies and bookers demanding them, including business travel agents.

"The time was right to bring the show to the region because of the growth of the region and the many changes being witnessed in the travel and hospitality sectors here," explains Centaur Media's travel portfolio director Paul Robin.

"We are seeing new airports being built, a growth in business aviation, new low cost carriers, budget hotels and the rapid expansion of the hotel industry in general.

"In addition, we are also seeing changes in the way business is conducted with travel agents and travel management companies - how they are paid, for example, with many airlines going to zero commission. "There is also the rise of the internet with online bookings making an impact."

The result, says Robin, is that corporate bookers - those who buy, book and manage their organization's travel - need to be educated as to how best to carry out these functions.

With this in mind, the show will run a two-day education programme in conjunction with the Association of Travel Executives (ACTE). Topics will include: why companies should introduce a travel policy; safety and security; internet usage; and how to obtain the best fares.

The debate as to whether companies should use a travel agency or book online will also be addressed, as well as the impact of low cost carriers and budget hotels entering the region and how to integrate these services into travel policies.

As a key media partner, Arabian Travel News will also stage a roundtable for travel suppliers, TMCs and business travel agents where similar issues will be debated.

Business Travel Show event director Sally Pugmire says the event will complement Arabian Travel Market, which is staged in May each year in Dubai.

"ATM is great place for travel suppliers to meet travel agents and tour operators, but to date, there has been no platform provided where they can meet corporate bookers," she says.

"Both the [corporate travel] buyers and suppliers want to develop their relationships and get to know each other and so the Business Travel Show Dubai was born from this need."

The Business Travel Show will take place at Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeira, Dubai, from October 29-30.

Confirmed exhibitors include Air Arabia, Air France/KLM, Alshamel, Austrian Airlines, BA, Cathay Pacific, Dnata, Dusit Dubai, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Hertz, Hilton, HRG, IHG, Jumeirah, Lufthansa, Orient Travel, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines, Virgin, and many more.

The sales pitch

What:Business Travel Show Dubai.

When:Monday October 29 (10am to 5pm) to Tuesday October 30 (10am to 5pm).

Where:Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre, Dubai.

The exhibitors:comprise a wide range of travel product and services including airlines, low cost carriers, private jet companies, hotels, car rental, travel management companies, tourism boards and ancillary products such as corporate credit cards.

The visitors:
corporate travel managers or travel buyers; directors who set business travel budgets and policies; managers who buy business travel services; PA and office managers who book business trips and meetings; travel agents responsible for business travel.

The seminars:
A two-day educational programme runs alongside the exhibition. Attendees can make savings by pre-booking.

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