ATM on the crest of a wave

23 Apr 2014

Cruise pavilion doubles in size as international and regional operators leave economic downturn and Arab Spring in their wake at Arabian Travel Market 

The Middle East’s cruise sector will be highly visible and well represented at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 5-8 May, according to show organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions.
The region’s cruise sector had been in decline since the global downturn and the subsequent effects of the Arab Spring. However with significant infrastructure investment, easing visa regulations and creative marketing, the cruise sector is bouncing-back.
One challenge that the region faced was the lack of ports of call and the location of cruise facilities - most of the berths for cruise vessels were located within commercial shipping ports, which was not particularly conducive for leisure visitors.    
In response, Mina Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi is currently undergoing major redevelopment creating a dedicated cruise terminal. Dubai has been upgrading Port Rashid to accommodate seven vessels simultaneously, up from the current five, as part of its strategy to attract 450,000 cruise tourists by 2016.  
“Regional governments have invested into the infrastructure required to develop cruise tourism, which is bringing growing confidence to the market,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Bahrain is restarting US$80 million worth of mixed-use projects at the Muharraq coastal site and King Fasial Corniche seafront. Oman plans a new 100-berth marina project as part of the Jebel Sifah development and in Aqaba, Jordan, phase one of the Marsa Zayed project will be completed in 2015 at a cost of over US$ 815 million.
Relaxed visa requirements have also helped the cruise sector, especially when multiple ports of call are a part of the cruise agenda. GCC countries through bilateral agreements with other nations have allowed a new wave of visitors to apply for visa on arrival and the UAE is apparently considering a new multi-entry cruise visa. This is creating opportunities for local tour operators offering select activity packages to showcase their services at ATM and strong creative marketing campaigns have raised the profile of destinations such as Salalah and Musandam.
“Tailor-made cruises are trending at the moment and growth in that segment is expected moving forward, creating potential new partnerships between cruise companies and bespoke local tour operators,” added Walsh. 
An extra hall has been added to this year’s ATM to accommodate 23,500 square metres of floor space - an increase of almost 7% on 2013. The Cruise Pavilion has played its part, more than doubling in size to almost 200 square metres since last year. Exhibitors on the Cruise Pavilion include, Royal Caribbean, Al Marsa Musandam Diving & Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises from Spain and Pearl Marketing Reps from the UK and Cruise Arabia amongst others.  
Complementing the cruise pavilion is a cruise seminar which will debate the latest industry issues such as product innovation, premium cabin developments and new destinations. 
The session which is moderated by renowned industry professional Alan Le Coyte, includes panelists such as Hamad bin Mejren, Executive Director at the DTCM, Jasem Zaiton, Cruise Manager at DNATA – Gulf Ventures as well as executives from Royal Caribbean and Costa Cruises.    
ATM 2014 encompasses more than 40 wide-ranging seminar and tech theatre sessions which besides cruise tourism cover aviation, mobile trends and the rising demand for wellness tourism. Some of the region’s most influential business leaders including Adel Ali, CEO of Air Arabia; Ivan Jakovljevic, Head of Travel, Middle East and North Africa, Google; and Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Strategy & Policy Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will be speaking, supported by an international line-up of industry experts.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.



Photo caption 1 - Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Photo caption 2 - Major cruise liners make Middle East come back.

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Photo caption:
Photo one – Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Photo Two – ATM

About Arabian Travel Market
In its 20th edition, Arabian Travel Market 2013, boasted more than 2,700 exhibitors and stand-sharers, from 91 countries.

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Arabian Travel Market is part of the Reed Travel Exhibitions’ portfolio, which includes 15 of the world’s leading travel industry events.

Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel. RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.”
Reed Exhibitions
The world's leading organiser of trade and consumer events running over 470 events in 37 countries. Reed Exhibitions excels in creating high profile, highly targeted business and consumer exhibitions and events to establish and maintain business relations, and generate new business.

Reed Exhibitions network of offices and promoters extends to 65 countries.
Reed Elsevier
Reed Elsevier is a world leading provider of professional information and online workflow solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal, Risk Information and Analytics, and Business sectors.
Based in over 200 locations worldwide, they create authoritative content delivered through market leading brands, enabling their customers to find the essential data, analysis and commentary to support their decisions.
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Terriellen Bird
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