The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) this year is finalising the line-up of participants with a strong focus on mid-market tourism – a key area of opportunity for Middle East destinations looking to diversify their source markets and attract a larger volume of visitors.
“As tourism infrastructure across the Gulf and beyond continues on its high profile development path, our spotlight theme for 2016 has turned to mid-market tourism,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, exhibition manager, Arabian Travel Market. “This has been identified as both an underdeveloped and potential growth area for the region, driven by demand from growing middle class markets such as China, India and Africa combined with budget Generation Y travellers and young families.”
A key point of discussion will be number of new hotel rooms entering the market, including share that is planned to be in the four- and three-star classification. According to January pipeline report from STR Global, there are 538 hotels totalling 151,771 rooms under contract in the Middle East and 321 hotels totalling 62,194 rooms under contract in Africa. Makkah reported the largest number of rooms under construction with 21,068 rooms in 13 hotels. Three other markets reported more than 5,000 rooms under construction: Dubai (19,846 rooms in 63 hotels); Riyadh (6,738 rooms in 30 hotels) and Doha (5,980 rooms in 26 hotels). In Dubai, for instance, Dubai currently has a total hotel key count of approximately 94,000 and this figure is set to rise to between 140,000 and 160,000 keys by 2020 with around 20% set to target the mid-market hotel sector. According to a recent Knight Frank report.
An additional exhibition hall has been added this year to cater to rising demand. ATM 2016 will welcome over 400 main stand holders and over 2,800 exhibiting companies with more than 26,000 visitors expected. Over 80 countries will be represented by exhibitors and over 150 countries will be represented by pre-registered visitors. A total of over 100 exhibitors are new this year and there are over 60 country pavilions.