ATM set to take off amid hospitality boom
Dubai, October 8, 2012
As Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East, begins preparations for its 20th edition next year, the region’s expanding aviation sector is once again driving the hospitality sector in the GCC region, said an expert.
This has resulted in a steady rise in hotel RevPar (revenue per available room) rates across many of the GCC countries and a burgeoning hotel development pipeline.
“The predicted growth of the regional hospitality sector is linked to the continuous growth of the region’s major airlines and improved regional connectivity with low cost airlines, such as Air Arabia and flydubai,” remarked Mark Walsh, the portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organisers of ATM, which runs from May 6 to 9 in Dubai.
Walsh said, "Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, all continue to outpace their international counterparts with high passenger volume loads and ever-expanding networks, which is having a positive effect on the region’s hotel construction pipeline."
Underscoring Walsh’s comments, OAG a UK-based aviation analyst, reported that Dubai airport, already the world’s fastest-growing aviation hub, saw the largest growth in long-haul traffic in August, with a 12 per cent increase in flight operations and 14 per cent increase in seat capacity.
During the same month, flight operations to and from the Middle East grew by 7 per cent to 64,252, while seat capacity increased by 8 per cent to reach 14.2 million.
This represents nearly 4,000 more flights and more than a million more seats offered than in August 2011. Traffic within the Middle East region is also expected to grow by 4 per cent for flights and 3 per cent for seats according to OAG data.
Linking those impressive growth numbers to hotel construction, in its mid-year Construction Pipeline Report, industry consultancy STR Global tracked a total of 495 hotels and 125,481 rooms across the Middle East & Africa region, with Oman expected to see the largest room growth at 81.2 per cent, if all 5,417 rooms in the country’s total active pipeline come on line.
Significant growth is also on the cards for Saudi with the Kingdom’s hotel market set to grow by 53.9 per cent and 27,624 rooms, while Qatar prepares for a tourism spending spree ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup tournament, with an additional 6,785 rooms under development, representing an increase of 47.1 per cent.
Air travel is the sector of highest interest to visitors to ATM according to the 2012 event statistics, yet its representation on the exhibition floor is relatively small in comparison to some of the larger areas such as hotels, said Walsh.
"For 2013, in order to guide visitors to the airline stands organisers are to provide visitors with a map of where to find airline exhibitors amongst over 2,400 companies represented on the show floor," he explained.
"Air travel will be one of eight major vertical sectors at next year’s show, alongside budget travel, careers, health and wellbeing, luxury, shopping, sports, and cruise and water-based travel," the expert stated.
"We are making it even easier for exhibitors and visitors to plan their appointment schedules by guiding visitors directly to the industry sector they are looking for using sponsored floor trails, allowing them to fast track their way around the show, managing their time more effectively," he added.-TradeArabia News Service