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VP tours Arabian Travel Market
April 25, 2017
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DUBAI: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday officially inaugurated the 24th edition Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2017), the Middle East’s biggest travel and tourism event.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of the Emirates Group; and Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The high-profile entourage later toured the exhibition venue, as Sheikh Mohammed made several stop-overs at key pavilions where he was explained about some of the latest innovation in the travel and hotel industry.

Over 2,600 exhibitors from across 150 countries globally are participating in the four-day event. This year’s event has been described as the biggest in the history of the event, with at least 100 exhibiting for the first time with more than 65 national pavilions. Following the influx and positive response from the exhibitors, organisers also extended additional halls to meet the growing demand.

Experts at the ATM announced that connected visitor technology will drive the UAE’s hospitality market to top $10 billion by 2020, meeting the needs of millions of Expo 2020 Dubai visitors.

With 25 million visitors set to attend Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE’s hospitality sector is on a building boom. Dubai aims to double the number of hotel and serviced apartments leading to revenue of $10 billion, according to a recent report by Alpen Capital.

As hoteliers jostle for position, they are aiming to stand out from their competitors through disruptive technologies to save time and money, and meet the preferences of Millennials.

“Smart technology could revolutionise the visitor experience, for the millions of visitors set to attend Expo 2020 Dubai, offering a hassle-free end-to-end experience from the plane, to easy hotel check-in, to autonomous vehicles taking them to the exhibition pavilion,” said Savitha Bhaskar, COO at smart hospitality consultancy Condo Protego.

The UAE’s hospitality sector is also rapidly adopting digital solutions to streamline hospitality administrative processes and enrich the guest experience, saving time and money. Increasingly, hotels are offering remote check-in, card-free room access, and Big Data analytics to monitor customer preferences both in-room and from partners.

“For UAE hoteliers to manage guest data in real-time, they need high-availability, secure, and scalable data storage and management solutions. Condo Protego has seen strong success in enabling the UAE’s leading hospitality and leisure organizations to undergo digital transformation,” added Savitha Bhaskar.

Jacinta Nzioka, Director of Marketing at Kenya Tourism Board, said on Monday that her country is seeking to increase opportunities for joint co-operation in travel and tourism with the UAE.

She noted that Kenya is seeking to discuss investment opportunities with the UAE and the GCC states, with a view to upgrade the Kenyan tourism sector, which has seen remarkable growth in recent years.

“The Kenyan government is determined to encourage tourists from the UAE by reducing the visa entry fees and reduce fees for those less than 16 years, in addition to providing other facilities, especially that the Kenyan capital Nairobi is geographically close to the UAE.”

Nzioka, who heads her delegation to the Forum 2017, noted that her country’s participation at the Arab Travel Market in its previous session has contributed to strengthening relations with the UAE.

During this session, the delegation is looking to increase co-operation between the two countries to benefit from the size and diversity of the travel sector in the UAE, she said.

She explained that the Kenyan delegation sought to highlight local products, tourist attractions and tourist destinations of the country, including the wildlife, safari and other adventures.

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