Do you have 20:20 vision?

Gemma Greenwood, 10 Apr 2013 17:03

As Arabian Travel Market and the industry look back on the achievements of the last 20 years, it’s time to learn lessons and plan for the future

This year marks a very special anniversary for Arabian Travel Market (ATM) and indeed, the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry.

It is 20 years since the first ATM opened its doors at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), signalling to the world that Dubai and the wider region was open for tourism business in a big way.

Two decades ago, Dubai had already made headway with its vision to conquer the world tourism market. Emirates Airline was flying the UAE flag around the world as it steadily expanded its route network and many of the emirate’s key trade partners had embarked on a road show mission to promote Dubai globally.

But the inaugural ATM opened the eyes of the world to what Dubai and the region had to offer, providing a focal point for a travel and tourism industry on the verge of explosion.

The show has continued to provide an invaluable platform for regional and global travel and tourism partners and has grown in size and stature, mirroring the exponential growth of the industry.

Both ATM and the successful destinations and companies it has showcased have not only survived, but thrived as a result of their ability to adapt to global trends and conditions while anticipating future demand and growth.

The industry, led by forward-thinking governments, and the region’s leading travel trade show, have committed to a vision and stuck with it, taking risks that have paid dividends.

Their future success will rely on the exact same strategy and all indications are that over the next 20 years, the region and the show are on track to grow and evolve as dynamically as they have done since the 90s.

Looking at a micro-industry perspective, the travel companies currently operating in this environment need to embrace this visionary strategy if they are to compete and prosper in the years to come.

Not only must travel firms react and cater to today’s consumer trends, but they must anticipate future behaviours and how their business will fit into this ever-changing landscape.

ATM is not only a place in which to do business, but where idea exchange is fostered and nurtured, through networking, appointments and the all-important education programme.

If you are a serious travel trade player operating in this region, you should not miss this opportunity to meet with like-minded colleagues, absorb new ideas and identify future trends.

As the industry looks back 20 years, it is time to learn from the highs and the lows over this period and decide how best to plan for the next two decades, when undoubtedly, the Middle East travel industry will continue to lead the growth tables, with Dubai further solidifying its status as the global hub. The question remains; will you look to the future with this 20:20 vision or stand still and let the world go by?

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