Arabian Travel Market (A.T.M.) is Middle East's most prestigious and premier travel & tourism exhibition which is now in it 12 - year of successful operation. The World Trade Centre where the ATM is taking place is the most prestigious venue and have made its name globally by having all major conferences from overseas including the IMF meet in 2003. Since its inception, ATM has grown in its popularity, which is seen from the increased number of participants every year. These shows have attracted many new buyers and the show has become a "must" meeting point of travel promoters. The organizers do need a good appreciation from all participants as through their aggressive marketing efforts; they have placed this Mart as one of the most effective means of promoting business for all. The show has been instrumental in building the confidence of the trade buyers and consumer alike even when tourism was passing through bad times. The contribution of the Mart in creating increased interest in the Middle East Region to attract outbound and inbound traffic by the tourism promoters is reflected by the increased attendance of trade visitors at the ATM. With introduction of Meridian Club Members and hosted buyers, organizers are doing a great service by making ATM platform for networking and developing new business contacts and even signing contracts. Progressively there is quality attendance in ATM as per the feedback and many new operators who had joined the Indian delegation for the first time had reported that they got serious inquiries and they all keenly await to joint ATM as they do expect good business through their participation. India tourism has been participating since its inception eleven years back and have played a catalyst role by providing ATM platform to do business for India and open up new destinations with in India. India holidays, which are earlier restricted to some selected places of Mumbai, Goa or Delhi-Agra with more tour operators from India taking interest in the Middle East market there, are now varied India Holiday packages on offer. Many tour operators from GCC Region who are keen to diversify their holiday product visit India pavilion and look for making contacts with Indian counterparts to handle their business in India, develop contacts to get proper brief on destinations. Thus ATM is of great importance for India tourism promoters. India tourism offices in Dubai always come out with new brochures under Incredible India branding. Competitiveness in the business is to ensure quality of services as also design, dovetail new marketing strategy with use of new communication technology. All these will be truly reflected in the India tourism stand where digitally developed photographs would be put-up all over the space to showcase India.
Our people have good knowledge about the need of the gulf tourists. The gulf region is more oriented towards FIT market. Group F.I.T. In generally formed by virtue of family moving together but not group in actual terms. These travelers like to be at one place rather than having multiple destinations at one go. If they go to hill resort like to be there for 2/3 weeks. They like lot of flexibility so that changes can be made as per their desire. Our Tour Operators know their need and accordingly go prepared with packages as per their needs. Our main selling points are variety and affordability. Our efforts will be to attract US/ European expatriates with our Incredible India campaign. The campaign would focus on positioning India as a high value destination in the gulf and the Middle East. Print, electronic media and internet would be used in the campaign to lure high value tourists.
India tourism knows the value of ATM in Dubai and will make maximum use of this platform to promote the cause of India tourism with a strong private-public partnership. This will also be a big step to cement Indo-Arab friendship through tourism links come to India and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of our people will be the message.
Author is the Regional Director, (Government of India, Ministry of Tourism), India tourism, Mumbai. Regional office for Western & Central Region [Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Mahdya Pradesh, Chattisgarh & Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu]
(Earlier he was posted as Regional Director of India tourism office in Dubai and had conducted India tourism pavilions of ATM for nearly 5 years and have great experience of this Travel Mart. His views we value and we have the pleasure to present this article).