MCVB director takes position with state travel association

Diann Bayes, executive director of the McKinney Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB), has announced that in May she will leave her position to become Senior Vice President of Member Services for the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA).

In her new position, Bayes, who has been MCVB executive director for five years, will be in charge of managing TTIA’s member services and relations program, including member recruitment, development and retention, strategic business partnerships and sponsorships, and oversight of events and meetings.

“It’s an opportunity to tell the tourism story to the state of Texas and the citizens of Texas,” Bayes said. “I look forward to being able to talk about the importance of our industry.”

Bayes is a 16-year veteran of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. She started her career in the hotel industry at the Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth, before serving as executive director of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and Hillsboro CVB. She also spent time as tourism sales manager for the Manhattan CVB in Kansas.

Bayes is board chair for the Dallas-Fort Worth Area Tourism Council and serves on the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus board of directors.

“Diann will be an excellent addition to the TTIA staff,” said Terri Adams, chair of the TTIA board of directors. “I look forward to all the experience she will bring to the great team already in place.”

David Teel, TTIA president and CEO, interviewed Bayes for the position.

“I am thrilled and pleased to have such a respected, experienced and qualified industry professional joining our team,” Teel stated in a release. “Diann will help us aggressively implement member-focused strategies and initiatives and ensure that we are proving daily that ‘life’s better in a state of travel’ for our members.”

During her time with MCVB, Bayes and her three-member staff tried to prove what makes life better in McKinney. Through social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, and a MCVB smart-phone application, the bureau presented McKinney as a viable destination for travelers and tourists from all over.

“We were instrumental in introducing McKinney globally,” she said, referencing Chinese residents who had downloaded the app. “We have a global audience, and we’ve been a part of getting that message out. It’s the direction marketing has to go.”

Blogs, newsletters, frequent meeting planners guides and electronic weekend updates also help spread the word of McKinney happenings and attractions. The MCVB last year launched Bloomin’ and Boomin,’ a summer event slate that included numerous McKinney businesses and entities.

The MCVB produced marketing strategies and promotional projects that in recent years were highly recognized by their industry peers. It earned awards in advertising, tourism promotion, cooperative marketing, website and convention promotion.

Bayes said building up what was lost was the key to the MCVB’s recent success. Prior to her arrival, there was constant turnover at her position as executive director, destroying credibility with potential city partners, she said.

“Once they’ve seen so much turnover, you have to establish trust, and I think we’ve done a really great job,” she said. “I think we’ve helped identify a number of ambassadors who will help tell a positive story of what there is to see and do in McKinney.”

Bayes is confident those relationships and that trust will continue because her staff, who she called “the backbone of the CVB,” will remain to continue the same efforts.

Though excited about living in Austin, one of the few areas of Texas in which she hasn’t spent much time, Bayes said she will most miss the people of Collin County.

Her last day with the MCVB is May 18.

But McKinney is a part of TTIA membership, so her influence for the city should continue.

“I’ll still going to be in the travel industry, so I’ll have the opportunity to see the growth and success of the community as it moves forward,” she said. “I’ll be coming back to check and see what we can do to help.”

Article source: http://celinarecord.com/articles/2012/04/29/mckinney_courier-gazette/news/9136.txt

Skip the Gym, Pack Your Walking Shoes Instead



Wolters Kluwer China
Shasha Chang

Shasha Chang may be one of the last executives to read paperbacks on a plane. Thanks to a background in publishing – she was formerly a vice president at McGraw-Hill – and a love of the printed word, she’s often laden with more than an iPad.

Now head of information-services company Wolters Kluwer China, the 53-year-old travels widely across China’s cities. She spoke with the Journal about Hangzhou’s taxi drivers, Beijing’s flight delays and her lucky airport in Chengdu.

How often do you travel? On average, probably three times a month, sometimes four or five. It’s mostly domestic travel. I most frequently go to the cities where we have offices: Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. I also travel to Hong Kong at least once a quarter. Internationally, I go to New York most frequently, at least two or three times a year. I also go two or three times to Europe. Our head office is in Amsterdam.

What frequent-flier plans do you use? For China, I mostly use Air China. I also use the frequent flier plans of the regional airlines, China Eastern and China Southern. For Europe, I use KLM and Lufthansa, and Delta and United in the U.S. For Southeast Asia, I use Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Best frequent-flier lounge? JFK’s Lufthansa lounge, because it has a TV room, a reading room and a nice Internet [area] where people won’t be bothered. It’s quite human, very comfortable, and you can see the airplanes through the glass ceilings. If there’s a cancellation or a delay, you don’t feel it, because it’s like a mobile office. You can even do a conference call.

What’s your best eating tip for China? Ask local people who know the restaurants well and follow their advice. Don’t just go to a restaurant without any recommendations.

Favorite airport in the region? Chengdu. It’s not big but it’s very convenient, check-in is obvious and quick, and it’s easy to get there. I’ve never been delayed at that airport, so I consider it one of my luckiest airports.

Who does the best check-in? Air China at Peking Capital Airport. I travel to Shanghai most frequently, and it has express check-in for Shanghai.


Road Warrior provides travel tips from those who know best: busy executives and other globetrotters. Read more

Favorite airport-to-city journey? Kuala Lumpur. It’s beautiful, like you’re driving through a tropical forest with mountains and beautiful trees. Another one is the journey in Xi’an with farmland and small hills and not much construction along the road.

Best hotel in Asia? The Westin is the most reliable. They have good facilities, quick Internet. Another one I like is the Shangri-La Hotel in Hangzhou. It’s close to West Lake and has the most beautiful [scenery]. The Shangri-La Chengdu is another good choice.

Which cities have the best taxis? The best taxis within China are in Hangzhou. The taxi drivers are very polite and warm and friendly, and will recommend the best restaurants and the places the city has.

How do you overcome jet lag? Try to sleep as much as you can on the plane and then put your watch into the local time, so sort of psychologically you follow that time zone.

How do you keep up with exercise on the road? It’s very difficult when you don’t have a regular schedule. What I do is always pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes, so if I can, I like to walk to whatever office or meeting place we have. I don’t really have time to get into the gym.

Preferred luggage brand? Samsonite is the brand I’ve used for over 20 years.

How long does it take you to pack? I’m a very quick packer, and can do it within maybe 10 minutes.

What was your worst travel experience? Two years ago, when Kluwers [chief executive] Nancy McKinstry visited China, we had scheduled a visit to Shanghai, but we were stuck in the capital airport in Beijing because the weather in Shanghai was bad. We stayed there for three hours. Finally we were in the air to Shanghai, but they said the weather was still not good for landing, so we were forced to come back to Beijing. It was a waste of a whole evening and half a day, a total of 10 hours.

What’s the best thing about flying? You never know who is sitting next to you. Once I was traveling back from New York to Beijing and a retired American couple was sitting next to me. We started to chat, and they asked me what I do. They’d been using Kluwer’s CCH [tax] products for 40 years.

Also, a long-distance flight is a good time to think. I still have the old habit of reading on a plane. I bring books and journals and sometimes papers I like along with me. I still do clippings. I think it’s an old habit. I know I have my iPad, my BlackBerry, but coming from a publishing background, I still love to read books and journals on a plane.

–Edited from an interview with Debra Bruno

Follow Scene Asia on Twitter @WSJscene.

Article source: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2012/04/30/always-pack-your-walking-shoes/

Cruise Industry Demonstrates Support for U.S. Travel Association’s ‘Vote …

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Capping Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) successful
annual cruise3sixty conference at the Broward County Convention Center,
the cruise industry turned out today to support the U.S. Travel
Association’s “Vote Travel – Get America Moving” grassroots campaign to
call attention to the economic importance of the travel industry.

“We are
galvanizing support and asking all Americans to ‘Vote Travel’ this
election season.”

CLIA’s president and CEO, Christine Duffy and conference delegates
welcome the USTA VOTE TRAVEL bus tour today as part of its 20,000-mile
nationwide journey to raise awareness of the significant economic impact
of the $1.8 trillion U.S. travel industry. Speaking to cruise3sixty
delegates earlier, USTA president and CEO, Roger Dow, said, “We are
galvanizing support and asking all Americans to ‘Vote Travel’ this
election season.”

Endorsing the USTA campaign, Duffy said, “Travel is a bipartisan
industry. Vote Travel is not an endorsement of any political candidate
or political party; it’s a vote to Get America Moving. The cruise
industry’s economic contribution is substantial, contributing more than
$40 million annually to the U.S. economy and generating more than
350,000 jobs a year. It’s vitally important that this industry and the
public stand up and advocate for the importance of travel and tourism.”

Arriving in Greater Fort Lauderdale after visiting almost 20 states, the
Vote Travel bus tour’s mission is to raise awareness with elected
officials and candidates about the travel industry’s economic
contribution to the U.S. economy and to engage travel industry employees
in the electoral process through voter registration drives and the Get
America Moving Candidate Pledge. One goal is to grow the USTA grassroots
network, the Power of Travel Coalition, which works to make travel a
priority in local, state, and federal elected bodies. The tour will
continue throughout the country, including visits to the political
conventions of both political parties.

About CLIA

The nonprofit Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the
world’s largest cruise industry organization. CLIA represents the
interests of 26 member lines and participates in the regulatory and
policy development process while supporting measures that foster a safe,
secure and healthy cruise ship environment. CLIA is also engaged in
travel agent training, research, and marketing communications to promote
the value and desirability of cruise vacations with thousands of travel
agency and travel agent members across North America. For more
information about CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member lines and
travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org.
CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International
Association’s Facebook
and Twitter
fan pages.

Article source: http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20120429005038/en

Travel Rental Network Announces Partnership with Flipkey by Trip Advisor

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Travelers can either book a vacation rental online, or use a Travel Agent. Through this partnership, owners can now advertise their rental homes to the best of both markets.

Montreal, Canada (PRWEB) April 30, 2012

Montreal, Canada – Montreal-based Travel Rental Network has entered into a partnership with FlipKey by TripAdvisor that will allow current Travel Rental Network customers to seamlessly list their vacation rental properties on FlipKey, TripAdvisor and TripAdvisor’s network of international sites.

“We’re very excited about this partnership,” says CEO Brian Schwimmer. “FlipKey is one of the industry leaders and TripAdvisor and its network of sites are among the most visited travel sites in the world; we’re sure our clients will be happy to seize the opportunity to work with them and save money in the process.”

TripAdvisor boasts 9 international sites along with their vacation rental site FlipKey, and Travel Rental Network has established itself as one of the fastest growing vacation rental companies by targeting the lucrative travel agent market. “Our products complement each other very well,” adds Schwimmer, “travelers can either book a vacation rental online, or use a Travel Agent. Through this partnership, owners can now advertise their rental homes to the best of both markets, while managing one listing and one calendar. Together, we’re talking about 11 websites and over 40 million unique visitors a month during peak travel planning times.”

Travel Rental Network has fully integrated with FlipKey allowing existing Travel Rental Network customers to list their properties on all 11 sites at the click of a button. Photos, descriptions, amenities, and availability can be immediately updated across all sites through one simple to use owner dashboard.

For more information, visit http://www.travelrentalnetwork.com/flipkey/.

Founded in 2008, Travel Rental Network provides travelers and travel agents with a searchable database of thousands of beautiful and affordable hand-picked vacation rental properties around the world. One of the fastest growing vacation rental providers, Travel Rental Network’s staff of former travel agents, travel marketing specialists, real estate agents and property management experts pride themselves on industry-leading customer care and expertise.

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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/4/prweb9451141.htm

Seychellois delegation heads to travel event in Dubai

Arabian Travel Market

Apr 29, 2012

The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Elsia Grandcourt, is heading a Seychellois delegation of destination management companies – DMCs – and resorts serious about the Middle East market, to ATM, the Arabian Travel Market, which is one of the biggest travel and tourism shows in the Middle East.

ATM 2012 is taking place from April 30 to May 3, 2012 in Dubai, in the United Arabs Emirates. The Tourism Board CEO will be joined in Dubai for ATM by Julie Muirhead from the Board’s Dubai Office and Aliette Esther from the Abu Dhabi Office.

The Arabian Travel Market, the most awaited and anticipated travel fair in the Middle East, brings together travel specialists, tour operators, and national tourism organizations to present the uniqueness of their respective travel destinations.

Described as an event “unlocking business potential within the Middle East for tourism professionals,” for the first time ever, the Seychelles will co-host a branded destination display stand at the Arabian Travel Market together with La Reunion island.

The La Reunion tourism delegation, headed by Pascal Viroleau, the Director of La Reunion Island Tourism IRT, will bring a strong La Reunion delegation to the travel fair to promote the high quality travel products of the Vanilla Island concept combination with Seychelles.

The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Elsia Grandcourt, said that “The Arabian Travel market is of increasing significance to Seychelles tourism as it seeks to diversify its markets and tap into new ones that will bring fresh streams of visitors to our shores. The Arabian Travel Market is the epitome of this process of diversification as it is an important forum for raising the profile of Seychelles, and for networking with the movers and shakers of the travel world and attracting business to our shores.”

The Seychelles tourism industry is confident that the positive trend of the 2011 Arabian Travel Market will continue this year.

Representing the Seychelles business community, ready and willing to receive business from the Middle East at ATM, the Arabian Travel Market, are seven exhibitors: 7 degrees South, Irina Udwadia, marketing@7south.net ; Banyan Tree Seychelles, Tinaz Wadia, Tinaz.Wadia@banyantree.com and Crystal Abrams, Crystal.Abrams@banyantree.com ; Berjaya Hotels and Resort Seychelles, Johnette Labiche, johnette.labiche@berjayaseychelles.com ; Coral Strands Smart Choice, Evgenia Boyankova, marketing@coralstrand.sc ; Hilton Seychelles, Michael Bell, Michael.Bell@hilton.com ; and Mason’s Travel, Eddie d’Offay, EdOffay@masonstravel.com and Jessica Giroux, JGiroux@masonstravel.com .

They are all at ATM 2012 to demonstrate their products to the professionals of the travel trade industry, as well as to exhibit latest products.

Article source: http://www.eturbonews.com/29021/seychellois-delegation-heads-travel-event-dubai

Seychelles showcases tourism products at Abu Dhabi Travel Show

Travel and Tourism Agencies Council travel event

Apr 29, 2012

The Travel and Tourism Agencies Council (ATTAC) organized the 8th ATTAC Travel Show at Abu Dhabi Shopping Mall from April 25-28, 2012. This is an annual event, which the council has been organizing for the past 8 years, and this year, the Seychelles was represented by Aliette Esther, Tourism Attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Seychelles in Abu Dhabi.

Seychelles cooperated with Salem Holidays of Abu Dhabi at this ATTAC Travel Show.

The objectives behind organizing such an event is to give the public the chance to view and be aware of the various holiday destinations, travel packages, and special offers in the market, prior to planning their summer vacation.

The exhibition provided the Seychelles the opportunity to showcase the different products and services it has to offer to the general public, and allows the Seychelles representative to interact directly with prospective visitors, especially before the summer season and Eid breaks.

The Seychelles Tourism Attaché said that she will continue to intensify the marketing efforts in Abu Dhabi to increase the awareness in Abu Dhabi of Seychelles, the mid-ocean jewels of the Indian Ocean. “I will continue to communicate the message that we are safe, eco-friendly, and very much the secluded destination, which is what a lot of people are looking for nowadays. Seychelles is well-connected with daily flights from the Middle East, and all nationalities are welcome to our shores, as visas are not required,” Aliette Esther said.

His Excellency Dick Patrick Esparon, Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles to the UAE, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Vivienne Esparon, paid a visit to the 8th ATTAC Travel Show in Abu Dhabi. They said that they were both very impressed by the turnout at the Seychelles stand.

The UAE is well-known for its shopping malls, and Abu Dhabi Mall is rated as one of the most popular retail venues with both Middle Eastern nationals and expatriates alike and in them hosting the 8th ATTAC Travel Show was considered a well-chosen venue. This location provided great exposure to a wider audience and different segments of the potential UAE market. Last year, the event attracted more than 50,000 visitors, and this year, the organizer is expecting a much higher turnout.

Article source: http://www.eturbonews.com/29015/seychelles-showcases-tourism-products-abu-dhabi-travel-show

Scandal over GSA junket won’t affect travel spending, experts say

In Washington, another scandal has broken over excessive spending during a business conference. But travel experts predict the effect this time around will be limited.

Four years ago, it was insurance giant American International Group Inc.  that was slammed for holding a lavish executive retreat at a Dana Point resort after taking billions of dollars in government bailout money.

In the face of harsh criticism of excessive spending amid a recession, corporations dramatically cut back on business travel, dealing a blow to hotels and airlines across the country.

Now it’s the General Services Administration that is getting heat for putting on an $823,000 Las Vegas-area conference for 300 GSA employees in 2010. Investigators found that Jeff Neely, a top GSA administrator, had thrown a $2,700 party in a hotel suite using taxpayer money, and hired a clown and a mind reader to perform.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned and two officials were fired. Since then, the agency has already canceled a couple of future meetings in Las Vegas. But Rossi Ralenkotter, president and chief executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said he doesn’t expect the scandal to cut into travel spending.

At a travel trade conference in Los Angeles last week, Ralenkotter said the business travel industry grew more united after the AIG scandal and probably will continue to stress the importance of face-to-face meetings. “We are better positioned now,” he said.

Mark Liberman, head of the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, agreed that the effect of the controversy should be limited. “The business community has learned from past experiences and this is an isolated incident,” he said.

ALSO:

Business travelers doing more with less

Lowest airfares found six weeks before flight, study says

Overhead bins getting bigger on some airlines

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-scandal-20120427,0,1132520.story

19th edition of Arabian Travel Market features a record 183 companies

Winners of Dubai Green Tourism Award to be announced

New Hotel Classification Checklists to be launched

The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) will be unveiling new tourism industry initiatives at the 19th edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which will see a record 183 companies and government organizations joining it as co-participants of Dubai Stand.

The four-day fair is starting today at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The department will be utilizing the ATM-2012 as an ideal platform to showcase the best of Dubai’s tourism industry and how the tourism industry regulator has been working to enhance the performance and quality standards of the tourism industry in the emirate.

There has been a 29 per cent increase in the number of co-participants at Dubai Stand this year compared with the previous edition.

The department will be unveiling new programmes at the exhibition and will be hosting 204 tour operators and media representatives from 19 countries across the world.

Among the co-participants are six government organisations, including Dubai Police, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai), Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Healthcare City and Ministry of Social Affairs and Community Development.

Dubai Stand will see 16 new co-participants- Aero Space Tourism, Dubai Camel Racing Club, Skylink Travels, Rixos Hotel, Peacock International Hotel, Balloon Adventures Emirates, Suha City Hotel, Europcar, Easy Booking Tourism, Royal Pamir Travels, Belhasa Travel, Hues Boutique Hotel, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Tropic International Tourism and Travel, Mount Royal Hotel and Montreal Hotel.

DTCM will be introducing to the tourism industry the new Hotel Classification Checklists for all categories as part of the new Classification Scheme. Dubai has further consolidated its position on the world tourism map with its hotels and hotel apartments posting impressive all-round performance in hotel guest numbers, cruise passengers, revenues, guestnights and average length of stay.

Dubai hosted an impressive 9.30 million hotel guests and cruise passengers in 2011, up by 10 per cent compared with the previous year. Guestnights rose by 23 per cent to 32,848,190 while the average length of stay went up by 12 per cent to 3.6 days last year. Dubai’s 575 hotel establishments generated revenues of AED16 billion last year, an increase of 20 per cent. The year saw a five per cent increase in the number of hotel rooms and hotel apartment flats which stood at 53,828 rooms and 21,015 hotel flats.

DTCM will also be releasing the first quarter 2012 hotel sector performance report at the ATM-2012.

The department will also announce the winners of the Dubai Green Tourism Award programme during the ATM.

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Article source: http://www.dubaichronicle.com/2012/04/29/arabian-travel-market/

City hopes travel writers conference results in positive publicity

Tourism officials are hoping that Fayetteville will fetch some good publicity from the more than 40 travel writers and public relations professionals who have spent the past few days exploring the city.

The Midwest Travel Writers Association held its 2 1/2day conference here through the weekend. Aside from association business at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux Conference Center, they did community tours, ate at restaurants and saw the sights.

These are writers, photographers and travel publicists from 13 Midwestern states, including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The journalists write for Country Living, Chicago Daily News, Columbus Dispatch, Detroit News, six regional AAA publications, Go Magazine, Going On Faith, Budget Travel, Home and Away and other publications.

“What Fayetteville will get is certainly a lot of positive publicity in terms of the stories that will be written,” said Martin Armes, communications manager for the event. “The other benefit is the word of mouth it will create, because many of these attendees are members of other groups and are talking to their writers and pitching editors.”

John Meroski, president of the Fayetteville Area Convention Visitors Bureau, said his agency planned a variety of tours for the visiting journalists.

They included Fort Bragg, ZipQuest, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, the Dogwood Festival and golf at Cypress Lakes.

You may have noticed construction workers at the former Main Garden Chinese restaurant on Raeford Road.

The restaurant closed last spring, and Jim Pittman of Fastsigns bought the property in December.

His 16-year-old business, which is about a block away, is doing an extensive renovation to what will be its new home at 2807 Raeford Road.

Pittman, who runs his business with his wife, Dellmarie, said he had been looking for a new space for about 10 years, though not urgently. Things changed late last year.

“We had a good year, the economy seems to be improving and the broker pushed really hard” on the restaurant property, which sits on an acre, he said.

It’s about 6,700 square feet, of which Pittman plans to lease out 2,100. He hasn’t signed any tenants yet.

He also said he plans to hire two more people for a staff of 10 by the time his business makes the move around July.

The Braxton Bragg Chapter of the Association of the United States Army is sponsoring its 16th annual conference and exposition on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The event at the Fort Bragg Club has the theme this year of “America’s Army – Supporting a Nation at War.”

Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick will be honored during a noon luncheon. The next day, Maj. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland will speak at noon. He’s the incoming commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Both events are free to attend. To RSVP or get more information, call 483-2221 or go to suggsgroup.com.

Exhibits will be open for the public both days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fort Bragg Club.

The annual event is meant to provide a forum for professional interchange between industry and the military. Attendees will be able to check out state-of-the-art, mission-oriented technology.

- Matt Leclercq

Business editor Matt Leclercq can be reached at leclercqm@fayobserver.com or 486-3551.

Article source: http://fayobserver.com/articles/2012/04/29/1173151?sac=fo.business

Travel fair highlights visitor surge




Dubai: The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) opens in Dubai this morning amid renewed confidence in the region’s tourism industry.

The event, which is in its 19th year, is taking place amid a backdrop of rising visitor numbers and strong hotel occupancy rates, bolstering sentiment in a sector that has faced numerous difficulties in recent years as a result of economic problems in Europe and political uncertainty across the Middle East.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, almost $38 billion (Dh139.56 billion) was invested last year to support regional leisure and tourism development; a figure projected to rise to $41 billion this year.

“The UAE is looking to achieve nine per cent growth in visitor arrivals in 2012,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director at Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of ATM.

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Hotel occupancy

“Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing [DTCM] said the emirate of Dubai posted a ten per cent rise in hotel guests in 2011 against the previous year, welcoming 9.3 million hotel guests and cruise passengers. The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority also reported a record number of hotel visitors for 2011 with more than 2.1 million hotel guests,” Walsh added.

Dubai’s hotels reported a strong performance last year with guest nights rising to 32.8 million, an increase of 23 per cent year-on-year. Total revenues also jumped 20 per cent to Dh16 billion.

“Dubai leads the region in terms of tourism growth,” said Saleh Al Geziry, director of overseas promotion and inward missions at the DTCM.

It is not just the UAE, however, that is showing strong regional growth with research by market intelligence firm Euromonitor predicting strong growth in Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the next few years.

This year’s ATM features more than 2,400 exhibitors from 87 countries with 11 destinations — including Romania, Zimbabwe and Mauritius — having a presence for the first time.

The four-day programme will also see tourism ministers from across the Middle East meeting to discuss ways to drive the region’s tourism agenda.

Route expansion

Route expansion by the region’s major carriers is also helping to open up the Gulf and broader Middle East to new markets with Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways all announcing new destinations in the last year.

“ATM is an ideal platform to raise awareness for our new destinations,” said Salem Obaid Allah, Emirates’ senior vice-president of commercial operations for Europe and the Russian Federation.

Article source: http://gulfnews.com/business/tourism/travel-fair-highlights-visitor-surge-1.1015493