Kuwaiti is aiming to double its tourist arrivals to one million by 2015 as it seeks to boost its tourism infrastructure to attract more leisure travelers, said the organisers of an upcoming travel expo in Dubai. Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012 will run from April 30 to May 2 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. “Kuwait’s decision to increase the capacity of its airport by seven million to accommodate 14 million passengers highlights its ambition towards leisure tourism and its plans to become a travel hub for the northern Gulf,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director at event organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions. “Kuwait launched a five-year plan for tourism last year which aims to attract more leisure tourists.
This is part of the government’s plan to develop the country as a commercial and financial centre alongside tourism.” “One area that Kuwait could look to develop as part of this plan is the exhibitions and events sector, effectively bolting-on a programme of leisure activities either before or after business people conduct their meetings,” added Walsh. According to the latest STR hospitality report, Kuwait outperformed the Middle East and Africa market average in terms of its hotel RevPar (revenue per available room) performance. Kuwait’s occupancy levels grew by 5.3 percent to 55.1 percent, average room rate improved from $221 to $227 and RevPar increased to $120, marking a 19.2 percent increase year-on-year.
ATM has also seen increased interest from Kuwait with the number of pre-registered visitors already up 118 percent from the same time last year ahead of this year’s event, while the number of visitors who are interested in buying products and services from there has risen by 105 percent. Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and approaching its nineteenth year, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. Last year 2,232 exhibitors covering nearly 20,000 sq m, attracted more than 22,000 attendees.
The line-up for this year’s Arabian Travel Market will bring together annual favourites and a number of brand new events including the inaugural UNWTO regional tourism ministers’ conference and the WTM Vision forum, which will focus on Middle East travel trends and the online travel market. Covering the entire week, the popular Seminar Theatre series of sessions will address major industry topics from developments in the aviation sector and hotel branding to Sharia-compliant travel.
The all-new Tech Theatre is a dedicated platform that provides an opportunity to gain insight into leading edge industry-related technologies including social media and GDS. For the second year running, Arabian Travel Market will once again host its own unique industry version of The Apprentice to uncover the best emerging regional talent. Other regular features include the New Frontiers Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity, and the popular industry Careers Day will wrap up the week.