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Emergence of culture travel

Collier’s International through its Experiential Travel Series has put the spotlight on culture and heritage travel to coincide with the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017.

According to the report, culture tourism is multifaceted, and involves sharing the destinations country’s local traditions, history, art, music, cuisine, literature and religion. This may involve a wide range of activities from visiting historic sites, monuments and exhibitions, attending festivals and performances to participating in traditional cooking classes, dances and going on a safari.

The promotion of cultural sites and events are increasingly being used by GCC countries to boost tourism and enhance their competitiveness and attractiveness. Investment in cultural tourism is viewed as a sustainable means to diversify tourist appeal, and can lead to job creation, increased education and preservation of local heritage. However, maintaining a cultural integrity is often seen as a challenge in today’s rapidly globalising world.

Regional boost for ATM 2017 visitor numbers

Recent statistics revealed by the management of Arabian Travel Market state that a 10% increase is witnessed from visitors in the GCC and an increase of seven percent from international visitors.

This is the second year that visitor numbers crossed the 28,000 mark – marking a 71% increase in visitors over last five years.

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said: “The event has built on its quality year-on-year and professionalism of exhibitors and stands. Exhibition stand contracts signed during ATM 2017 for next year are up 38% year-on-year, with exhibitors keen to reserve their space for the 25th anniversary.”

The 2017 edition had representations from 87 countries and over 100 new exhibitors making their debut. The number of countries represented at ATM 2017, taken from all attendees, totalled 157.

The UNWTO and ATM Ministerial Forum was attended by more than 20 government ministers and global leaders. The Forum touched upon key priorities for the region’s tourism industry that include human resources development, public/private sector cooperation, connectivity, technology and sustainability.

“Despite all external shocks, the Middle East and North Africa tell one of tourism’s biggest success stories. A story that brings an immense opportunity to make tourism a pillar of economic diversification, job creation and sustainable development in this region” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Other popular features included the Wellness and Spa Lounge, Travel Agents’ Academy, Buyers’ Club and the Bloggers’ Speed Networking events. Responsible tourism, which played a huge part in the show and continues to be at the forefront, has appropriately been named the theme for 2018.