With an eye on airlines, Maldives goes big at Arabian Travel Market

A 125-strong delegation from Maldives has laid out a comprehensive display of its world-renowned tourism products at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) with an emphasis on linking up with airlines to jointly promote the country’s tourism industry.

In a statement, state tourism promotion company Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) said its officials along with more than 125 representatives from 57 companies involved in the tourism industry travelled to Dubai to attend the fair, which began Monday. The delegation is led by deputy tourism minister Hussein Lirar, and includes high ranking officials such as the Acting Managing Director of MMPRC Haris Mohamed and the Ambassador Designate of Maldives to the United Arab Emirates Hussain Niyaz, it added.

Maldives is showcased at a 200-square metre stand with a new design concept that shows the natural beauty of the destination through colourful images. During the four-day exhibition, special activities are being carried out at the stand to attract more visitors, including social media campaigns that aim to increase the online presence of the Maldives’ tourism industry. Visitors also have the opportunity to take pictures at the stand and upload them to social media with the hashtags, #visitmaldives #ATMDubai to win instant gifts.

“The main focus for this year will be meeting with airlines to identify joint marketing avenues which are mutually beneficial for the airlines and for the destination,” the statement issued by MMPRC read.

Founded in 1994, ATM is now recognised as the largest travel trade show in Middle East, showcasing over 2,800 products and destinations from around the world to over 26,000 buyers and visitors every year. Apart from usual business meetings, this year’s fair will see special events, including speed networking sessions for industry stakeholders and travel media.

Middle East is one of the major emerging source markets for the Maldives tourism industry. Official figures show that 51,330 tourists visited the Maldives from Middle Eastern countries last year, a 22.3 percent increase over the 41,976 the year before.

That growth is set to continue this year as well, as Middle Eastern travellers that chose to travel to the Maldives for their holidays increased by 3.9 percent in the first two months of the year.

Middle East is also the hub from which major airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Fly Dubai have scheduled direct flights to the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport. Recent addition to flights from the Middle East is Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier Saudi Airlines.

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