The number of UK visitors attending ATM increased in 2017 and organisers are expecting this to rise further at this year’s show, which will be held at Dubai World Trade Centre on April 22-25.
Simon Press, senior exhibition director at ATM, said: “The popularity of destination UK with GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) travellers is echoed by increasing numbers of UK travel professionals attending ATM.
“Industry professionals from the UK visiting ATM were up 10% in 2017 compared to the previous year and we expect this number to keep rising.”
UKinbound will be managing the UK stand for the first time at ATM, while exhibitors will include English Premier League football champions Chelsea, VisitBritain, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The number of visitors to the UK from GCC countries has already been growing since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Arrivals to the UK from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait rose up by 6.6% to 659,466 in 2016 as visitors from these countries took advantage of the drop in the pound’s value since the Brexit referendum.
The GCC is a lucrative inbound market for the UK with average spending higher than tourists from other parts of the world – particularly among Saudi Arabian visitors.
“Because GCC currencies are pegged to the US dollar, outbound travellers from the GCC to the UK continue to take advantage of the dollar to sterling exchange rate,” added Press.
London was the most popular UK destination with GCC visitors clocking up 3.5 million room nights – not far below the total for the rest of England (3.9 million room nights). Total room nights in Scotland were 321,000, followed by Wales (215,000) and Northern Ireland (12,500).
UKinbound’s chief executive Deirdre Wells said: “We know that outbound travel from GCC countries alone is expected to grow by over 80% in the next 10 years.
“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, managing the UK stand at the show is part of our new Global Britain strategy to broaden our international market appeal.”
ATM, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, has also adopted responsible tourism as its main theme, which will be integrated into activities and seminar sessions.