Sunday, May 5, 2013

Past, present and future in focus as Arabian Travel Market opens for business

Past, present and future in focus as Arabian Travel Market opens for business

Global professionals join 25 international tourism ministers in Dubai for 20th edition of leading regional event; retrospective to celebrate tourism milestones as technological innovation shapes the next two decades of industry growth
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2013, the region’s leading travel industry showcase, opens its doors today, (Monday 6 May), with four days packed with activity dedicated to the future of tourism, while honouring industry milestones from the last 20 years.
Celebrating two decades of regional industry milestones as the Middle East’s pre-eminent tourism and hospitality platform, ATM runs until 9 May at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. The show will welcome over 2,500 exhibitors from 87 countries, covering over 22,000 square metres of floor space, compared with just 300 companies and 2,000 square metres when the show first opened in 1994.

A total of 25 international tourism ministers will participate in the second annual UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum on Tuesday 7 May, with the theme of setting a common growth agenda for tourism and aviation. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the forum will look at how tourism policies and aviation can work together more closely in order to support sustained economic growth and sector development.

Visitor numbers are also set to break records this year, with Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of ATM, looking to build on the 2012 figure of 17,000 registered visitors. “This is a far cry from the 7,000 tourism professionals who visited for the very first time in the early 90s and a glowing testimony to all of our stakeholders,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre said, “For one week in May every year the travel industry arrives in Dubai to take a look into the future of travel and tourism. As Dubai has grown, the show has grown with it and become one of the most important events on the global industry calendar. For those exhibitors and visitors who attended the first ATM, the Dubai of today would have been a city beyond imagination.”

Echoing that sentiment, Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East & Iran said, “ATM has served as a catalyst for attracting key industry figures from across the globe, while underlining Dubai’s position as a regional centre for major events, especially as the city bids to host Expo 2020. Emirates has been a pivotal player at ATM since its inception, and for 20 years we have celebrated many milestones at ATM. It’s an ideal platform to showcase our constant innovation and new initiatives across the Emirates Group.”

Ali Abu Monassar – Chairman, The Vision Destination Management, added “ATM will continue to play a major role in the growth of the tourism sector as the industry platform that connects this region to the world.”

ATM has been an annual fixture on the Dubai calendar for 19 of its 20-year history, relocating only once – to Bahrain – in 1995.
This year’s event will be both a retrospective and an opportunity to look ahead at industry trends, with a strong focus on technology. Today’s line-up opens with a panel session entitled ‘20 Years: Now, Then and Tomorrow’, featuring the expert insight of industry leaders including HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, CEO and Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, The Emirates Group and Dubai World; HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, DTCM & DWTC;
Iain Andrew, Divisional Senior Vice President, dnata; HE Marwan Al Sarkal,
CEO, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority – Shurooq; Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President, Passenger Sales Worldwide, Emirates; Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO, Jumeirah Group and Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

The introduction of the all-new Digital and Technology Day will see sought-after speakers from some of the world’s most influential tech companies including Tech Theatre sponsor, Google, as well as senior executives from TripAdvisor and Amadeus, share invaluable industry insight.

Toufic Tamim, Vice President Sales & Marketing – Middle East, M√∂venpick Hotels & Resorts, the official host hotel for ATM 2013 commented - “After a successful association with ATM over the last 12 years, it has been remarkable for us to watch and experience on a first-hand basis how the show has evolved. Regionally and internationally, it remains an extremely important, show for anyone in the inbound and outbound tourism business,”

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.
Arabian Travel Market 2013 will be held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Conference Centre from 6-9 May.

For more information on Arabian Travel Market 2012, please log on to

About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Arabian Travel Market is organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel. Reed Travel Exhibitions also organises Abu-Dhabi based global meetings and incentive exhibition, GIBTM which takes place annually in March.
The RTE portfolio of 19 events are; World Travel Market (WTM), World Travel Market Latin America (WTM Latin America), Arabian Travel Market (ATM), International French Travel Market Top Resa (IFTM), International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), International Ski Travel Market (ISTM), International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), International Luxury Travel Market Asia (ILTM Asia), International Luxury Travel Market Americas (ILTM Americas), International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTM Africa), International Luxury Travel Market Japan (ILTM Japan), International Luxury Travel Market Spa (ILTM Spa), Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) (owned by Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau), Global Exhibition for Incentive, Business Travel, and Meetings (EIBTM), Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), Americas Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (AIBTM), China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (CIBTM), India Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (IBTM India) and Business Travel Market.

September 2013 will see the launch of IBTM India in Mumbai and another exciting launch in the ski travel sector, with International Ski Travel Market in March 2014 in Austria.
RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.

About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 39 countries. In 2011 Reed brought together six million active event participants from around the world, generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organized by 33 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 44 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of the Reed Elsevier Group plc, a world-leading publisher and information provider and a FTSE 100 company.

Show history copy


- Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show occupies more than 22,000 square metres.

- Exhibitors: over 2,500 exhibitors from 87 countries.

- 20th anniversary of the Arabian Travel Market.


- Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show occupied more than 20,800 square metres.

- Exhibitors: Visitors met with 8,317 exhibiting personnel across 348 main stand holders.

- Visitors: 17,575 visitors attended the show with Buyers Club attendance up 38 per cent. ATM lured 161 Hosted Buyers and 13,241 travel trade professionals. The 2012 edition reported an 8 per cent increase in overall attendance.

- The inaugural United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Arabian Travel Market industry forum took place.

- New Frontiers Award winner: Japan


- Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show occupied 19,557 square metres.

- Exhibitors: Visitors were able to meet with 7,348 exhibiting personnel. There were 353 main stand holders this year.

- Visitors: 16,636 visitors attended the show with Buyers Club attendance up by 20%. 154 Hosted Buyers visited Arabian Travel Market 2011.

- There were 13,313 travel trade professionals in attendance at the 2011 show.

- Over 48,000 members of the public visited the exhibition over the four days.

- New Frontiers Award winner: Chile

- Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show occupied 20,036 square metres.

- Exhibitors: Visitors were able to meet with 7,228 exhibiting personnel. There were 6 new exhibiting countries this year.

- Visitors: 14,835 visitors attended the show with Buyers Club up by 6%. 138 Hosted Buyers visited Arabian Travel Market 2010.

- There were 11,641 travel trade professionals in attendance at the 2010 show.

- Over 2000 members of the public visited the exhibition on Consumer and Careers Day.

- New Frontiers Award winner: Philippines


- Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre occupied 20,228 square metres

- Exhibitors: Visitors were able to meet with 6,980 exhibiting personnel. There were 8 new exhibiting countries this year.

- Visitors: 15,026 visitors (6.5% year on year increase).

- All 146 Hosted Buyers were new visitors to Arabian Travel Market and the number of the travel trade professionals in attendance nudged up 5.14 per cent.

- 2211 members of the public visited the exhibition on Consumer and Careers Day.

- New Frontiers Award winner: India


- Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show occupied 25,658 square metres - a 4.3% increase on 2007.

- Exhibitors: There were 7 new exhibiting countries this year, and products and services showcased on the exhibition floor increased by 9%.

- Visitors: 14,046 (2.2% year on year increase) attended the show with an 18.6 per cent increase in VIP Buyers. Visitors represented 114 countries.

- All 119 Hosted Buyers were new visitors and comprised decision makers from the premium leisure industry, the golf sector and from Meetings, Incentives, and Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) market.

- 2225 members of the public visited on the exhibition on the consumer day.

- New Frontiers Award winner: USA


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre - The biggest in the series, the show’s 14th edition occupied 24,600 square metres - up 11 per cent on 2006.

- Exhibitors: Nearly 2,600 exhibitors, a 24 per cent increase over the previous year, took part. More than 64 countries, participated while 115 exhibitors from 34 countries were new to the show. First timers included China, Croatia, Macau, Palestine, Peru, Ras Al Khaimah, Swaziland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe.

- Visitors: More than 12,850 trade professionals from 108 countries attended - up 5.1 per cent on 2006 – with an 8 per cent increase in overseas visitors.

- The show recorded a 7 per cent increase in media, attracting more than 1,000 local, regional and international journalists.

- Arabian Travel Market 2007 featured a host of initiatives, including an expanded seminar programme, an upgraded media centre and a new dedicated area for travel and technology.

- Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) established a permanent office in Dubai.

- New Frontiers Award winner: Mexico


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre

- Exhibitors: Arabian Travel Market 2006 had 38 per cent more allocated floor space, spanning 22,229 square metres, to accommodate 1,750 exhibitors from 59 countries, including 114 first time participants.

- Visitors: 11,674 trade buyers attended from 99 countries, 974 media – up 29 per cent from the previous year.

- New Frontiers Award winner: Thailand

- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre

- Exhibitors: 102 companies and tourism organisations were first-time exhibitors at the event.

- More than 1,664 exhibitors from 64 countries, including 57 national and regional tourism bodies took part, including South Africa, which had a national pavilion for the first time.

- Visitors: Nearly 11,000 trade visitors from 94 countries attended the show with almost 7,000 from the Middle East, demonstrating the show’s growing regional popularity.

- The New Frontiers Award was created to recognise outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity supporting the chosen destination by donating exhibition space at event to the value of US$10,000.

- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre

- Exhibitors: More than 1,400 exhibitors from 55 nations

- Visitors: 8,606 trade professionals from 96 countries attended, which was a 25 per cent increase on the 2003 event.

- Overseas visitors hit the 8,224 mark.

- More than 773 registered journalists – a 13.6 per cent increase on 2003


- Venue: Airport Expo Dubai

- Exhibitors: 783 exhibitors from 55 countries took part.

- Visitors: 12,111 visitors from 73 countries attended the 10th anniversary edition of Arabian Travel Market in 2003.

- Travel trade turnout was 6,883, up 20 per cent on 2002 while overall attendance rose by six per cent.

- A total of 695 journalists covered the show.

- 982 VIP guests were received on site.

- 4,441 consumers visited during the two public day sessions towards the close of the show.

- The show featured a seminar on space tourism, conducted by the President and CEO of Space Adventures, Eric Anderson.


- Venue: Airport Expo Dubai

- Exhibitors: 700 exhibitors representing 56 countries. 4,592 exhibiting personnel took part.

- Visitors: 11,418 visitors from 69 countries attended the show: 5,643 were trade visitors or Meridian Club members, 600 media representatives and 5,175 were consumers. Some 70.6 per cent of trade visitors were of managerial status. International trade visitor attendance was 2,035.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre. This was the biggest ever show in the series, took up 8,000 square metres.

- Exhibitors: 782 companies from 59 countries participated.

- Visitors: Trade visitors reached 6,366 – an increase of almost 7 per cent on Arabian Travel Market 2000. Consumer attendance soared to 4,420.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre.

- Exhibitors: Over 700 exhibitors from 55 countries occupied 7,100 square metres in floor space.

- Visitors: The show attracted some 5,961 trade visitors from 86 countries. Trade visitors from Saudi Arabia registered an 11 per cent increase while those from Kuwait were up 13 per cent on 1999 figures.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre.

- Exhibitors: 619 exhibitors from 42 nations in a 6,000 square metre show.

- Visitors: A total of 6,406 trade visitors – a 15.3 per cent increase on 1998
Almost two-thirds of trade visitors were of managerial status or above.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre.

- Exhibitors: 530 exhibitors from 41 nations took up 5,400 square metres of floor space.

- Visitors: 7,200 visitors from 63 countries. More than 80 per cent of visitors had direct purchasing power. The hosted Gold Buyers Programme was introduced.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre

- Exhibitors: 450 exhibitors from 47 countries took part.

- Visitors: 7260 visitors – up 14 per cent on 1996. The daily average of trade visitors increased by 20.6 per cent year on year. International visitor attendance shot up 41 per cent year on year.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre

- Exhibitors: 400 companies from 49 nations and a new feature added - the Arabian Travel Market conference.

- Visitors: A total of 5,785 visitors.


- Venue: Bahrain International Exhibition Centre.

- Exhibitors: The event featured more than 300 companies from 35 nations.

- Visitors: Over 4,000 visitors, including in excess of 3,000 trade visitors attended.

- This was the only time the show was staged in Bahrain.


- Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre.

- Exhibitors: 300 companies from 52 nations participated. Almost 50 per cent of exhibitors hailed from outside the Middle East.

- Visitors: More than 7,000 visited the show - including 2,500 consumers.

- Arabian Travel Market covered 2,000 square metres of floor at the Dubai World Trade Centre in its first year, 1994.

Industry history copy


• Arabian Travel Market celebrates its 20th Anniversary event in Dubai.

• Dubai Airports starts the new year with the opening of Concourse A on January 2. By February 10, the entire new facility is fully operational.

• On April 1st, Emirates and Qantas mark the official start of their historic partnership, with the first Qantas flights departing from Sydney and Melbourne to London via the international hub of Dubai.


• Passenger traffic reaches 57.68 million making Dubai the world’s second busiest airport for international passengers.

• Qatar National Hotels Company is re-named as Katara Hospitality at Arabian Travel Market 2012, to reflect the company's heritage and its international expansion plans.

• Dubai Airports announces a US$7.8 billion (28.8 billion AED) airport and airspace expansion programme which will boost capacity at Dubai International from 60 million to 90 million passengers per year by 2018.

• Aviation is now established as a vital contributor to the UAE’s economy, contributing more than AED145 billion ($39.47bn) or 14.7 per cent to the national GDP.

• Construction of the US$1.2 billion (AED4.4bn) Kingdom Project Construction work is due to start on site on April 1, 2013 and is expected to be completed 63 months later in 2018. It is planned to be the tallest tower in the world.


• On December 13, Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi welcomes for the first time the Costa Favalosa cruise ship. The fleet is billed as "the most advanced" liner ever deployed in the Middle East.

• The Royal Opera House opens the first opera house in the Middle East.

• Al Ain city is named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

• Dubai Airports announces US$7.8 billion Strategic Plan 2020, involving a series of expansion projects at Dubai International (Concourse D for all airlines, 60% increases in aircraft stands, and expansion of Terminal 2)


• Ferrari World opens its doors to the public on the 4th of November 2010. Ferrari World is not only the largest indoor amusement park in the world, but is also home Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster.

• Oman Air becomes the first airline in the world to introduce both OnAir internet and OnAir Mobile phone services

• The tallest building in the world opens, the Burj Khalifa, at a staggering 828m (2,716ft) high.

• Qatar wins the big to stage the 2022 World Cup finals.

• Dubai Airports opens the first phase of Dubai World Central (DWC) for cargo operations on June 27.


• The first section of the Dubai Metro Red Line, covering 10 stations, is ceremonially inaugurated at 9:09:09 PM on 9 September 2009, by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. The Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula and more than 110,000 people, which is nearly 10 per cent of Dubai’s population, used the Metro in its first two days of operation.

• Debut of Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
• The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) opens offices in Milan and Rome

• The Palm Jumeirah Monorail starts operation on May 6, 2009 and is the first monorail in the Middle East.

• Terminal 2 undergoes major refurbishment for the launch of flydubai, Dubai’s own low cost airline.

• Work begins on Concourse A, the A380 dedicated facility for Emirates’ fleet of super jumbos.

• Passenger throughput surpasses the 40 million mark with traffic reaching 40.9 million and Dubai International becomes the world’s fastest growing airport among the top 50 major hubs.


• The Emirates dedicated Terminal 3 opens in October and within a month 500,000 passengers had flown out the terminal. This is the world’s largest single terminal and expanded Dubai International’s capacity to 60 million.

• Atlantis opens its doors to the public on September 24, and is the first resort to be built on the Palm Jumeirah.

• In July the Government of Dubai establishes flydubai. On 14 July 2008 flydubai signs a firm order with American aircraft manufacturer Boeing at the Farnborough Air Show for 50 Boeing 737-800s with a total value of $3.74 billion,

• Dubai Mall opens in November this year with approximately 635 retailers, marking the world’s largest-ever mall opening in retail history.

• The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, at the centre of Downtown Dubai. It is 900 ft. (275 meters) in length – equivalent to that of over two football fields.


• In early October 2007, the Palm Jumeirah becomes the world's largest artificial island. Also, 75% of the properties are ready to hand over, with 500 families already residing on the island.

• Sharq Village & Spa opens as Qatar's first branded luxury resort

• Nas Airline a low cost carrier based in Saudi Arabia is launched in February.

• Department of Civil Aviation is restructured leading to the formation of Dubai Airports –operator of Dubai’s airports – alongside Dubai Civil Aviation Authority – the local aviation regulatory body.


• The 15th Asian Games, officially known as the XV Asiad, is Asia's Olympic-style sporting event that is held in Doha, Qatar from December 1 to December 15. Doha is the first city in the region and only the second in West Asia (following Tehran in 1974) to host the games.

• Emirates is the first airline in the world to install personal in-seat email and SMS services in all classes throughout the whole fleet

• ADTA forms Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), launches Saadiyat Island to the world – the future home of the Louvre Abu Dhabi (2015), Zayed National Museum (2016) and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2017).


• Ski Dubai opens in November. The indoor resort features an 85-meter-high indoor mountain with 5 slopes of varying steepness and difficulty, including a 400-metre-long run and the world's first indoor black run.

• Emirates Palace opens its doors in November. The hotel cost a total of USD3 billion to build, making it the second most expensive hotel ever built.


• Oman becomes a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

• Jazeera Airways starts operations as the first non-government owned airline in the Middle East. To date Jazeera Airways in one of the Middle East’s non-government owned airlines.

• The first Bahrain Grand Prix takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 4 April 2004. It makes history as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East, and is given the award for the "Best Organised Grand Prix" by the FIA.

• The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is launched, now the oldest film festival in the Gulf region.

• Jumeirah Group becomes a member of Dubai Holding - a collection of leading Dubai-based businesses and projects - in line with a new phase of growth and development for the Group.

• The design phase begins on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) in a response to a projected demand for additional international passenger capacity to the region. The current airport handles 4.2 million passengers a year, whereas the new airport will be able to handle 24 million a year after the first phase of construction which is set for the second half of 2013.

• Excavation work begins for the Burj Khalifa in January 2004.


Emirates shocks the industry at the Paris Air Show with the biggest deal in civil aviation history - a staggering order for 71 aircraft at a cost of $19 billion.

Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa begins operations.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, commences commercial operations on November 2003, with its first flight from Abu Dhabi to Beyrouth.


• Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia all become members of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

• 2002 marks the opening of Al-Mamlaka Tower in Riyadh. Taking over from the Al Faisalyah Tower which was completed in 2000, Al-Mamlaka is now the tallest tower in Saudi Arabia.

• In 2002, the Dubai Tourism Commerce Marketing forms the Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB) to conduct all international bids on behalf of the emirate for attracting major events to Dubai.

• Abu Dhabi International Airport completes series of expansion projects. These involve a new 4,100m runway and taxiway, a new satellite terminal, a rapid transit shuttle and a series of 18 new aircraft stands that cost approximately $230m.

• Dubai International Airport is ranked the second fastest growing airport in the world according to the Airports Council International (ACI) traffic statistics. The facility handles around 18 million passengers and is established as the aviation hub of the Middle East


• Construction of the Palm Jumeirah Island begins in June. The island has been created using 94 million cubic metres of sand and 7 million tonnes of rock.

• Bahrain becomes a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation

• The Ritz-Carlton Doha opens its doors, at the time the tallest building in Qatar.

• 2001 sees the establishment of the first cruise terminal in Dubai. In the first year of operation the terminal received approximately 7000 passengers and 50 ship calls.


• The Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA), a state-run organisation devoted to developing the tourism sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is founded.

• Al Faisalyah Tower in Riyadh, the tallest tower in the city at the time, opens that year.

• The Jumeirah Emirates Towers opens its doors and is the third tallest hotel in the world at the time of launch.

• Sheikh Rashid Terminal, also known as Terminal 1, opens, marking the start of a new chapter in Dubai’s aviation history. Built as part of the first phase of the general expansion project at a cost of AED2 billion, the terminal increases the Airport’s capacity from 10 million to 25 million.


• Burj Al Arab, the world's tallest offshore hotel, opens in December.

• An agreement between Dubai’s travel and tour operator, dnata, and the Youth Hostels Association (YHA), concludes in May 1999, making it the first UAE travel agency to sell international membership in YHA.

• The Kuwait International Airport begins a 32,000m2 expansion to its passenger terminal building at a cost of KD18m ($60m).


• Oman Air becomes a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in October.

• The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) first launches and becomes one of the major shopping and entertainment events in the region.

• The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) officially launches in March 1998 as an independent, public – private sector partnership. They make the official announcement at the Arabian Travel Market that year.


• The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is established in January, replacing its predecessor the Dubai Commerce and Tourism Promotion Board (DCTPB), which was set up in 1989.

• Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts is founded and in the same year launches its first development, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.


• Fujairah Tourism Bureau is established to market the emirate’s considerable tourist attractions, which included diverse activities like watching bloodless bull-wrestling, visiting mangrove forests and bird-breeding sites, or navigating the steep mountain roads and narrow gorges of the Musandam peninsula.

• Global Village is launched this year. Initially a small site along the Dubai Creek with kiosks representing different countries, in its first year, Global Village attracts more than 500,000 visitors.

• The first Dubai World Cup is held thrusting both Nad Al Sheba and the UAE onto the global stage as American ‘wonder horse' Cigar, claims the inaugural running.

• Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) starts on 15 February as a retail event intended to revitalise retail trade in Dubai.


• The famous Sealine Beach Resort, Qatar’s first ever leisure destination, opens its doors.


• Bahrain Airport Company's major expansion and refurbishment program is completed in March. The new US$ 100 million terminal increases the handling capacity of the airport to 10 million passengers a year.

• The first ever Arabian Travel Market show opens in Dubai

• The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres, the regional trade body representing the shopping centre industry in the Middle East and North Africa, is established.

• Emirates is the first airline to equip an Airbus fleet with an on-flight fax facility.

• Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is launched in January.


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