ATM, the one-stop shop for travel agents

THE Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is a show that has grown beyond imagination since its inception in 1994 in Bahrain, when it was called the ‘Arab Travel Market’.

I recollect sitting in one of the initial meetings with the organizers who had said that the show would be move its venue across some of the GCC states. I thought it was an excellent idea due to the GCC spending power.

Together with ATM, these cities would be able to showcase to the industry their excellent show venues.

The greatest growth factor I would say hasn’t been just for hotel and airlines but for tourist authorities and technology companies which over the last twenty years have come a long way.

I would say ATM has contributed to growth in not just tourism but business opportunities in the entire GCC. A good example is the cruise industry and the various cruise liners that return to the warm waters of the Gulf every year as they make the region their homeport for a few months.

We have also seen the growth of numerous international hotel chains across the GCC that ATM to sell and distribute their products as well as to inform the trade about their products. International airlines too, who overlooked the region in the past have started operations to various GCC cities.

ATM for me is one of the best network tools for the travel trade in the region. My travel agency Al Kaatib Travel, a premium up market travel agency in Bahrain has been attending the show since its inception. One of the main reasons I attend is to see new products on display – whether it is new airline seats which have evolved over the last 20 years, new technology which various companies are introducing into the market or hotel companies to see what new properties they have coming up in the future. Basically becomes an educational and networking experience.

The show has also been the best place to meet in a friendly environment and resolve issues with partners.

Sheikh Bader Bin Salman AlKhalifa is the managing director of Al Kaatib Travel Agency in Bahrain.

ATM Diaries