Over 2,500 exhibitors took part in the 2014 Arabian Travel Market (ATM) from 5- 8 May. It took place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and is considered to be one of the most prominent travel and tourism events of the region. Below are a few announcements and highlights from the exhibition.

Etihad in-air apartments

Etihad Airways used the Arabian Travel Market to launch its ‘Residence by Etihad’, single- or double-occupancy apartments on the A380 with a living room, double bedroom and en-suite shower room. Guests will also enjoy a Savoy-trained personal butler. Prices start at $20,000 and the service rolls out on London routes from December.

The upper deck will also have fully private suites, branded First Apartments, with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit and wardrobe.

Highlights of the 2014 Arabian Travel Market

Qatar Airways introduces new routes

Qatar Airways introduced two new routes to Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth in the United States at the Arabian Travel Market. The airline will now operate to seven destinations within the US. Their network is expected to grow further in the next few months with routes to Al Hofuf, SabihaGökçen, Edinburgh, Haneda and Djibouti.

UAE big spenders in UK, US, Thailand – and Italy

Visa’s Affluent Index 2014 showed the UAE to be more affluent than Hong Kong or Singapore with households spending over 60 percent of their income per month – some AED 6,000.

UAE cardholders’ overseas spending hit $2.88 billion in 2013, up 20 percent from 2012.  UAE travellers spend the most in the UK, the United States, Germany, France and Thailand. Italy is the fastest growing destination.

Amongst visitors to the UAE, Visa cardholders from the UK, Saudi Arabia and Russia were the biggest spenders – Russians spend $337 per transaction on average, compared to $327 by Qataris and $291 by Kuwaitis.

Brand Dubai

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched a new trade brand, Brand Dubai, which will be used in global promotion of the emirate to emphasize that it is run by one team and talks with one voice.


  • Emaar Hospitality is launching an affordable luxury ‘boutique’ brand, Manzil, and is converting an existing four-star Al Manzil hotel, which is managed by Vida Hotels and Resorts, in Downtown, which will close on 1 July and reopen on 1 November.
  • Abu Dhabi’s Rotana is launching five more properties in the UAE – two hotels in the Creek, a 163-room hotel apartment in Al Barsha and a 528-room hotel and 100-room hotel apartment in the Wafi area in 2018. It is also hoping to increase its footprint in the budget three- and four-star hotel group.
  • Intercontinental is opening seven more hotels in the UAE to add to its 18-hotel chain – and says Dubai will remain a global hub well past the 2020 Expo.
  • Hilton, which manages 17 hotels in the UAE, has six projects under way, including a DoubleTree hotel at Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City and a Hilton property on Palm Jumeirah, all expected to launch within five years.
  • Hilton will debut its Hilton Garden Inn mid-market brand next year, with one property near Port Rashid and the other in the old trade centre of Deira.
  • FRHI Hotels & Resorts is opening seven new hotels in Middle East, Africa and India region. The group operates Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts and are going to add on to their 19 existing hotels in the region.
  • Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will open a luxury resort in Riyadh with 153 rooms and 10 private villas by this year. Next year, the group will open hotels in Dubai and Beijing.
  • TIME Hotels launched “Hotel Stay Carbon Offset Program” at two hotels in Dubai. The program will aim to reduce 320 tons of carbon emissions by the end of this year.

Tourism elsewhere

  • Rotana plans to be the first international hotel operator in Iran. It will open five-star hotels will open in of Mashhad and two in Tehran by 2018.
  • Egypt is trying to bring back Gulf tourism with a “Wahashtouna” (we have missed you) campaign. Egypt Air and Egypt Air Express are launching direct flights from Jeddah to Hurghada from 20 May. A day later the low-cost airline Air Cairo will connect Kuwait to Hurghada. Visitors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait can also opt for tailor-made packages starting at US$400 that include air tickets and three-night stays in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.