BY MARK SIMMONS – Outrigger Resorts was present with its own booth at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016, which took place in Dubai April 25-28. It was the first time Outrigger has attended the event, which is the largest outbound travel bourse in the region.
The affluent Middle East market is increasingly important, especially to our properties in Mauritius, Maldives and our three resorts in Thailand. The market accounts for about 10% of our business in Outrigger Asia Pacific properties (excluding Fiji). The market comprises two main groups: expatriates, many of them from Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States, and Arab nationals, some of whom are also expatriates living and working away from home in cities such as Dubai.
The big three Middle East carriers, Emirates (Dubai), Etihad (Abu Dhabi), and Qatar (Doha) are transforming global aviation with brand new fleets of craft and a many more frequencies into destinations where Outrigger has resorts. Flight times from the three massive Gulf state aviation hubs are short: Mauritius and Thailand, six hours, Maldives, 3.5 hours.
So clearly, the Middle East is a market where we have to be active to get our share.
Joining me for three days of intensive business meetings at the Outrigger booth at ATM were Haydee Cruz, director of sales & marketing for Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort and Outrigger’s official Middle East representatives Sammy Musa and Francesca Monfero of Gulf Reps.
ATM 2016 experienced healthy visitor growth with numbers up 4% on last year. There were 423 stand holders from 86 countries and around 26,000 visitors in total from 158 countries.
With our attendance at ATM and Gulf Reps based in Dubai, Outrigger has made a strategic investment in the Middle East, which bodes well for Outrigger’s ROI going forward.