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ATM takes Dubai's travel industry a step ahead

Dubai: They came from all corners of the globe to showcase their world.  From holiday packages at expensive island resorts in the Maldives to offers of experiencing nomadic life in Norway, those travelling this summer were given a variety of choices at the region's biggest tourism fair in Dubai.

While developers from the UAE presented their tourism projects at the Arabian Travel Market, a tour operator at the British pavilion invited youngsters to have simple adventure holidays at a place known as Camp Beaumont.

"The dimension of UAE projects is very unusual for Europeans. We do not have that much space in Europe for such big projects, nor do we have investors ready to invest such money," said Maria Puetz-Willems, editor of an online hospitality magazine from Germany.

However, a promotional brochure for the British summer camp declared: "Beaumont Village is a living proof that everything does not have to be the biggest to be the best."

This year it expects to attract a diverse mix of 7,000 children in an "exchange of ideas and cultures".

The Sami nomadic tribe from Norway offered hunting trips, tent living and driving with reindeer herds in their tour packages.

"Visitors can stay with us to experience our life and culture," said Elisabeth Torstad at the Sami booth.

Well-known holiday destinations such as Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia, Thailand, and France also offered a range of choices.

Puetz-Willems said she was impressed with the strong presence of the hotel industry. "It was global in nature. Nearly every type of hotel was there from boutique to the brands operated by big chains," she said.

Asian and Arab countries that usually attract a huge number of Gulf travellers in summer had a big presence.

First time participants were China, Croatia, Macau, Palestine, Peru, Swaziland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe.

Macau, a special administrative region of China that was formerly ruled by Portugal, is a gambling haven. But it was not in Dubai to promote its casinos.

"Gambling is just one part of Macau. We want people from this region to come and see our world-heritage sites," said Joao Novikoff Sales, a government tourist office spokesman.

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