SA Tourism takes on Arabian Travel Market in Dubai to showcase SA as a business and leisure destination

Discover Africa Travel showcasing at Arabian Travel Market. Picture: Supplied

Discover Africa Travel showcasing at Arabian Travel Market. Picture: Supplied

Published May 3, 2023


With the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) currently under way in Dubai, South African Tourism, along with a group of small South African tourism businesses in South Africa's tourism sector are showcasing what South Africa has to offer on the international platform.

ATM, the leading Middle East B2B exhibition, brings together over 2 800 exhibitors, and 26 000 visitors from around the world to meet, network and do business.

The show is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre until May 4.

According to SA Tourism, the tourism industry was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and Small, Medium to Macro Enterprises (SMMEs) were hit the hardest.

“In an effort to support their recovery, South African Tourism is providing these businesses with an opportunity to showcase their offering at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). At this trade fair, these SMMEs are showcasing their brands alongside the crème de la crème of the industry, including top established tourist destinations, cutting-edge travel technology providers, leading airlines, and giants in hospitality and accommodation,” said SA Tourism.

South African Tourism Chief Operations Officer, Nomasonto Ndlovu said that SMMEs are a very critical part of our tourism offering.

“Through these businesses, we are able to showcase a wide range of tourism products and experiences that travellers are looking for. By having these SMMEs taking part at trade shows of this magnitude, we are able to fully show the world what our country has to offer as a business events and leisure destination,” said Ndlovu.

South African Tourism revealed that it is doing this in partnership with Small Tourism Enterprise Association (STEA), whose core mission is to empower small businesses through engagement, employment, and active participation in the tourism sector.

According to SA Tourism stats, South Africa emerged as an appealing destination for international travellers, welcoming 5.7 million visitors from various parts of the world in 2022.

“Middle Eastern arrivals amounted to 406 000. The Middle East is the only one to have fully recovered in terms of air capacity. The number of seats available to South Africa from the region in 2023 is 95.9% of the seats that were available before the pandemic in 2019, and arrivals from the Middle East region have surpassed their previous share and are now representing 0.7% of all arrivals,” said the body.

Ndlovu also revealed that the UAE, and more specifically Dubai is home to many expats and this presents a wonderful opportunity for SMMEs to meet and engage a broader audience and create lasting impressions.

“By participating in events such as Arabian Travel Market, they get to expand their reach beyond local boundaries,” said Ndlovu.

She added that “the participation of these small businesses at the ATM is expected to contribute to boosting destination competitiveness, catalysing industry transformation, and accelerating tourism growth”.

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