Global travel firms forge Saudi links


Published — Thursday 14 April 2016​

With outbound travel from the Kingdom being one of the highest in the Gulf region with citizens as well as expatriates constantly traveling abroad and looking for new opportunities to explore new destinations, global travel firms are participating in the Riyadh Travel Fair (RTF-2016) with huge expectations to forge new ties by expanding Saudi links.

Inaugurated on Tuesday, RTF-2016, according to Bander Al-Gryni, general manager of ASAS exhibitions, organizer of the annual event, is the largest fair to date with 250 exhibitors from tourism boards, airlines, tour operators and hotels from 55 countries having an opportunity to outreach to the Kingdom’s tourism industry.

Speaking to Arab News on Wednesday Fahri Kurt, general manager of Umbrella Travels at the Turkish pavilion, said the fair is a very good opportunity for travel firms to expand their Saudi ties. 

“We are glad to know that this time it is the largest fair on record with a 20 percent increase in the number of exhibitors, and happy with the turnout of visitors, expecting more arrivals as the fair progresses,” he said.

Supervising his country’s pavilion at the RTF, Sunarko, deputy chief of mission at the Indonesian Embassy, said the fair is a good opportunity to expand ties.

He said that the Indonesian Embassy, “along with the Ministry of Tourism, is paying special attention to Saudi visitors to our country as they are the largest visitors from the Middle East.”

Citing statistics, he said, “Indonesia has registered about a 10 percent increase in the number of Saudi visitors with 160,463 visitors in 2015, against 147,074 in 2014, and in participating in RTF-2016 we hope to increase the numbers.”

Ubaidulla Mukkannan, a marketing manager at the Qatar tourism pavilion, was also keeping his fingers crossed saying “the overwhelming responses with the good number of visitors make us feel good on a successful participation.”

Expressing his excitement over the good response, Shiraz Ahmad, CMO, GenX eSolutions, New Delhi, also expressed delight to be part of the RTF-2016 saying,“this is the first time I have been here. Earlier we participated in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM-Dubai) and am happy to see many ATM participants here, which suggests how big this travel fair is to forge new links and expand our customer base for quality service.”

Safwan Ahmaed, a visitor at the fair said, “It is a good experience to be here as the fair offers innovative travel solutions and services with the huge presence of global travel firms, and promises a unique experience to all, visitors and participants, in order to forge better links.”