Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) along with partner participating companies have offered diverse tourism products and services to the travelers and the tour operators / travel agents of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the 26th edition of Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Mani Raj Lamichhane, Director at NTB, taking part in formal and informal discussion at the different forums of ATM Dubai highlighted the experiential products that Nepal is offering and the type of luxury to the standard services that are available in the market which could satisfy the needs of the Arabian as well as the expats living in MENA region.

After the ATM event, Nepal Tourism Board in association with Embassy of Nepal, Abu Dhabi and Nepal Airlines organized Nepal Evening 2019 and launching of Visit Nepal Year 2020 at Voco Hotel Dubai, where the various tourism products and services were presented along with the documentaries showcasing Nepal. The invitees included major tour operators / travel agents, media people, people from diplomatic communities, corporates and others.

The visitors were presented Nepali kit bag containing travelers’ information, Nepali tea, diary and pen. Earlier the guests were welcomed by offering the ‘coat pin’ of Visit Nepal 2020. During the event, quiz contest about Nepali tourism products was organized and the winners were offered the gift hampers of Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal Airlines. A networking program after the formal event was attended by all four participating companies of Nepal – Soaltee Crown Plaza, Nepal Holiday Makers Tours & Travel Pvt. Ltd., Incredible Mountains Pvt. Ltd. & Marriott Kathmandu Hotel, Kathmandu.

The leading global event for the Middle East inbound and outbound travel industry which was first opened its doors in 1994 at the Dubai World Trade Centre with 52 nations, 300 exhibitors and 7,000 trade visitors, now facilitates $2.5 billion in industry deals and attracts 2,500 exhibitors from 153 countries and over 28,000 influential visitors. Over 39,000 travel professionals, government ministers and international press, visit ATM every April to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends across four days on the annual business-to-business (B2B) exhibition at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).

The Middle East’s largest travel and tourism exhibition was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.

The 30 sq. m well decorated Nepal stall located at Sheikh Saeed Hall 3 attracted hundreds of visitors in her booth. The beautiful pictures showcasing various tourism products were appreciated by the visitors at ATM and had generated their curiosity to know more about Nepal. The questions that were raised at Nepal stall were about connectivity, availability of luxury / upscale products, halal foods, trekking and soft adventures.

Nepal is well connected from UAE with 5 airlines operating in the region. Two Nepali airlines – Nepal Airlines and Himalaya and Three UAE airlines Fly Dubai, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia are operating to / from UAE to Nepal. More than 40 percent of Muslim travelers’ global outbound spending comes from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Middle East’s total outbound spend is projected to grow to USD 72 billion by 2020. And to attract the younger Muslim travelers, the hospitality firms should offer tailored, halal-friendly products.

Gen Z and millennial travelers are setting the trends in halal tourism. They are no longer looking for ‘just a hotel’; they want to know what a destination can offer in terms of experiences. So, Muslim travelers don’t necessarily need to see halal branding but they do need to know that halal services are available. As Nepal is celebrating 2020 as Visit Nepal Year with the theme ‘Lifetime Experiences’ – the tour operators are required to work towards creating the ‘experiences’ on the products that they offer in order to tap this market.