Visa waiver scheme to boost UK presence at ATM 2014

The organiser of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is anticipating a "surge" in exhibition enquiries from British travel and hospitality companies following a change to visa requirements for nationals of four Gulf countries travelling to the UK.

Mark Walsh, portfolio director at Reed Travel Exhibitions
Mark Walsh, portfolio director at Reed Travel Exhibitions

The Home Office announced last month that it is launching a new visa waiver scheme for visitors from Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in early 2014.

Visitors from these countries will submit a new free electronic visa waiver at least 48 hours prior to their planned departure. This will replace the current application process, which requires travellers to provide biometric information and attend a visa application centre or hand in their passport prior to travel.  

It is expected similar new arrangements will be extended to Kuwati passport holders later next year.

Reed Travel Exhibitions is holding ATM at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from 5-8 May 2014.

Mark Walsh, portfolio director at Reed Travel Exhibitions, said the company had already received a number of enquiries from UK-based companies about attending ATM for the first time on the back of the announcement of the scheme and that it expected "increased participation" from a diverse range of companies representing the UK.

John Calthorpe, managing director of Pavilion Expo, the organiser of the UK pavilion at ATM, said: "The 37% increase in visitors [from the Gulf region to its stand at ATM] that VisitBritain announced from last year, has the possibility of being dwarfed by this visa waiver programme, with the initiative encouraging more frequent short breaks from the region."

The UK pavilion, which is increasing year-on-year in terms of size and exhibitors, will be 144 square metres and have 34 exhibiting companies.

 

 

 

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