Middle East moots marketing alliance

Plans to launch a tourism marketing alliance for states across the Middle East are currently under consideration. The alliance, coined the Arabian Travel and Tourism Industry Association, is the initiative of Stephen Tuckwell, director of marketing company Brighter Group. Its aim is to help project a more positive image of the region. He said: “My experience in working for Gulf Air in Bahrain showed me the Arab world does not do a very good job of promoting itself as a tourism and C&I destination. “There are individual success stories in the region, such as Dubai and, to an extent, Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, but Arab countries tend to be lumped together. There is a lot of potential out there, but groups needs to feel more positive about the whole area.” David Rose, MD of McCluskey International, which represents DMC Mark Tours in the Gulf state of Oman, felt the scheme would be of great benefit. “Anything that raises the profile of the Middle East as a C&I destination has to be welcomed,” he said. “The region needs to be profiled more positively, and if you look at the success of similar schemes, such as the Caribbean Tourist Association, there is no reason why a regional promotional organisation shouldn’t succeed here.” Tourist boards and airlines are currently being approached to join the association and Tuckwell said the groundwork is currently being put in place in preparation to launch when the region’s political situation stabilises.

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