Destination Unknown



The Arabian Travel Market is a travel focused exhibition that is held annually at the Dubai World Trade Centre exhibition hall. This year, the organizers focused the content from the show into five main areas:

  1. Industry updates, trends and social media.
  2. Air travel.
  3. Accommodation and hospitality.
  4. Inbound and outbound travel.
  5. Travel agents and technology.

I found the layout of the stands at the travel show very creative and innovative. Most stands that took up a relatively big space had two story built stands with counters and seating areas where clients can sit and have something to eat or drink while discussing their business or personal inquiries. This made for a more relaxed and casual trade experience, and an unconventional way of networking with the exhibitors.

Honestly speaking, it was my first time to attend the Arabian Travel Market. I think. At least it was my first time since I moved to Dubai a little over three years ago. But walking in the busy exhibition hall – and getting annoyed at people pushing and brushing at me – took me down memory lane to the mid-90’s when I used to visit Dubai with my family. My mom being a highly active business woman in those days used to drag me and my sisters along to every single exhibition that was of interest to her and her beauty salon business. Of course, I didn’t always enjoy attending those shows since I had no personal or business interest back then. I was only a high school student at the time! Now though, I’m a lifestyle blogger who is covering main and interesting events in the city. So attending an exhibition wasn’t such a bad idea.

Back to our topic, the stands at the show represent different countries across all the continents. So you won’t be disappointed no matter what country you have on your hot list of places to see before you die 🙂  There were even some talks held at the Google stands on various technology related topics.

On my list (which is the same list that I’ve had since I was living with my parents and dreaming about traveling alone or with friends) were these three countries:

  1. Turkey
  2. Cyprus
  3. Greece

They are not far away places from the Middle East region. But, I haven’t been to any of them yet. My main concern when approaching the exhibitors at the stands was the visa requirements. I’m a Saudi passport holder and therefore I require a visit visa for most countries. I was told that I would need a European visa for both Greece and Cyprus. But luckily, I know that an advance visa is not required for me to enter Turkey 🙂

Since I have great friends in Turkey, I didn’t bother going to their stand at the show. I did however have a nice chat with the lady at the Cyprus stand who later gifted me a lovely key chain and beaded souvenir (we call it mesbah in Arabic). Please correct me if I’m wrong.

As a last thought, I can confidently say that anywhere you go in this world depends in a great part on the company that you have with you and the times and moments shared with other loving people and friends.  So as I walked down the exhibition hall alone today surrounded by a crowd of strangers, I couldn’t help but remember my Hong Kong trip and the loneliness some of its days brought to me. That’s why, the next time I plan on traveling, I will make sure to share that trip or at least most of it with a friend. I think the majority of you would agree that traveling alone for leisure can be an interesting experience, while a lonely one at the same time.

Where do I plan to travel to next? I think the answer is simple: to where the opportunity takes me. But essentially somewhere with a relaxed pace of life, a white sandy beach, where good friends reside (or live close by), and preferably where a prearranged visit visa is not required 🙂

The Arabian Travel Market is open until the 9th of May this year. Happy travel shopping and happy holidays!