The Arabian travel Market returned to Dubai this year with a combination of a digital and physical format. Taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre, this year’s event saw the international hospitality industry come together to look forward to an exciting future.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, CEO and Founder of the Emirates Group and chairman of Dubai World, officially inaugurated the show on 17th Mary, marking the start of the 28th edition of the Middle East’s largest travel and tourism exhibition.
The show’s theme is appropriately named ‘A New Dawn for Travel & Tourism’ and it welcomed 1,300 exhibitors from 62 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the US, underscoring the strength of ATM’s reach.
One of the highlights of the first day was the much anticipated opening session ‘Moderated by Becky Anderson, Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi & Anchor, speakers include HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and other leading industry figureheads from around the world discussed factors delivering the sector’s fast-paced recovery.
The Sector Collaboration on the ATM Global Stage saw speakers share how sectors in recovery and ongoing resilience demand the need to work together for the collective good. The future looks bright as many of the world’s hospitality destinations begin to reopen and there is much to be excited about.
Panellists shared their thoughts on the importance of governments and the private sector, domestically and internationally, working collaboratively to ensure that travel and tourism rebound to boost economic recovery across the Middle East.
‘The ATM Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit: Transformation through tourism’ gave an insightful view into the new strategy being put into place for Saudi Arabia’s people, investors and millions of global travellers, as well as building on successes to date. As Saudi Arabia opens its borders to tourists once again there is much to talk about for the future of the Arab nation’s travel industry.
The ATM Travel Forward explored topics such as the future of entertainment and technology at mega-events, including the World Expo, and how to restore travel trust and confidence to kickstart the industry’s recovery. An expert panel with Boston Consulting Group and Google assembled on stage to discuss how Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) can prepare for the eventual resumption of travel despite the unexpected changes on the horizon.
Commenting on the path forward for DMOs as they navigate a COVD-19 world, Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Developing tourism strategies based on annual planning and predicted travel behaviour has been challenging during this period. ATM is pleased to support destination marketers with this specialist panel hosted by BSG and Google as they share their insights into how consumers’ attitudes toward travel have changed in response to the pandemic and how DMOs can prepare for the eventual resumption of travel.”
China was also a big topic of conversation as the country gears up to welcome international travel once again. Predictions included how travel from China in the UAE to be back to pre-COVID levels by 2023. Dr Adam Wu, CEO, CBN Travel & MICE confirmed that according to China’s civil aviation administration, a total of 105 airlines including 19 Chinese carriers, are now flying to 55 different countries, culminating in 294 round trip flights per week.
The final day of the event saw the highly anticipated aviation summit which saw experts from the region look optimistically at the future of air travel. Regional experts were debating the state of the Middle East aviation industry and a timetable for its recovery, particularly after significant announcements recently by Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, relaxing travel and social restrictions. The conference session entitled ‘Aviation – the key to rebuilding international travel, restoring confidence, global solutions and building business’, saw the panel look positively about the recovering post-COVID-19. Talking about improving consumer confidence, the panel agreed that there had to be some form of global regulation, a collaboration between industry bodies, governments, airports and airlines, that would be easy to understand and universal. Vaccine passports were also discussed as well as the safety of on-board air-conditioning and the question of how private jets fit into the future of the industry moving forward.
This year, for the first time in ATM history, a new hybrid format will mean a virtual ATM running a week later, from 24-26 May, to complement and reach a wider audience than ever before. ATM Virtual, which made its debut last year, proved to be a resounding success attracting 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries.
Stay tuned for more updates as they happen.