Industry experts optimistic about future of international travel and tourism in the Middle East during opening session of Arabian Travel Market 2022

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  • High-profile panellists speaking on the ATM Global Stage said flexibility and sustainability would drive long-term growth in regional travel and tourism
  • Speakers called for more agile, responsive and environmentally focused operations to support the tourism industry’s ongoing post-pandemic recovery
  • Other highlights from the opening day of ATM 2022 included the ARIVALDubai@ATM forum and the ITIC-ATM Ministerial Roundtable

The opening session of the 29th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) – the Middle East’s largest travel and tourism showcase – took place live in Dubai this morning, shining a spotlight on the future of international travel and tourism within the region and beyond.

As the post-pandemic recovery of the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector continues apace, industry leaders took to the ATM Global Stage to explore the latest trends and global movements that are steering the sector forward. Flexibility, responsiveness, sustainability and innovation were all highlighted as catalysts for long-term success.

Moderated by Eleni Giokos, Anchor and Correspondent at CNN, the opening session’s panellists included Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Scott Livermore, Chief Economist at Oxford Economics; Jochem-Jam Sleiffer, President – Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Hilton; Bilal Kabbani, Industry Head – Travel and Tourism at Google; and Andrew Brown, Regional Director – Europe, Middle East and Oceania at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Commenting on the ever-increasing importance of environmentally responsible travel and tourism, Issam Kazim said: “A few years ago, we launched special awards to recognise the efforts that hotels in Dubai are making in advancing sustainability within the emirate’s tourism industry. We have now broadened this with the continued support of our valued stakeholders and partners to ensure that everyone operating in the travel and tourism space is working with sustainability at top of mind. We are also highlighting its importance to residents and visitors, as evident in the launch of the Dubai Can sustainability initiative.

“With the post-pandemic era set to create a highly competitive landscape, our successful tourism recovery strategy is still evolving in keeping to the disruption taking place across global tourism. As we continue to embrace creativity and innovation to stay ahead of the curve, we will remain focused on creating alternative pathways to growth as we strive to achieve the goal of our visionary leadership to make Dubai the world’s most sought-after destination and the best place in the world to live and work in,” Kazim added.

Kazim’s fellow panellists cited examples such as Expo 2020 Dubai as proof of the emirate’s success in following through on its travel and tourism-related commitments, noting that destinations across the Middle East are working hard to mirror this success.

Panellists also noted that domestic travel had rebounded at a faster pace than international travel in the Middle East. Regional trips accounted for 55 percent of demand in 2019, according to Scott Livermore, and this figure grew to more than 80 percent during the segment’s post-Covid peak. While Livermore predicted the proportion of regional trips accounted for by international travel would continue to recover in the future, he also pointed out that the importance of domestic travel was likely to persist.

In addition, speakers highlighted the role of mega-events, such as Expo 2020 Dubai and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, in ensuring tourism in the Middle East continues to recover more rapidly than in other regions. Panellists also noted that, while issues related to the supply chain and oil prices represent challenges for the sector, they remain cautiously optimistic due to high levels of pend-up demand in the wake of the pandemic.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME for Arabian Travel Market, said: “Speakers during our opening session offered a selection of fascinating insights into the future of the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector.

“Industry professionals are going to great lengths to meet customers’ evolving requirements in the wake of the global pandemic, and it was interesting to learn about the steps already taken to ensure the long-term success of travel and tourism in our region.

“We look forward to hearing much more from travel and tourism experts from around the world during the next four days of ATM 2022,” Curtis added.

Elsewhere on the agenda:

Day one of ATM 2022 featured 15 in-depth sessions across the ATM Global Stage and ATM Travel Tech Stage.

In addition to the opening session, other day one highlights included the commencement of the ARIVALDubai@ATM forum; the ITIC-ATM Middle East Summit Ministerial Roundtable; and the first of two sessions focused on the key market of Saudi Arabia.

Day two will commence with valuable insights from a selection of industry leaders on the evolution of the aviation sector (ATM Global Stage). After lunch, Paul Kelly, Managing Partner of marketing and consumer consultancy D/A, will explore how brands can more effectively connect with the Arabic travel audience (ATM Global Stage). Also taking place tomorrow, the inaugural ATM Draper-Aladdin Start-up Competition will see a selection of our region’s most innovative start-ups pitch to our panel of industry experts (ATM Travel Tech Stage).

Now in its 29th year and working in collaboration with Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and the emirate’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), ATM 2022 features 1,500 exhibitors, representatives from 112 global destinations, and an anticipated 20,000 visitors during the course of the four-day event.

For full details of the ATM 2022 programme, including topics, organisers and participant bios, visit https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb/whats-on/atm-conference-programme.html#/sessions.

If you are planning to attend ATM in-person, please feel free to post using the hashtags #ImGoingtoATM and #ATMDubai

To register for ATM 2022, go to https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb/enquire.html.

About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with attendees from more than 110 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai

About Arabian Travel Week

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits. 

https://www.wtm.com/arabian-travel-week/en-gb.html      

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.rxglobal.com

RELX About RELX

RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts. 

WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this its ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation, and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.  In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.

About ATW Connect:  Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.

WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.