Arabian Travel Market 2022 opens with optimism for sustainable international travel and tourism
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group and Chairman of Dubai World, today officially inaugurated Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022, marking the start of the 29th edition of the Middle East’s largest travel and tourism exhibition.
The event opened its doors 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 including Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Scott Livermore, Chief Economist at Oxford Economics; Jochem-Jam Sleiffer, President for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Hilton; Bilal Kabbani, Industry Head for Travel and Tourism at Google; and Andrew Brown, Regional Director for Europe, Middle East and Oceania at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) explored 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.
Commenting on the ever-increasing importance of environmentally responsible travel and tourism, Issam Kazim said, “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’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, added, “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.
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.