Is Slow Travel the Future of Hospitality in the Middle East?
Mokshita P.
10x Industry

Is Slow Travel the Future of Hospitality in the Middle East?

Industry leaders emphasise slow travel, sustainability, and AI integration for resilient Middle East tourism. COVID-19 shifts preferences towards outdoor adventures, driving innovation in the sector.

At the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, experts in travel and tourism gathered to discuss how the hospitality industry is changing. One big topic was slow travel, which includes sustainable, mindful, and low-impact travel. They also talked about using sustainable practices and AI and data to make travel better. These strategies are important for keeping travel and hospitality businesses strong in the Middle East.

The first session, called "Trends Shaping the Future of Hospitality in the Middle East," had speakers from big companies like IHG Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. They talked about the challenges and opportunities in the industry.

Haitham Mattar from IHG Hotels & Resorts started the discussion. He talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what people want from travel. Now, outdoor adventures are more popular than just beach vacations. He said that to keep the industry going during tough times, hotels need to match what tourists want, and work with tourism authorities to make attractive deals.

Mattar also talked about how people's travel habits are changing, like the rise of slow travel. He mentioned that consumers are willing to spend more money on companies that are eco-friendly. He ended by saying that technology and AI are becoming more important in the industry to understand what travellers want and to improve their experiences.

Sandeep Walia from Marriott International agreed with Mattar. He said that slow holidays, sustainability, AI, and destinations similar to popular ones but closer by are big travel trends for the next few years.

Overall, these talks at ATM give us a good idea of where the travel industry is heading. They help people in the industry understand how to make travel better and more sustainable. And this year's ATM theme, 'Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship,' shows that the industry is focused on moving forward and being creative.