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Comment: An insider’s guide to Arabian Travel Market 2022

ATM exhibition director ME Danielle Curtis shares what visitors can look forward to at this year’s show

As international tourism continues to open up and the global travel industry’s recovery gains momentum, it seems to me that ATM 2022 couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time. After what has been an undeniably challenging few years for our sector, this year’s show will shine a spotlight on its future, exploring trends, opportunities and catalysts for change along the road to frictionless travel and transportation, and seamless tourism and hospitality experiences.

Every year, ATM offers an opportunity for the international travel, tourism and hospitality community to gather face-to-face in the UAE, and the 2022 edition will be no exception. Held in conjunction with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as an important part of Arabian Travel Week, this year’s ATM will host 1,500 exhibitors, representatives from 112 destinations, and approximately 20,000 visitors.

delegatesThis year’s exhibition is set to welcome 20,000 visitors

In keeping with our theme of ‘The future of international travel and tourism’, ATM 2022 will feature a huge selection of sessions and events. A diverse range of industry leaders will take to the stage to offer expert insights into current trends and long-term opportunities across the fields of travel, transportation, tourism, hospitality, events, attractions and more.

For example, ATM 2022’s opening session, which will be moderated by CNN’s Eleni Giokos, will feature Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Scott Livermore, Chief Economist at Oxford Economics; and Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President – Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Hilton.

In fact, thanks to the expansion of numerous sector- and region-specific zones, including Travel Tech (380%); hotels (71%); the Middle East (57%); Africa (56%); Asia (50%); and Europe (49%), this year’s show floor will be 85% larger than at ATM 2021.

Our revamped and rebranded ATM Travel Tech event, previously called Travel Forward, has undergone a year-on-year expansion of almost 400%. In addition to the latest travel technology products and services, the ATM Travel Tech Stage will host a series of seminars, debates and presentations focused on the long-term trajectory of tourism in the Middle East and how travel technology will help to drive it forward.

The inaugural ATM Draper-Aladdin Start-up Competition, meanwhile, has generated significant buzz since its launch earlier this year. Held in conjunction with AladdinB2B and Draper Associates, the initiative will see at least 15 travel, tourism and hospitality start-ups pitch for $500,000 of funding – not to mention the opportunity to compete for an additional $500,000 of investment as part of hit TV show, Meet the Drapers.

ARIVALDubai@ATM forum and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) will participate live in Dubai for the first time this year, after joining us remotely in 2021. With its focus on current and future trends for tour operators and attractions, ARIVALDubai@ATM will provide expert advice on growing business through marketing, technology, distribution, thought leadership and executive-level connections. The GBTA, meanwhile, will deliver the latest business travel content, research and education to help drive the business travel sector’s ongoing recovery and longer-term growth.

ATM 2022ATM 2022 will take place from 9 to 12 May

Capitalising on the upward trajectory of regional tourism investment, the ITIC-ATM Middle East Summit – hosted jointly by ATM and the International Tourism Investment Conference (ITIC) – will explore access to project finance in the post-Covid era. Moderated by Sameer Hashmi, Middle East Business Correspondent at BBC News, this event will feature insights from Gerald Lawless, Director of ITIC and WTTC Ambassador; Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism; and Dr Taleb Rifai, Chairman of ITIC and former Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Centred on the theme of ‘The Middle East as a major financial hub for global tourism investments’, the summit will begin with a global economic outlook and an investment ministerial roundtable, followed by one-to-one interviews and panel discussions about air connectivity, the financing of future tourism projects, economic integration of women through the tourism industry, digitisation, and enhancing preparedness to mitigate the impact of future crises.

ATM 2022 will include in-depth buyer forums dedicated to India and Saudi Arabia, enabling attendees to explore trends and potential opportunities within these key markets. The ATM Global Stage will also feature two dedicated sessions for the hotel industry; live interviews with aviation and hospitality experts; debates on the future of sports, city and responsible tourism; digital influencer networking with 50 regional influencers; best stand awards; and the return of ILTM Arabia, with its focus on the lucrative luxury travel market.

What’s more, we will be welcoming speakers from the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Qatar Tourism, not to mention speakers from a selection of regional and international brands such as Etihad, SAUDIA, Qatar Airways, Boeing, Emaar Hospitality Group, Radisson Hotel Group, IHG, Hilton, Amadeus and many others.

And the programme won’t end with our live show. Building on the success of ATM’s hybrid approach during the global pandemic, this year’s in-person event will be followed by the third instalment of ATM Virtual, which will take place from Tuesday 17 to Wednesday 18 May 2022. This component will offer industry professionals the chance to showcase their destinations to a global audience of travel buyers, while providing a platform for travel professionals to continue their all-important one-to-one meetings and view on-demand sessions conducted during the in-person show from the comfort of their homes and offices.

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The upcoming edition of ATM will form part of Arabian Travel Week 2022. Running from Monday 9 May to Thursday 19 May across Dubai, this annual festival will feature a series of events specifically designed to enable travel professionals from all over the world to collaborate and shape the recovery of the Middle East travel industry through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches and networking events.

In short, ATM 2022 and Arabian Travel Week will include sessions, events and networking opportunities that cater to every specialism and taste. My team and I cannot wait to welcome everyone to the UAE from Monday 9 May 2022, and we hope you enjoy the show!

For more information, visit www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html

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