The 28th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2021 returned to Dubai in-person on 16 May. The region’s largest travel and tourism showcase runs to 19 May at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
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. He was accompanied by HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, CEO of DWTC and director-general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM); Claude Blanc, WTM & IBTM portfolio director; Danielle Curtis, exhibition director Middle East, ATM and other VIPs who embarked on a tour of the show floor as the four-day event got underway.
Vaccinations, market segmentation and innovations in tech, travel corridors, marketing and product diversification were discussed in the opening sessions on the ATM Global Stage.
HE Helal Saeed Al Marri said: “To see true recovery in travel and tourism, countries need to accept that Covid-19 exists and that we need to learn to live the new Covid-19 normal.
“Since the beginning, Dubai has shown remarkable resilience in dealing with the pandemic. Taking decisive action at the right time, using all the data available to us as a smart city to make decisions, and opening the economy sector by sector, with the right precautions being taken at each stage, has enabled the gradual recovery of the travel and tourism industry and allowed the city to open its borders to both domestic and international travel.
“With the number of Covid-19 cases stabilising, due to high vaccination rates and some of the highest testing rates in the world, we can expect to see further easing of restrictions in Dubai in the near future,” he added.
Other notable speakers on the panel were Dr Taleb Rifai, chairman ITIC & former secretary-general United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO); Scott Livermore, chief economist of Oxford Economics Middle East, Dubai; and Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, managing director, Maldives Tourism Board.
The ATM China Tourism Forum on Day 1 highlighted the continuing importance of China as a major source market for many MENA destinations, and examined the imminent return of inbound tourism from China.
Delegates at the ATM Travel Forward theatre heard from technology experts discussing industry-leading insights about the role of technology in the future of travel.
“Technology plays a critical role in facilitating the restart of global travel and tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 bounce back,” said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market.
“The discussions taking place at ATM Travel Forward highlight the readiness of travel businesses to face the new realities of the industry and provides a valuable forum for identifying the new technologies and innovations essential to restore travel confidence.”
Organisers say this year’s event has 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.
ATM 2021’s show theme is ‘A New Dawn for Travel & Tourism’ and spread across nine halls. Consistent with density restrictions and social distancing guidelines and regulations, there is a maximum of 11,000 people in the halls at any given time.
The event is an integral part of Arabian Travel Week, a 10-day long festival of travel and tourism events taking place in Dubai and online. In addition to the in-person Arabian Travel Market event, the travel events that are part of Arabian Travel Week are: travel technology exhibition Travel Forward, ARIVAL Dubai for the tours and attractions sector, GBTA’s half day virtual business travel conference, ITIC’s Middle East Tourism Investment Summit and regionally focused buyer groups including China, and ATM Virtual, the online edition of the ATM exhibition, which runs 24-26 May. ATM Virtual made its debut last year, attracting 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries.