Plans revealed for 'live' Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in 2021

Flagship travel event will be held next year under the theme of A New Dawn for Travel and Tourism

The organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has announced that the 2021 edition of its annual flagship event will take place live at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 16-19.

The show, which was reduced to a virtual event this year due to the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, will be held in collaboration with DWTC and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) under theme of A New Dawn for Travel and Tourism.

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Reed Travel Exhibitions said the spotlight will be thrown onto the current state of the industry and what the future holds. It will also look at the emerging trends and how innovation can drive the industry forward during unprecedented times.

A recent Colliers report estimated that 2021 will be a year of recovery, based on the assumption that hotel performance across the region is already improving.

Major destinations such as Dubai and Cairo are leading the way with estimated full year 2021 occupancy levels of 68 percent and 65 percent respectively, closely followed by Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat and Amman, with average occupancies of 58 percent, 56 percent, 51 percent, 48 percent, and 45 percent.

Overall, average year-on-year growth of the 20 destinations researched was 47 percent.

Prior to the pandemic, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Middle East’s GDP was predicted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to reach $133.6 billion by 2028.

Given subdued oil prices and a general economic slowdown due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is clear that the regional economy will be relying on travel and tourism to recover quickly once a vaccine has been fully developed and rolled out.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Last week, Pfizer released the first reading of its Phase-3 trial data for its Covid-19 vaccine, announcing that it was more than 90% effective in preventing the coronavirus, based on interim data analysis.

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“If approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Pfizer estimates it can roll out 50 million doses this year and up to 1.3 billion in 2021, enough to vaccinate almost 675 million people. So, we are confident that by May next year, we will be on the threshold of a new dawn for our industry.”

ATM 2021 will also play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week and for the first time, a new hybrid format will mean a virtual ATM running a week later to complement and reach a wider audience.

ATM Virtual, which made its debut earlier this year after ATM 2020 was postponed, attracted 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries.

In total, the event facilitated 11,301 prescheduled one-to-one meetings and 23 live video sessions including Q&As and polls which ran alongside the presentations to enable audience interaction. Overall, the webinars had more than 24,000 views over the course of three days.

“It is imperative that we include a virtual element to Arabian Travel Week because many industry professionals from around the world cannot attend the live event in person every year. It would also be naïve of us to imagine that governments throughout the world will relax their travel restrictions, to the same degree, at the same time and of course reopening airports and flight routes will also vary by country,” said Curtis.

She added that the show will strictly adhere to all DWTC’s stringent health and safety guidelines and will set out to provide a touchless and seamless experience.

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed almost 40,000 people to its 2019 event with representation from 150 countries.

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