Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023 is ready to welcome the global travel, tourism and hospitality community to the UAE from Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May. The 30th edition of the show will host over 2,000 exhibitors, representatives from more than 150 countries and an anticipated 34,000 attendees.
Taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) in collaboration with the emirate’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), this year’s conference will once again form a central component of the UAE’s annual Arabian Travel Week.
In line with its theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’, ATM 2023 will provide a forum in which participants can forge new connections, share knowledge and showcase innovations with the potential to expedite the global travel sector’s journey towards decarbonisation.
Vasyl Zhygalo, Managing Director of RX Middle East and Portfolio Director of WTM, IBTM and RX, said: “Following the very successful WTM Africa and WTM Latin America earlier this spring it is great to now see the international travel community engage with Arabian Travel Market. We’ve seen a robust increase in exhibitor growth across all show areas and it’s exciting to be able to welcome back our Chinese colleagues after remaining covid restrictions were lifted in the region.”
“With sustainability an ever-increasing consideration for the travel industry, and indeed across the WTM and IBTM event portfolios, it’s never been more important for the sector to interact with ATM 2023’s theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’ and explore the vast array of business trends and opportunities showcased around this topic at the show.”
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, added: “ATM 2023 will provide a platform for a diverse array of public and private-sector speakers, all of whom will offer expert insights into sustainable travel trends, responsible tourism and a host of other industry-critical issues.
“Our opening session, for instance, will see policymakers take to the ATM Global Stage for a ministerial debate on how travel can tackle the climate crisis,” Curtis continued. “Moderated by CNN’s Eleni Giokos, this panel will see His Excellency Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy; His Excellency Makram Mustafa Abdul Karim Al-Qaisi, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan; His Excellency Minister of Tourism Eng. Walid Nassar, Minister of Tourism, Lebanon; and Sukit Mohanty, Chief of the UNDRR for Arab States; come together to explore the ways in which our industry is working towards net zero.”
Exhibitor participation in ATM 2023 has risen by 27% compared to last year’s event, with growth registered across all show sectors. These include regional upticks for the Middle East, representation for which will be 24% larger than in 2022, Europe (17% larger), Asia (15% larger) and Africa (8.5% larger). The event’s Travel Tech and hotels sectors have also witnessed sizeable year-on-year growth, expanding by 62% and 37.5%, respectively.
Chinese exhibitors and travel professionals are making a welcome return to ATM 2023, after the country lifted its Covid-related travel restrictions earlier this year. China became the world’s top source market in 2019, with 155 million tourists spending more than $250 billion overseas, and CNN predicts the nation’s outbound market will recover to around six million travellers per month by the summer of 2023.
Southeast Asia and India will feature prominently at this year’s event too. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Indian nationals spent a record $10 billion on overseas travel during the first nine months of 2022, an increase of nearly 43% compared to pre-Covid figures. Other estimates indicate the number of annual outbound journeys will reach more than 27 million by 2024, with a total value of over $42 billion.
Saudi Arabia will have a considerable presence at ATM 2023. The Kingdom registered more international arrivals than any other Arab nation during the first nine months of last year, welcoming more than 18 million visitors during this period, according to government data. Tourism spending in KSA hit $7.2bn in H1 2022.
To mark its 30th edition, ATM will be unveiling a dedicated sustainability pledge that has been designed to reinforce RX’s commitment to the delivery of sustainable events through the use of environmentally friendly materials, the elimination of single-use plastics and other forward-thinking initiatives. In addition to setting out the show’s journey towards net zero, this pledge will be accompanied by a new playbook, which offers participants a framework within which to mitigate their environmental impact before, during and after the event.
His Excellency, Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “It is indeed fitting that this year’s ATM theme focusses on sustainability to build a better future for tourism. For us, this theme assumes even greater significance as 2023 is UAE’s Year of Sustainability and Dubai will be hosting COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference. Dubai has made significant strides in this area, with strategies to reduce carbon footprint and create a more environmentally conscious tourism industry, aligned with the ambition of our visionary leadership to make Dubai the best city in the world to visit, live, and work in. As momentum continues to accelerate across the global tourism and MICE segments, we welcome the pursuit of a more evolved, collaborative, inclusive and long-term approach to sustainable growth and practices for the industry.”
This year’s show will also feature the inaugural ‘ATM Sustainable Stand Award’, the results of which will be announced as part of the ATM 2023 Best Stand Awards. Entries will be judged according to an extensive range of sustainable criteria, including supplier choice, material usage, operational efficiency, and even what will happen to stands once the exhibition has concluded.
In addition to sustainability, the ATM Global Stage will host a variety of sessions focused on pivotal industry issues, including, but not limited to: hotels and hospitality; aviation and transport; meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE); business travel; investment; responsible tourism; workforce diversification; and emerging segments such as attractions, cruises, wellness and cultural tourism.
The upcoming edition will see the return of the ATM Travel Tech Stage, which will host discussions on how factors such as artificial intelligence, the metaverse, cryptocurrency and big data are impacting the travel sector, while showcasing cutting-edge innovations and solutions with the potential to drive the next generation of sustainable tourism.
ATM 2023 will also feature a Sustainability Hub for the first time in the show’s history. This space will offer a venue for sessions dedicated to the latest sustainable travel trends and innovations, while providing the backdrop for the ATM 2023 Start-up Competition – an event hosted by conference partner Plug and Play, which will see entrepreneurs go head-to-head in a ‘Sustainable Tech Pitch Battle’.
This year’s show will see the return of International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Arabia, which will explore trends and opportunities within the burgeoning field of high-end tourism. In terms of luxury travel priorities, 25% of those living in the UAE are looking for great entertainment, whereas 19% place the biggest emphasis on premium-quality accommodation when booking trips, according to market research published by YouGov.
There will also be sessions from the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
With a wide array of other must-attend events on the agenda, including sessions focused on the key markets of India, China and the GCC, plus a new informal speed networking platform, ATM 2023 will offer something to suit every specialism and interest, not to mention unparalleled networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities.
Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates, said: “As we celebrate 30 years of partnership and commitment at ATM, it’s remarkable to see this event’s evolution and growing prominence on the global stage. We are proud of the role we have played in the growth of ATM and strengthening its mindshare as an industry event, as well as the growth of our home city Dubai, which is at the forefront of global tourism. This year, Emirates will be showcasing our latest products, connecting with our industry partners as well as demonstrating our commitment to minimise our environmental impact and sustainable aviation practices.”
Haitham Mattar, Managing Director of IHG Hotels & Resorts, added: “As the official hotel partner for ATM 2023, we look forward to the events’ momentous 30th edition. It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our wide-ranging portfolio of hotels in the region, introduce new and upcoming hotels and delve further into our new ‘IHG One Rewards’ loyalty offering for both leisure and business travellers. Given the theme of this year’s event, “Working towards Net Zero,” we will also be showcasing our commitments to drive environmental and social change across our estate. Most importantly, we will be focussed on connecting with new and existing partners, suppliers and industry peers to ensure we facilitate greater, collective success for the hospitality sector at large.”
The 30th edition of ATM will take place as part of Arabian Travel Week, a festival of events dedicated to enabling industry professionals from all over the world to collaborate and capitalise on market opportunities through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches and networking events.
In addition to ATM 2023, the ATM Start-up Competition, ATM Travel Tech, ILTM Arabia, GBTA Business Travel Forums, Buyer Speed Networking, the Influencer Networking Event, the Business Traveller Awards and Dubai Food Festival will all take place under the auspices of Arabian Travel Week 2023, which will run from Monday 1 May to Wednesday 10 May across Dubai.
ATM 2023’s strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.