Travel trade professionals from across the world’s hospitality industry will descend upon Dubai tomorrow (Sunday 22nd) for the opening of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018, the region’s leading travel industry showcase.
Celebrating its 25th year, ATM 2018, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre, will showcase the largest exhibition of regional and global hotel brands in the history of ATM, with hotels comprising 20% of the total show area.
Building on the success of last year’s exhibition, where more than 39,000 industry professionals agreed deals worth US$2.5bn, ATM 2018 will welcome over 2,500 confirmed exhibitors including 65 national pavilions.
More than 100 new exhibitors are set to make their ATM debut this year, including Visit Finland, Guizhou Province of China, Hungarian Tourism Agency Ltd, Polish Tourist Organisation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dubai Municipality Leisure Facilities Department, Yas Experiences, Indigo Airlines, Kurdistan Tourism, Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jakarta City Government Tourism and Culture Office and Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration to name a few.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “We have visitors registered from all corners of the globe covering all segments of the hospitality industry for what promises to be the biggest show yet in the event’s 25-year history.
“The growth and scale of ATM 2018 is testament to the buoyant travel and tourism industry here in the MENA region. With Expo 2020 now just two years away, this growth will undoubtedly continue as Dubai aims to complete 160,000 hotel rooms in time to welcome an additional five million visitors over the course of the event.”
Running until Wednesday 25th April, ATM 2018 has adopted Responsible Tourism – including sustainable travel trends – as its main theme and this will be integrated across all show verticals and activities.
In celebration of ATM’s 25th year, there will be a series of seminar sessions looking back on how tourism has changed and developed in the MENA region over the last quarter of a century and also forecasting what lies ahead for the industry over the next 25 years.
In addition, the show will feature four days of business networking opportunities and advice clinics as well as a full programme of insightful seminar sessions including Halal Tourism, Travel Technology, Aviation, Instagram and Airbnb to name a few.
On the Global Stage, the opening session ‘Future Travel Experiences’ will take place from 1.30pm on Sunday 22nd April, with a high-profile panel including: Christoph Muller, Chief Digital and Innovation officer, Emirates Airline and Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director, Middle East and India Field Operations, Virgin Hyperloop One.
Moderated by broadcaster Richard Dean, the session will explore the impact ultra-modern travel infrastructure will have on the tourism industry in the UAE and wider GCC region over the next decade, as technological advances bring new and improved modes of transport to the market.
Press added: “The tourism industry in the GCC has grown ten-fold and more since we first opened our show doors 25 years ago. Today, we are seeing dozens of ambitious projects being announced across the UAE and wider GCC. From innovative hyperloop train systems and the development of key airports to cities-within-cities, the region has a masterplan for growth and development, and it is vital that these plans are discussed in forums such as the ATM Global Stage 2018.”
Exploring the trillion-dollar Muslim lifestyle and food industry, the Global Stage will host the second ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit, from 11.00am on Tuesday 24th April.
The Global Halal Tourism Summit will discuss the development of an industry that is growing at such a fast rate that it should no longer be deemed a niche. It will also encompass themes that range from inclusivity and investment opportunities to the Muslim traveller of the future.
Also new this year is the ATM Student Conference – ‘Career in Travel’. Taking place on the final day (Wednesday 25th), the programme is aimed at ‘tomorrow’s’ travel professionals and hoteliers.
For the first time, ATM has partnered with the organisers of the International Hotel Investment Conference (IHIF) to present the inaugural Destination Investment panel. Taking place on Monday 23rd April on the ATM Global Stage, the session will discuss what drives investment in travel destinations across the Middle East and neighbouring regions.
Running alongside the main exhibition on the first two days of the show (22-23 April), ILTM Arabia will return following a successful debut at last year’s event. International luxury suppliers and key luxury buyers will connect via one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments and networking opportunities.
Other ATM calendar favourites returning for this year include the Wellness and Spa Lounge, the Travel Agents’ Academy, Buyers’ Club, Digital Influencer Speed Networking and the ultra-innovative Travel Tech Show.