Future of sustainable tourism tops agenda at ATM 2023

63 sessions, 150 speakers to outline development of sustainable tourism
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Future of sustainable tourism tops agenda at ATM 2023

ATM 2023 will feature more than 2,000 exhibitors and in excess of 34,000 attendees from over 150 countries

Keeping sustainability at the heart of its 2023 edition, the Arabian Travel Market, set to begin in Dubai on May 1, features as many as 63 sessions and 150 speakers addressing the key issue.
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Keeping true to its theme Working Towards Net Zero, the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Market will open on May 1 at the Dubai World Trade Centre with a total of 150 speakers in 63 sessions addressing the biggest challenge-cum-opportunity awaiting the tourism industry, sustainable tourism.

According to a press statement issued by the organisers, the four-day event will feature policymakers and industry figures from around the world outline how they are working to drive decarbonisation within the sector. Ministers from the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Jamaica and Spain will join a host of senior figures from the private sector to showcase sustainable innovations, share knowledge and best practice, and explore opportunities and challenges along the road to net zero, says the statement.

The organisers say that response from exhibitors from all over the world has been extremely enthusiastic as exhibitor participation in ATM 2023 will be 27 pc higher than last year, with growth across all show sectors. These include regional upticks for the Middle East, that has risen by 15.1 pc, Europe seeing a huge 30.9 pc growth, Asia with 18.6 pc more numbers and Africa, with the largest geographic jump of 44.7 pc. Participation by travel technology businesses and hotels has risen by 57.9 pc and 23.5 pc, respectively.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

Danielle Curtis

“We intend to use the 30th edition of ATM to address one of the most significant challenges facing our sector, in line with our theme of Working Towards Net Zero. Increased participation in this year’s show not only reflects the seriousness with which global tourism professionals and policymakers are taking sustainability, but also rising demand for leisure and business travel across the Middle East and beyond,” says Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

ATM 2023 will host an array of regional policymakers, including UAE Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Associate Vice President of International Operations at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) Hoor Al Khaja, Director General of Ajman Department of Tourism Development Mahmood Khaleel Ahmed Al Sayed Alhashmi, Chief of UNDRR for Arab States Sujit Mohanty, Bahrain’s Minister of Tourism Fatima Al Sairafi, Oman’s Minister of Heritage and Tourism Salem bin Mohammed Al Mahrooqi, and Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nayef Al Fayez.

The organisers add that this year’s show will also feature a raft of private-sector leaders, including President of Emirates Tim Clark, VP Loyalty & Partnerships of Etihad Kim Hardaker, Vice President – Global Sustainability Policy & Partnerships at Boeing Brian Moran, Group CEO of Miral Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi and CEO of Diriyah Gate Jerry Inzerillo.

They say that the speakers will address a broad range of sector-critical issues throughout the four days of the event, exploring a variety of approaches, policies and technologies with the potential to shape an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable travel sector for future generations.

“We are delighted that such a diverse selection of ministerial and industry speakers will be joining us for the 30th edition of ATM 2023. We look forward to learning how they are working to achieve net zero within their respective tourism markets, as our industry comes together to showcase the cutting-edge innovations and solutions that are driving the next generation of sustainable travel in the Middle East and beyond,” says Curtis.

In total, ATM 2023 will feature more than 2,000 exhibitors and in excess of 34,000 attendees from over 150 countries. To mark the 30th edition, Curtis and her team will unveil a dedicated sustainability pledge that has been designed to reinforce RX’s commitment to the delivery of sustainable events. In addition to setting out the ATM’s journey towards net zero, this pledge will be supplemented by a new playbook that will offer participants a framework within which to mitigate their environmental impact before, during and after the show, while offering an operational guide for ATM as it works towards net zero by 2030.

The conference will also feature a sustainability at its annual exhibitor awards for the first time. Exhibiting organisations will be recognised based on the extent to which they have considered the environmental impact of their stands, as well as their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

To supplement ATM 2023’s sustainable theme, the Global Stage will host a range of sessions focused on pivotal industry issues such as hotels and hospitality, aviation and transport, MICE and business travel, investment, responsible tourism, workforce diversification, and emerging sectors such as attractions, cruises, wellness and cultural tourism. This year’s show will also see the return of the ATM Travel Tech Stage, which will showcase how cutting-edge innovations including artificial intelligence, the metaverse, cryptocurrency and big data are driving environmentally responsible tourism.

ATM’s brand-new Sustainability Hub, meanwhile, will feature sessions dedicated to the latest sustainable travel trends and innovations. It will also offer the backdrop for the ATM 2023 Start-up Competition, an event hosted by conference partner Plug and Play that will see entrepreneurs go head-to-head in a ‘Sustainable Tech Pitch Battle’.

Additional highlights will include the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Arabia, as well as sessions from the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Other highlights include sessions focused on the key markets of India, China and the GCC, as well as informal speed networking, say the organisers.

The 30th edition of the show aims to explore how innovative sustainable travel trends are likely to evolve, allowing delegates to identify growth strategies within key vertical sectors, while providing a platform for regional experts to explore a sustainable future ahead of COP28, which will take place in November 2023 at Expo City Dubai.

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