ATM opening
Arabian travel market opening. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and CEO of Emirates Group, declared the Arabian Travel Market – the region’s biggest travel and tourism event open. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and CEO of Emirates Group, declared the Arabian Travel Market – the region’s biggest travel and tourism event open.

The event will be a big boost to UAE’s battered tourism industry.

UAE, which relies heavily on tourism, was hit hard last year when the pandemic led to the grounding of flights and international border closures. Thanks to one of the fastest vaccination rollout programmes in the world, the Gulf country has now once again become a hub of choice not just for travelers but also businessmen.

Frequent lockdowns in the UK and Europe have irked business owners and investors and now some of them are looking to shift their base to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“With industry professionals from around the world set to converge in the city this month, we look forward to sharing Dubai’s positive outlook during ATM 2021, while emphasising how crucial it is to always keep the health and safety of travellers at the top of the agenda to ensure tourism growth,” said Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Tourism, during a conference earlier this month.

ATM will feature 67 conference sessions with over 145 local, regional and international speakers. The event will include a hotel industry summit, dedicated buyer forums for Saudi Arabia and China, an International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), as well as an aviation panel and a special session on Gulf-Israeli ties.

The theme of this year’s show is ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’ and the spotlight will be focused on the very latest ‘COVID-19’ news from around the world – vaccine rollouts, the current state of the industry and the outlook for the future.

“ATM has always been an indispensable part of the travel & tourism family, this year even more with the challenges we’ve faced as an industry,” said Mark Kirby, Head of Emaar Hospitality Group.

The event will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, across nine halls. Consistent with the existing density restrictions and social distancing guidelines and regulations, there will be 11,000 people in the halls at any given time.

Several participants

A total of 62 countries are being represented on the exhibition floor this year such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the US.

“This underscores the importance of ATM, connecting destinations with their source markets,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director Middle East, Arabian Travel Market.

This year, a new hybrid format will mean a virtual ATM running a week later to complement and reach a wider audience than ever before.

“It is imperative that we include a virtual element, many industry professionals from around the world, may not be able to attend in-person every year, particularly this year with travel restrictions changing rapidly around the globe,” said Curtis.

“Due to Dubai’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of health and safety and its effective citywide management of the pandemic, it was awarded a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC),” added Curtis

Vaccine effort

Dubai is considered one of the safest cities in the world to visit with a wide range of precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of tourists. Over 10.6 million doses have already been administered in the UAE, which is also a major achievement.

“This important event will play a vital role in showcasing our home and hub, Dubai, as it continues to safely host mega-events,” said Adnan Kazim, Emirates airline’s Chief Commercial Officer.

“Dubai has also become a model for other governments and cities in its response to safeguarding public health through comprehensive health and safety protocols, whilst thoughtfully providing a roadmap for the opening of businesses and protecting its economy for the long-term,” he added.