His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2021 has been officially inaugurated today, marking the start of the 28th edition of the Middle East’s largest travel and tourism exhibition.

“62 countries are taking part participate in the Arabian Travel Market, the largest tourism event in the world since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

“We welcome everyone to Dubai where the world’s tourism recovery process begins; where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel that humanity has passed through over the course of a year and a half,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

The ATM 2021 was opened by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group and Chairman of Dubai World.

Taking place from 16 - 19 May, this year’s event has 1,300 exhibitors from 62 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philip-pines, Thailand, Mexico and the US.

Themed ‘A New Dawn for Travel & Tourism’, ATM 2021’s show is spread across nine halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre. Consistent with existing density restrictions and social distancing guidelines and regulations, there will be a maximum of 11,000 people in the halls at any given time.

The event will once again play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week, a 10-day long festival of travel and tourism events taking place physically in Dubai and online. In addition to the in-person Arabian Travel Market, the travel events that are part of Arabian Travel Week include the travel technology exhibition Travel Forward, ARIVAL Dubai for the tours and attractions sector, GBTA’s half day virtual business travel conference, ITIC’s Middle East Tourism Investment Summit and regionally focused buyer groups including China, in addition to ATM Virtual, the online edition of the ATM exhibition.

This year, for the first time in ATM history, as part of a new hybrid format, a virtual ATM running a week later, from 24-26 May, will help the event reach a wider audience than ever before. ATM Virtual, which made its debut last year, proved to be a resounding success attracting 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries.

Speaking on the occasion of the event’s opening, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed said: “The exceptional response that this year’s in person Arabian Travel Market has received from the international travel and tourism industry is a testimony to its confidence in Dubai’s ability to ensure the highest global benchmarks of health and safety. The organisation of the event is aligned with the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, to provide a focal point for markets across the world to engage in industry dialogue and knowledge exchange. ATM 2021 further raises Dubai’s profile not only as a safe destination for international industry events but also as a key player in shaping the future of the travel and tourism sector in a post-pandemic world.”