With the investment opportunities of the rich Gulf countries, it is above all the new place to present technological innovations and projects related to sustainable tourism. As a testament to the recovery in international tourism, the aisles of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) were packed this week at the Dubai Trade Center.
After a truncated 2021 edition due to the Covid, the trade show which opened its doors on May 9 saw its surface area increase by 85% thanks to its 1,500 exhibitors and 112 destinations represented. In fact, the money seems to flow freely with gigantic stands as we have rarely seen at IFTM-Top Resa. Coming from the actors of the Persian Gulf, they take their ease on several floors, embellished with huge video projections at high volume in order to mark the spirits.
Saudi Arabia as guest of honor
Competing in this race for excess: Dubai, the organizer of the show and its company Emirates, which is presenting its new Premium Economy and the future fittings of its B777s. Etihad which lifts the veil on its new Economy class. Qatar Airways, which is launching a code-share with Virgin Australia, and is chomping at the bit to transport visitors to the 2022 Football World Cup… Not to mention Saudi Arabia, guest of honor at this edition of the ATM, which highlights ahead of the Alula destination, headed by the American Phillip Jones, the former CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The other Emirates (Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah…) are not left out, as are certain regional destinations (Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan…) and international destinations, the latter grouped by continents. Very surprising, even shocking, to see a stand from Syria come to promote its tourist sites or what remains of them after more than ten years of war. To a lesser extent, Iraq and Lebanon are also involved.
Accor to represent France
Unlike the destination France which was represented only by the Accor group (but for its brands very established in the Emirates), the Marriott hotels in Paris and Cannes, the Méridien Etoile Paris, and the new department store of La Samaritaine !
The theme of this 29th edition of the show (one version of which was “the Future of international travel and tourism”, was an opportunity for everyone to attend an important program of conferences, to exchange their figures on the resumption of activity for leisure such as business travel (with the strong presence of the GBTA association), to present its latest products and technological innovations.
Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey of Hilton believes “to have returned to the activity levels of 2019”. Bilal Kabbani, head of Google’s Travel & Tourism department, came to explain his vision of the travel market and the projects of his group, swearing “that Google will not become a travel agency but will remain a platform on which Internet users come to book directly. at a service provider to find a price or a product”. A virtual edition of the ATM is also scheduled for May 17 and 18.
The need to engage in sustainable tourism
In this post-Covid world, technological innovations (with ATM Travel Tech) and initiatives in terms of sustainable development were particularly highlighted by experts, professionals and exhibitors: airlines, tour operators, hoteliers, destinations … And especially by Dubai, which had already made it one of the major themes of its Universal Exhibition.
“Through a competition, each year we reward hotels committed to sustainable tourism and which multiply initiatives to reduce the use of water, electricity, plastic…. », Tells me Issam Kazim, the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism, Trade and Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
At the end of Expo 2020, events which totaled nearly 23 million admissions, Dubai is taking advantage of the show to promote its future positioning which aims to be more responsible. “The challenge is no longer to have the biggest tower or the biggest attraction but to improve the quality of life in order to make Dubai the best city in the world to live, work and invest”, he insists. .
Dubai hopes for quick return to 2019’s 16 million tourists
New and future residents who, according to him, will become the best ambassadors of this Emirate with a futuristic skyline. “During the pandemic we have multiplied visas with the Freelance visa for teleworkers, the Retirement visa for retirees and the Gold visa for highly qualified people or those who wish to invest in Dubai”.
Without setting a target, he hopes for a quick return to the 16 million tourists in 2019 and forget the bad figures for 2020 (5.5 million) and 2021 (7.28 million), insufficient to fill the approximately 600 hotels that account now Dubai.
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