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ATM 2021 to open today as new dawn awaits ME tourism sector


Local, regional and international travel and tourism professionals will converge on the Dubai World Trade Centre on Sunday for the opening of the Arabian Travel Market 2021 (ATM) the first major in-person international travel event since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Under the theme of ‘A new dawn for travel & tourism’, the 28th edition of the four-day show which concludes on Wednesday 19 May, has 62 countries being represented on the exhibition floor, such as the UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the US, underscoring the strength of the ATM brand and its international reach.

Picture used for illustrative purpose.

One of the highlights of the first day will be the Tourism for a Brighter Future opening session taking place at 12pm to 1:00pm.  Moderated by Becky Anderson, Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi & Anchor, speakers include Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM); Dr Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC & Former Secretary General United Nations World Tourism organisation (UNWTO); Scott Livermore, Chief Economist of Oxford Economics Middle East, Dubai and Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director, Maldives Tourism Board.

Later in the afternoon, the Tourism Beyond COVID Recovery session will take place, at 2pm to 3pm, and will include key speakers such as Dr Ahmad Bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises for the UAE; Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to the Kingdom of Bahrain and Chairman of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority and Haitham Mattar, Managing Director of India, Middle East & Africa, IHG Hotels and Resorts.

Another key event taking place on the first day is the China Tourism Forum to be held from 4pm to 5pm and will highlight the latest trends of outbound travel from China as well as the best way of meeting such demand. It will feature respected panelists representing both DMOs and Chinese outbound travel trade including  Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to the Kingdom of Bahrain and Chairman of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, Dr Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC & Former Secretary General United Nations World Tourism organisation (UNWTO), Dr Adam Wu, CEO, CBN Travel & MICE and World Travel Online, Sumathi Ramanathan, Vice President – Market Strategy & Sales, Expo 2020 Dubai, Helen Shapovalova, Founder, Pan Ukraine, Alma Au Yeung Corporate Director – Strategic Projects and Partnerships, Emaar and Wang, Founder and MD, High Way Travel & Tourism LLC.

“This year more than any other, we, along with our partners and sponsors, have worked together closely, to enable an inspirational in-person event, that will set the tone for the Middle East travel and tourism industry for the rest of this year,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

“We will be looking to capitalise on the latest trends and opportunities, as well as meeting challenges head-on with innovative solutions – with governments, trade associations, industry professionals and influencers, all working in unison,” she added.

Away from the exhibition floor, a total of 67 conference sessions will take place featuring 145 local, regional and international speakers. Onsite, there is a Global Stage which 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 session.

Other features this year will include Travel Forward at ATM, which has world-class technology experts, providing industry-leading insights about the latest technologies and trends that will undoubtedly shape the future of travel and tourism.

ATM 2021 will once again play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week, a 10-day long festival of travel and tourism events taking place in Dubai and online. In addition to the in-person Arabian Travel Market, other events that are part of Arabian Travel Week include 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.

Commenting on ATM Virtual, Curtis remarked: “This year, for the first time in ATM history, a new hybrid format will mean a virtual ATM running a week after the in-person event – that is one week later, starting Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th May.

“This will complement the in-person event and reach a much 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.

“Including a virtual element to our show is now essential, many industry professionals may not be able to attend in-person every year, particularly this year with social and travel restrictions changing so rapidly around the globe,” she added.

The in-person event will follow all of the Dubai Government’s and DWTC’s health and safety guidelines and will set out to provide a touchless and seamless experience.

The team at DWTC are working hard to ensure that all events run safely, working closely with the ATM team, and have implemented a range of measures including an enhanced cleaning regime, improved air circulation, multiple hand sanitiser stations and of course, safe distancing procedures.

“The health and safety of our colleagues, partners and visitors remains a priority,” said Curtis.


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