Now in its 27th year and working in collaboration with DWTC and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the theme of the show next year will be “A new dawn for travel and tourism,” spotlighting the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds. It will also look at emerging trends and how innovation can drive the industry forward.
Supporting ATM’s theme, a recent Colliers report — MENA Hotel Forecasts, estimates that 2021 will be a year of recovery, based on the assumption that hotel performance across the region is already improving. Major destinations such as Dubai and Cairo are leading the way with estimated full year 2021 occupancy levels of 68 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
They were closely followed by Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat and Amman, with average occupancies of 58 percent, 56 percent, 51 percent, 48 percent, and 45 percent respectively. Overall, average year-on-year growth of the 20 destinations researched was 47 percent.
Prior to the pandemic, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Middle East’s GDP was predicted by the World Travel and Tourism Council, to reach $133.6 billion by 2028. So, given subdued oil prices and a general economic slowdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is clear that the regional economy will be relying on travel and tourism to recover quickly, once a vaccine has been fully developed and rolled out.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “If approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer estimates it can roll out 50 million (COVID-19 vaccine) doses this year and up to 1.3 billion in 2021, enough to vaccinate almost 675 million people. So, we are confident that by May next year, we will be on the threshold of a new dawn for our industry.”
ATM 2021 will also play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week and for the first time, a new hybrid format will mean a virtual ATM running a week later to complement and reach a wider audience than ever before. ATM Virtual, which made its debut earlier this year after ATM 2020 was postponed, proved to be a success attracting 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries.
“It is imperative that we include a virtual element to Arabian Travel Week because many industry professionals from around the world cannot attend the live event in person every year.
It would also be naïve of us to imagine that governments throughout the world will relax their travel restrictions, to the same degree, at the same time and of course reopening airports and flight routes will also vary by country,” said Curtis.