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Arabian Travel Market (ATM), recently hosted the first digital ATM Advisory Board meeting with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism and hospitality industry dominating the discussion.
The Board will continue to provide guidance on industry themes, challenges, growth opportunities and future strategies in the Middle East travel and tourism sector, however, this will now be set against a backdrop of COVID-19 and how the industry can adapt to the ‘new norm’.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The Advisory Board is a cross-section of industry leaders who provide an insight based on firsthand experience of the trends impacting the tourism industry. Their knowledge ensures ATM continues to act as a voice for the industry by providing support and direction during these difficult times.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the travel and tourism industry, like many others, to a halt, with very little indication of when the recovery will begin. It is therefore imperative we continue to listen and understand where we are as an industry, what the future could potentially look like and what we can do to work together to aid the recovery when it comes. ATM continues to play a crucial role in supporting the industry to achieve this.”
The meeting addressed the impact COVID-19 will have on the international trade show arena through discussions focused on the key learnings from businesses during the pandemic and the resulting changes to the industry. It also provided an insight into the ‘new normal’ for the tourism industry, and the approach to dealing with new social distancing measures, reliance on domestic tourism and the impact of airline restrictions.
Three phases of recovery were identified during the discussion. Phase one will focus on domestic travel and the local market, the second phase will be regional travel, and finally the international market when borders begin to open again.
It was also agreed social distancing, health, hygiene, and safety will be prioritised over offerings, for those who want to travel. To that effect, hotels will be subject to full sanitisation and the implementation of complete social distancing in restaurants and at all public facilities.
It is anticipated customers will also demand more information on the way hotels or restaurants support and re-educate staff on, amongst others, the way tables are serviced or the implementation of new house-keeping procedures. This is underscoring a need for an overhaul of the entire marketing, product development and service offerings to change, to give confidence to the consumer.
Recovery was discussed with the overarching consensus indicating this will depend on how the situation evolves, with emphasis placed on listening, market research and insights while maintaining an element of flexibility so the industry can adapt as the situation develops.
To support the industry, the organisers of ATM have announced the launch of ATM Virtual, a three-day event delivering positive business and networking opportunities to the region’s vast travel and tourism community. Taking place from 1-3 June 2020, the event will feature comprehensive webinars, live conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking events, one-to-one meetings, as well as facilitating new connections and offering a wide range of online business opportunities.
Board attendees included:
Al Mohannad Sharafuddin, Founder and Chairman, Arabian Falcon FZ LLC
Chris Newman, Chief Operating Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group
Gregory Fuller, Director, Brand Activation, Brand & Event Marketing Operations, Dubai Tourism
Haitham Mattar, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia
Jeff Strachan, Director, Dubai College of Tourism
John D. Davis, Chief Executive Officer – MENA, Colliers International
John Northen, Executive Director – Hotels Division, NEOM
Mark Willis, Chief Executive Officer – Middle East & Africa, Accor Hotels
Mohamed Awadalla, Chief Executive Officer, TIME Hotels
Mona Faraj, Founder & Managing Director, Insight-Out Consultancy
Mellissa R Pitt- Chalmers, Vice President Global Sales, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, Inc
Pierric Duthoit, Sector Lead Branding – Middle East & North Africa, Google
Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 27th year, continues to be the focal point for the Middle East’s resilient and ever-changing travel and tourism landscape and prides itself on being the hub of all travel and tourism ideas – providing a platform to discuss insights on the ever-changing industry, share innovations and unlock endless business opportunities. While the live show has been postponed to 16-19 May 2021, ATM will keep the industry connected by running ATM Virtual from 1-3 June 2020 featuring webinars, live conference sessions, speed networking events, one-on-one meetings, plus so much more – keeping the conversations going and delivering new connections and business opportunities online. www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com.
Next events: ATM Virtual: Monday 1st to Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Live ATM: Sunday 16th to Wednesday 19th May 2021 – Dubai #IdeasArriveHere
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events business. It combines face-to-face with data and digital tools to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 500 events in almost 30 countries across 43 industry sectors, attracting more than 7 million participants.
Our events, organized by 35 global offices, leverage industry expertise, large data sets and technology to enable our customers to generate billions of dollars of revenues for the economic development of local markets and national economies around the world. Reed Exhibitions is part of RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.reedexhibitions.com
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 20 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf and spa travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions. www.reedtravelexhibitions.com
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises nine leading travel events across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts. london.wtm.com
Next event: Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th November 2020 – London #IdeasArriveHere
WTM Latin America attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about US$374 million of new business deals. Taking place in São Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors, including buyers and travel agents, attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. latinamerica.wtm.com.
Next event: Tuesday 20 October to Thursday 22 October 2020 – São Paulo
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. africa.wtm.com.
Next event: 2021 – Cape Town