(MENAFN - Khaleej Times)
The success of the upcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2021) exhibition will set a strong foundation and pave the way for a safe and secure Expo 2020 Dubai, experts said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the press conference before the opening of ATM 2021, experts from the UAE's travel and hospitality sectors highlighted how Dubai was a true example of a city that has safely reopened after tackling the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The lessons learnt and implemented at the upcoming ATM 2021 exhibition would also send a strong message to the world that the UAE was ready to welcome the world safely when Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors in October this year.
Now in its 28th year, ATM 2021 return to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on May 16-19, 2021. Spread across nine halls, and keeping in mind social distancing guidelines and regulations, there will be 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 in Dubai and online.
'The theme of this year's show is ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism' and the spotlight will be focused on the very latest Covid-19 news from around the world vaccine rollouts, the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds, said Claude Blanc, portfolio director, WTM & IBTM Portfolios.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, said that the decisive way in which Dubai and the UAE have tackled the Covid-19 pandemic has helped to reinforce confidence in the industry. 'A total of 62 countries are being represented on the exhibition floor this year, and the event will feature 67 conference sessions with over 145 local, regional and international speakers overall. 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 and a special session on Gulf-Israeli ties.
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. This year, ATM will also feature a new hybrid format that will mean a virtual ATM running a week later to complement the event.
Mark Kirby, head of Emaar Hospitality Group, also highlighted how the UAE's hospitality sector had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 'There has been a lot that has happened over these past 12 months; we have closed hotels, and we have reopened them. We opened the Address Beach, Rove La Mer, and our Vida in Umm Al Quwain. The pandemic has really taught us how to work together so that every guest that came to our hotels felt extremely comfortable.
Kirby also explained how the group had tackled various challenges and modeled its business plans on what the situation required at the time. 'We focused on our strategy for staycations, and 44 per cent of our business this year has been staycations for visitors from the GCC. We like to believe that 2021 is our year as we look forward to stepping outside of our home, Dubai, to newer opening locations such as Address Fujairah, Vida Bahrain, Address Istanbul, and Rove Marjan Island in Q4 and others in 2022.
He added that Emaar Hospitality Group was monitoring the situation and waiting for more clarity from various partners on Covid-19 passports since they would play a major role when Dubai opened its doors for Expo 2020 Dubai. 'We already have very stringent safety measures in place but we are waiting on further guidelines with regards to Covid-19 passports because, as a hospitality company, we work very closely with DTCM and various airlines to ensure that Dubai is very welcoming and safe.
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