Slow travel, sustainability and technology highlighted as future global tourism trends

His Highness: The massive interest generated amongst ATM 2024 attendees reaffirms Dubai’s standing as a major destination for tourism and travel in the region, highlighting its role in shaping the future of the industry by bringing together leaders of allied sectors from around the world

S heikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Chairman of Dubai Airports, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, inaugurated Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, the leading global travel and tourism event being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 6-9 May, The record-breaking edition will feature 2,300 exhibitors from 165 countries, with around 41,000 visitors expected to attend the event.

This year’s edition of ATM will mark the event’s largest to date. Having launched in 1994 with 300 exhibitors and 7,000 trade visitors, ATM has now established itself as a globally renowned event integrating all travel sectors and verticals, from MICE to leisure and luxury hospitality, to corporate travel. Exhibitor participation has increased by 26% this year, with growth recorded across all event verticals.

During the opening, Sheikh Ahmed said that the massive interest generated amongst ATM 2024 attendees reaffirms Dubai’s standing as a major destination for tourism and travel in the region, highlighting its role in shaping the future of the industry by bringing together leaders of allied sectors from around the world.

  • Leading global travel and tourism event will host 2,300 exhibitors from 165 countries in its largest edition to date, welcoming some 41,000 attendees
  • Policymakers, industry leaders, and travel professionals will gather at the event to explore the theme ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’
  • The four-day conference agenda of ATM 2024 through 9 May will feature 200 speakers across more than 50 sessions at the DWTC

Sheikh Ahmed later toured various pavilions at the exhibition. He was accompanied by His Excellency Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; His Excellency Hilal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism; Danielle Curtis, Director of the Arabian Travel Market in the Middle East, and several top officials and leaders representing the travel and tourism industry at the regional and global levels.

ATM 2024 will focus on the theme, ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’, spotlighting visionary entrepreneurs in aviation, hotels, hospitality, and public attractions, and underscoring their transformative role in the future of the sector.

A four-day conference agenda will feature 200 speakers across more than 50 sessions on two main stages – the Global Stage and the new Future Stage. The Global Stage will host daily summits exploring entrepreneurship, developing markets, sustainability, and luxury, while the Future Stage will be the home of all innovation[1]related content, covering topics such as AI, NextGen destinations, travel technology, and future trend forecasts.

Travel & tourism experts from across the industry convened at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024 Future Stage this morning to discuss the complexities of navigating the transformation of hospitality.

Slow travel, a movement that encompasses sustainable travel, mindful travel, and low-impact travel, sustainable practices and the use of AI and data to enhance the travel experience emerged as key actionable strategies for futureproofing travel and hospitality businesses in the Middle East region.

The opening session entitled Trends Shaping the Future of Hospitality in the Middle East, brought together senior representatives from IHG Hotels and Resorts, Marriot International, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Banyan Tree Dubai, Mastercard and Silkhaus. The diverse panel provided a broad perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing today’s hospitality industry.

Haitham Mattar, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa and South West Asia, IHG Hotels & Resorts, initiated the hospitality trends session with an insightful discussion on the dynamic transformation within the hospitality landscape.

Addressing a packed venue of trade professionals, Mattar highlighted the importance of how destinations and hotels identify their respective source markets: “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way generations choose travel, with outdoor adventure now taking the No. 1 spot away from “beach, sun and sand”. For the industry to stay afloat in difficult times, the private sector needs to mirror the vision of their respective tourism authorities and work together to ensure appealing spending packages for those markets.”

He also outlined how generational shifts and emerging travel behaviours are giving rise to global travel trends such as slow travel and similarly, with the hospitality industry responsible for 10% of global emissions, consumers are now willing to spend up to 31% more on hospitality companies that execute sustainable practices.

Lastly, he highlighted how innovation in the hospitality industry is triggering the pace of digitalisation. “The future use of technology and AI will be critical for us to get a clear idea of how to enhance consumer preferences. Specifically, travel anxiety is starting to reduce with technology, and the focus should now be firmly on the traveller’s experiences,” he added.

Also speaking about the transforming needs of the market, Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East – Marriott International, echoed Mattar’s sentiments as he highlighted slow holidays, sustainability, the rise of AI and dupe destinations – similar to traditional holiday destinations but closer in geography – as some of the key travel trends for the next three years, according to the “Marriott Bonvoy Travel Trends report 2024 and beyond’

“The insights shared today go beyond theories to offer direct reflections of the transformations we aim to foster through ATM. As we continue to drive innovation and entrepreneurial spirit within the travel industry, sessions like these equip our attendees with the knowledge and tools necessary to lead the hospitality industry forward,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

The 31st edition of ATM, under the theme ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship,’ also hosted the fascinating Global Stage Welcome: The Gateway to Global Insights session, outlining Dubai’s key tourism objectives for the coming years.

Elsewhere today, the Market Insights Summit also took centre stage, exploring the potential of developing markets such as China, India and Latin America as they emerge as key players in global tourism.

Held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, ATM 2024’s strategic partners include the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Destination Partner; Emirates, Official Airline Partner; IHG Hotels & Resorts, Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel, Official DMC Partner.

ATM 2024 concludes on Thursday, 9 May, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

ATM 2024 is part of Arabian Travel Week, a ten-day-long festival of travel and tourism events that take place in Dubai. In addition to ATM, other events that are part of Arabian Travel Week are the ATM Start-up competition, ATM Travel Tech, GBTA Business Travel Forums and Buyer Networking.

ATM 2024 is being held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner, and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.

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