Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration within the Middle East’s luxury travel sector, especially in the UAE where 61% of residents say they are willing to pay a premium for more responsible, eco-friendly, and sustainable tourism experiences. Trends and opportunities within the high-end travel segment will represent key focuses throughout the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) which will run from 1-4 May 2023 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
According to YouGov’s Global Travel & Tourism Whitepaper 2023: Luxury travel post-pandemic, one in 10 consumers has stayed in luxury eco-friendly accommodation during the past three years. This trend is especially prevalent among high-income travellers, whose sustainable luxury hotel stays have increased by 50% during the same period.
The UAE topped global rankings in terms of the value placed on exploring, with almost two-thirds (58%) of respondents reporting that travel has become more important to them since the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of luxury travel priorities, a quarter of those living in the Emirates is looking for great entertainment, whereas 19% place the biggest emphasis on premium-quality accommodation when booking trips.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The Middle East has developed an unparalleled international reputation for luxury tourism, with consumers across the region placing a high value on bespoke, memorable, and environmentally responsible experiences. This is especially pertinent given ATM 2023’s theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Industry leaders will be showcasing the innovative ways in which they are delivering luxury, sustainable travel experiences across the Gulf and beyond.”
In addition to sustainable luxury travel, consumers’ appetite for authentic excursions is also on the rise within this segment. Over half (51%) of affluent tourists have sought more meaningful travel experiences since the pandemic, and more than a quarter (27%) are willing to pay extra for secluded villas and chalets. These figures coincide with growth across the Gulf’s travel industry. By 2028, the value of the UAE’s outbound sector is set to reach $30.5 billion, Saudi Arabia is on course to hit $27 billion, Kuwait is expected to grow to $17 billion, and Qatar is likely to exceed $13 billion.
Premium travel will be placed under the microscope at ATM 2023, as high-profile names from across the sector gather in Dubai to discuss luxury-related trends, challenges, and opportunities during the session entitled, Sustainable Luxury: At What Cost? Moderated by Joe Mortimer, Editor-at-Large at Destinations of the World News, speakers including Amir Golbarg, Senior Vice President Operations – Middle East & Africa at Minor Hotels; Candice D’Cruz, VP Luxury Brands at Marriott International; and Nadia Ibrahim, Member of the Board of Directors at the UN Global Compact, will discuss a range of industry-critical topics, such as the environmental impact of luxury hospitality and the most effective methods of carbon offsetting.
ATM 2023 will also see the return of International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Arabia 2023, a luxury-focused event dedicated to high-end destinations, premium accommodation, and bespoke tourism experiences, which will run on days two and three of the show. The upcoming edition of ILTM Arabia will deliver extensive networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities to participants, as 44 exhibitors engage with a select group of buyers catering to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) across the GCC and broader region.
ATM 2023 will feature an array of exclusive brands from the Middle East’s luxury hospitality segment, including Kerzner International’s Atlantis The Palm and Atlantis The Royal; Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts’ Burj Al Arab; Caesars Palace Dubai; Emaar Hospitality Group; and more. The ILTM Lounge will also host a range of international luxury exhibitors, such as Japan’s Hotel New Otani Tokyo Executive House ZEN; Adaaran Resorts Maldives; Switzerland’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection; France’s Airelles; and The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in the United States, among others.
The 30th edition of ATM will explore the future of sustainable travel in line with its theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the conference programme will explore how innovative sustainable travel trends are likely to evolve, allowing delegates to identify growth strategies within key vertical sectors, while providing a platform for regional experts to explore a sustainable future ahead of COP28, which will take place in November 2023 at Expo City Dubai.
The conference will also feature a sustainability category at its annual exhibitor awards for the first time. Exhibiting organisations will be recognised based on the extent to which they have considered the environmental impact of their stands, as well as their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
ATM 2023 is 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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