Ministerial and economic figures place climate change at the top of the agenda as ATM 2023 opens
- Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is now in its 30th year
- The travel and tourism industry must adapt to tackle the pressing climate crisis, say experts speaking on the opening day of the exhibition
- Timely discussion takes place just a few months ahead of the UAE hosting COP28
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1 May 2023: The climate crisis was under the spotlight during the opening session of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023 today at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The discussion gathered tourism and economy figureheads from across the Middle East region to address how the travel industry needs to adapt to tackle the issue of climate change and meet current regulations by implementing new sustainable policies, funds and support.
Taking place on the Global Stage at ATM, the discussion was moderated by Eleni Giokos, Anchor and Correspondent CNN, and the prestigious line-up of speakers included Sujit Mohanty, Regional Division for the Arab States, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); Dr Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board; and H.E. Walid Nassar, Minister of Tourism, Lebanon.
According to Sustainable Travel International, tourism is responsible for approximately 8% of global carbon emissions from transport, food and beverage, accommodation and related goods and services. The opening session at ATM looked at the industry’s crucial role in climate change – a particularly pertinent topic as the UAE prepares to host COP28 later this year.
The UNDRR works closely with governments, the private sector and stakeholders across the globe, including 22 Arab nations, to reduce disaster risk. Building a picture of the current situation, Mohanty said, “Globally, in the last 20 years, there have been $2.97 trillion in economic losses due to disasters. Climate change is leading to more frequent and severe climate-related hazards such as floods, heatwaves, cyclones and hurricanes. In turn, the tourism industry loses enormous amounts of money due to these hazards. Therefore the return on investment is clear – invest now to help protect the future.”
Jordan is one of the highest-ranking countries in the region on The Euromonitor Environmental Sustainability Index and responsible tourism is now a key focus for the nation. “Educating both businesses and travellers on how they contribute to the carbon footprint is one of our key priorities. In parallel with education, we are offering incentives to hotels, businesses and other stakeholders to encourage sustainable practices, ” said Dr Arabiyat.
Despite political and economic challenges, Lebanon has attracted a significant number of tourists since 2022. In the summer of last year, Lebanon welcomed two million tourists, a quarter of which were international. As a result of the growth in visitor numbers, rural tourism has seen a boost, an area of tourism which is more sustainable and, therefore, more favourable to the issue of climate change.
Speaking on the growth of rural tourism, H.E. Nassar said, “The guesthouse sector has grown in the last two to three years in Lebanon, which has been a welcome trend. We have now established a syndicate of over 150 guesthouses, encouraging tourism in more remote areas.”
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME for Arabian Travel Market, said: “The issue of climate change has never been more topical or urgent, and the strategies discussed at today’s opening session provided the perfect launchpad for ATM 2023 as we explore the future of sustainable travel under the theme: “Working towards net zero.”
Curtis added: “Over the next three days, we will be hearing from leading voices across diverse segments of the global travel and tourism sector, all aligned on a shared vision to improve the climate change situation and ensure environmental protection.”
Elsewhere on the agenda:
Day one of ATM 2023 featured 20 sessions across the Global Stage, Travel Tech Stage and Sustainability Hub. Other highlights from the day included the Technology: The Enabler of Sustainable Travel session, the funding of sustainability and Enhancing the Customer Experience Through AI. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance also touched on the importance of protecting the locations, livelihoods and communities in which hotels are based, in the Achieving Net Positive Hospitality session..
Looking ahead to day two, John Strickland will host Emirates Returns to Growth in conversation with Sir Timothy Clark, KBE President, Emirates Airline. This discussion will reference topics such as growth in passenger traffic as well as the challenges and opportunities for the airline moving forward.
Over on the Travel Tech stage, day two starts with a digital consumer focus featuring speakers from Euromonitor, TikTok and Amadeus. Green technology is the subject of a discussion between a panel of experts at the Sustainability Hub who will share their views on how technology can help to reduce carbon emissions, water consumption and deal with waste.
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. The show forms an integral part of Arabian Travel Week, a 10-day-long festival of travel and tourism events.
The latest ATM news stories are available at https://hub.wtm.com/category/press/atm-press-releases/.
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About Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 24,000 visitors and hosted over 31,000 participants including 1,600 exhibitors and attendees from 151 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai
Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html
About Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums. https://www.wtm.com/arabian-travel-week/en-gb.html
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RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face-to-face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.rxglobal.com
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World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. 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. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts. Next live event: Monday 6 to 8 November 2023 at ExCel London http://london.wtm.com/
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WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.
Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/
About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.
WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/