Attendees from around the world will explore opportunities spanning the full spectrum of travel and tourism – including leisure, business, luxury and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) – at the 31st edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) in the UAE from Monday 6 to Thursday 9 May 2024.

Revenue in the global travel and tourism market is projected to reach $854.7 billion this year, according to research conducted by Statista. The sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.42 per cent during the period 2023-27, passing the trillion-dollar mark within the next four years.

Allied Market Research valued the global business travel market at $689.7 billion in 2021, predicting that the segment would grow to $2.1 trillion by 2031. The global luxury travel market, meanwhile, is on course to pass $440 billion by the end of this decade, according to research from Coherent Market Insights. The MICE segment also continues to make valuable contributions in GCC countries such as the UAE, where DWTC’s most recent Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) Annual Report estimated that the venue’s total economic output – across 63 large-scale events – exceeded $3.5 billion in 2022.

In line with ATM 2024’s theme of ‘Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’, attendees will consider how the segments of leisure, business, luxury and MICE are driving economic growth and sustainable development across destinations, hospitality and aviation, creating fresh opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors from across the Middle East and beyond.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Holidaymakers represent a crucial focus for the Middle East’s travel community, but leisure is only one component of a much bigger picture. Business, luxury and MICE travel are also making significant contributions to economic growth and sustainable development, with Statista predicting a global market volume of more than $1 trillion by 2027.

“It is therefore no surprise that the travel and tourism sector is creating unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors, thousands of whom will showcase their innovations, exchange ideas and forge new partnerships at ATM 2024,” she added.

The travel and tourism sector is on course to contribute $49.18 billion to the UAE economy alone in 2023, according to figures released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). This figure is predicted to reach $64.12 billion by 2033, accounting for an impressive 10.2 per cent of the nation’s GDP.

As the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry continues to mature, it is expected to create new jobs and income for millions of people from across the globe. The UAE Government, for instance, estimates that the country’s travel and tourism market will support 770,000 jobs by 2027. At the same time, the sector is expected to generate ever-increasing revenues for regional economies – Gulf travellers spending approximately 6.5 times more than tourists from other parts of the world, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Sustainable development will represent another key focus at ATM 2024 as the show builds on the net-zero commitments outlined during its milestone 30th edition. Dubai’s Department for Economy and Tourism (DET), ATM’s Destination Partner, will showcase its ongoing efforts to protect the environment and secure a greener and more sustainable future for the emirate. Pioneering initiatives such as Dubai Sustainable Tourism, Dubai Can and Dubai Carbon Calculator – coupled with the city’s hosting of COP28 later this year – will provide the ideal backdrop for ATM attendees looking to identify opportunities related to responsible tourism in the UAE and the wider Middle East.

Thanks to the region’s business-friendly approach to policymaking, tax-free salaries and ongoing visa reforms, GCC countries accounted for five of the top 10 global destinations where expatriates find it easiest to settle, according to a report from InterNations. In Q1 2023, a Magnitt report revealed that Saudi Arabia led the region in venture capital investment for startups, while the UAE topped the list in terms of number of exits. As such, the upcoming edition of ATM will offer the perfect forum for speakers, panellists and audience members to explore opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors operating in the Middle East’s travel and tourism space.

Held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, ATM 2024’s strategic partners include the 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.

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