Debut Arabian Travel Market Virtual event gets underway
Travel trade professionals from across the world will gather online tomorrow (Monday, 1st June 2020) for the first day of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Virtual, a newly-launched three-day event for the region’s tourism community.
The debut event, which will run from 1-3 June 2020, will place a focus on emerging trends, opportunities, and the challenges which are directly impacting the travel and tourism industry amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
Over the course of three days, ATM Virtual will feature comprehensive webinars, live conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking events, and one-to-one meetings, as well as facilitating new connections and offering a wide range of online business opportunities.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), said: “Our debut event not only underscores ATM’s mission to support and guide the region’s vast travel and tourism industry during and beyond COVID-19, but it also demonstrates our commitment to delivering positive business and networking opportunities to the entire community, during even the most challenging times.
“With up to four live high-level sessions each day, industry experts will address a range of topics including a road map to recovery, tourism strategies for the future, the hotel landscape in a post-COVID-19 world, and the resilience of the travel industry, as well as exploring the ‘new normal’ that lies ahead, emerging travel technology and sustainability trends.”
Kicking off proceedings, the opening session ‘A Conversation with Sir Tim Clark’ will take place from 11:00am – 12:00pm GST (8.00am – 9.00am BST) on Monday 1st June. The President of Emirates Airline will speak to John Strickland about his time at the airline, its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its plans for the future, as well as unveiling Emirates strategy, including planned fleet and network changes.
Another key event taking place on the first day is ‘OTAs & Distribution for Tours & Attractions post-COVID’. Run by Arival, the global research authority on the tours, activities and attractions sector, this session will focus on the rise of online travel agencies, the re-opening of operations, and what this means for tour and attraction operators across the Middle East.
Meanwhile, other highlights from day one include ‘Communicating and Building Confidence Now’ and ‘The Hotel Landscape in a post-COVID-19 World’ sessions.
Day two will feature The Virtual ATM China Forum. Taking place from 11:00am – 12:00pm GST (8.00 – 9.00am BST), the forum will focus on the recovery of outbound travel from the country and how Chinese travellers have been changing their way of accessing information about foreign destinations.
The packed agenda will also feature the debut Travel Forward Virtual event. Over the course of three days, suppliers and senior executives will be provided with innovative insights of what travel technology has to offer beyond 2020. Addressing the impact of COVID-19, the event will help bridge the gap between uncertainty and resilience during these unprecedented times. Highlights of on the second day will include the following sessions: ‘Catapulting Resilience Through Technology and Analytics’ and ‘Conversational Commerce for Travel Brands.’
Another highlight of our second day will be live webinar ‘Bouncing Back: Tourism Strategies for the Future’ which will see industry experts including Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief of Investment, Strategy and Tourism Marketing for the Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and Keith Tan, CEO, Singapore Tourism discuss how the long-term tourism development strategies implemented by the region’s governments will become a catalyst for recovery when travel patterns adjust to the ‘new norm’.
Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief of Investment, Strategy and Tourism Marketing, Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia, said: “As global travel restrictions ease, our focus is on ensuring that Saudi Arabia is ready to welcome visitors as soon as they are ready to travel. We are collaborating across the public and private sectors, to safeguard the wellbeing of visitors, while continuing to invest in high quality tourism experiences. Saudi Arabia offers endless appeal to the modern traveler. We are optimistic about the future of tourism in the Kingdom and we remain committed to our long-term targets.”
Drawing the debut ATM Virtual to a close, the third and final day, Wednesday 3rd May, will include highlights such as an interview with Wizz Air CEO, Joszef Varadi, the International Travel Investment Conference summit and a webinar titled ‘What are you doing to energise your operational performance?’ which will discuss the power of data analytics in helping to maximise performance.
Also, on the third day will be the Responsible Tourism session, ‘The Implications of Covid-19 for Responsible Hospitality’, with an interview between Harold Goodwin, the WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, and Inge Huijbrechts, Global Senior Vice President Responsible Business and Safety & Security, Radisson Hotel Group. Inge will be speaking about the latest thinking on post-COVID-19 hospitality, managing hotels and the supply chain and about advancing the responsibility agenda when resources are limited.
The Influencers’ Summit will also take place the last day and will include a session entitled ‘Make Your Connection: Influencers as a Key Part of the Marketing Mix – COVID-19 The Road to Recovery,’ featuring a panel of prominent travel and lifestyle influencers including Abdullah al-Jumah, Author, Lawyer and Influencer and Talel al-Rashed, Hospitality and Gastronomy Expert, who will discuss the importance of best practices and how to create relevant, engaging and impactful travel and lifestyle content in the current climate. This will be followed by a special networking event focusing on the Influencer Tourism market.
Meanwhile, a series of independently moderated, pre-recorded on-demand roundtables have been designed to discuss emerging hot topics such as domestic travel, luxury travel trends, corporate travel, the challenges faced by travel providers and agencies and tourism recovery plans.
And, one-to-one pre-scheduled 30-minute meetings between editors, exhibitors, and buyers will also take place, while live video sessions will include Q&As and polls which will be run alongside the presentations to enable audience interaction.
Curtis added: “In addition, a host of hour-long speed networking sessions, between key buyers and exhibitors, will culminate in over 900 5-minute meetings that can then be extended into more in-depth meetings where a business need is identified.
“Targeting exhibitors from this region predominantly, the dedicated networking events will feature one Middle East-focused session per day, as well as sessions for buyers, focused on purchasing European and Asian products, plus a session specifically targeting Chinese buyers.”
As well as addressing the impact the global health pandemic has had on the hospitality industry, the debut ATM Virtual will provide travel professionals with a wealth of information, advice and support to cope with the current crisis and planning for the future.
Arabian Travel Market would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and the Italian Tourist Board for their support of ATM Virtual as Gold Sponsors.