Arabian Travel Market (ATM), has successfully concluded its three-day virtual event last week in Dubai.

The virtual event took place from 1st to 3rd June 2020, which featured comprehensive webinars, live conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking events, one-to-one meetings, and facilitated new connections with wide range of business opportunities. 

The event recorded 18,959 registrations, from 152 countries and included 14,385 pre-scheduled meetings and 23 live webinars, interviews, and pre-recorded roundtables.

On the final day of the event, a panel of tourism experts discussed the opportunities in the region to kick-start sustainable investment in the hospitality sector.

The session, ‘Restructuring to Attract Sustainable Development and Customers in the New World Order’, was moderated by BBC presenter and broadcaster, Rajan Datar, and in collaboration with the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC).

During the opening of the session Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman, ITIC, said, “Who would have imagined three months ago we would be holding our conference in this manner. The world is however quickly waking up. Life post containment is incredibly important and the need for economic recovery is now.”

Discussing Dubai’s future investment opportunities, Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) said that there are a lot of multinational companies with their regional headquarters established in Dubai. He added that Dubai has a lot to offer these businesses in terms of systems and the different free zones giving companies the opportunity and flexibility to be able to practice their business to their comfort.

Gerald Lawless, Ambassador for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), said that this is the time for opportunity and that is something investors will always look for. He continued saying that there are investment opportunities within the industry, particularly in the hotel sector, and the developments and evolution of the industry will be seen over the coming months.

The opportunities in the tourism industry for investment as a byproduct of cheaper real estate was discussed by Nicolas Mayer, EMEA Hospitality & Tourism Center of Excellence Industry Leader, PwC. He highlighted the dynamic primary real estate markets in this region and said that although it has taken a hit, the industry has demonstrated its ability to ramp up again and go beyond what it used to be, making one very confident to invest.

Foreign direct investment was also a hot topic of conversation, particularly from Saudi Arabia when looking at the opportunities afforded by their burgeoning tourism offering.

The Managing Director of Tourism and Quality of Life, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Arabia, Majed AlGhanim, said that in addition to the local and regional buying power in Saudi, they have an attractive offering for investors from overseas with all the of the new sites and destinations coming up in Saudi Arabia. He further added that Saudi Arabia is ready to open and welcome its visitors.

All the content of the ATM Virtual will be accessible from next week on the WTM Global Hub.

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