According to data published ahead of the inaugural edition of Travel Forward, which will take place alongside Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020 from April 19-22, the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry is expected to increase its spending on Internet of Things (IoT) technology by 22 per cent by 2022.
With technological advances not only continuously evolving, but indeed accelerating the quality of life, and the introduction of new innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, Virtual Reality (VR) and IoT, Colliers International predicts the Middle East online travel and hospitality market will outpace the global market by 17 per cent over the next three years, with annual sales exceeding $100 billion by 2022.
Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, Danielle Curtis said: “Technology, and the use of technology, is increasingly part of everyday life. Travel, tourism and hospitality are at the very forefront of tech innovation, with many organisations investing huge sums of money to gain competitive advantage, while improving the customer journey and overall experience.
“That is why the introduction of events such as Travel Forward are so important to our sector’s future. Enhancing our existing technology offering, Travel Forward will showcase the very latest innovations from some of the brightest minds in the travel and tourism industry, allowing delegates to test new technologies and applications that could help them boost efficiency and transform their operations,” she added.
With an array of high-profile keynote speakers and world-class technology experts lined up for the Travel Forward Conference Theatre, the event will connect buyers and suppliers from across the Middle East and beyond, as well as facilitating face-to-face interviews and business opportunities. The debut Middle East edition of Travel Forward will cover the full spectrum of industry tools, from emerging innovations such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning, to existing systems such as booking engines, business management software and end-user technology.
In addition to the Travel Forward Conference Theatre, ATM’s own dedicated Travel Tech Theatre will also be returning, enabling exhibitors to conduct live demonstrations for attendees.
The standalone event will also feature ‘The Startup Showcase’ – a forum in which the brightest minds in the travel and hospitality industry will not only introduce and explain the theory behind their innovations but also demonstrate their advantages in real time.
A ‘Startup Competition’ will give suppliers the opportunity to make a six-minute visionary pitch about their latest innovation to a panel of judges. The three most impressive tech startup pitches will then be selected to present to the entire conference theatre, where audience members will vote for a winner who will receive service ‘tokens’ from a company and/or cash and/or mentoring.
Curtis concluded: “The launch of Travel Forward at ATM 2020 not only confirms our commitment to continuously innovating our offering for all industry stakeholders, but also provides a platform for the industry to come together to take advantage of technological advances and stay at the forefront of innovation.”