Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Virtual, which debuted on June 1-3, 2020, gathered almost 12,000 participants from 140 countries.
The online event focused on the Middle East’s tourism sector, addressed emerging trends, as well as the opportunities and the challenges which are directly impacting the travel industry amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic and beyond.
In total, the event facilitated 11,301 prescheduled one-to-one meetings, of which over 92 per cent were rated four or five, out of five stars. A series of one-to-one pre-scheduled 30-minute meetings between editors, exhibitors, and buyers also took place, and 23 live video sessions included Q&As and polls which ran alongside the presentations to enable audience interaction. Overall, the webinars had more than 24,000 views over the course of three days.
Speaking on the event’s success was exhibition director ME, ATM, Danielle Curtis: “Considering that this was a debut event, the outcome clearly validated our strategy to virtually support and guide the region’s travel and tourism industry. The resilience and determination to get through these challenging times was clearly evident. It also underscored our commitment to organise an event with positive and constructive business insight and opinion, as well as offering networking opportunities across the entire community.”
The highlight of the opening day was an interview with president, Emirates Airline, Sir Tim Clark. During a discussion with aviation expert, John Strickland, Sir Clark predicted a degree of tourism recovery during the course of 2021, and expectations for the carrier to be operating its network prior to COVID-19 by 22/23, 23/24.
Meanwhile, the much anticipated The Virtual ATM China Forum took an in-depth look at the potential of the Chinese outbound leisure market post COVID-19’s closed borders and what overseas destinations and attractions can do to reassure and convince Chinese tourists, of whom 45 per cent are willing to travel overseas, that their destination is safe to visit.
Other issues discussed included, technology, the role of international industry associations and the need for destinations to change their propositions, with a focus on safety, trust, and consumer confidence.
The third and final day saw an interview with CEO, Wizz Air, Joszef Varadi, whereby he confirmed his ambitions for the low-cost carrier’s impending move to operate out of Abu Dhabi, and their plans to have 100 aircrafts serving the GCC markets by 2035.
“As an organiser we have learnt a lot from this virtual experience and to give our seminar programme broader reach and greater inclusivity, we will certainly be looking to integrate more virtual elements into our physical show next year,” Curtis concluded.