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ATM Preview 2018 ATM 2018 Floor plans

Highlights from the event programme The latest exhibitor news Regional round ups and economic trends

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FR O M T H E T O P O F T H E W O R L D T O T H E B E L LY O F T H E S E R P E N T your laughter echoes across this watery world of thunderous thrills and daring drops. Slip and slide down forty-five heart-skipping rides and muster the courage to race inside serpents or enter the eye o f a n e x h i l a r a t i n g To r n a d o .

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UMMER 2018


Discover over 4300 business and leisure destinations in 100 countries FROM LUXURY TO ECONOMY BRANDS SOFITEL DUBAI THE PALM RESORT & SPA





oday’s travellers have become very conscious of their carbon footprint and now look to hotels, tour companies and airlines to do more to protect the environment. This growing trend has meant the entire industry has had to look long and hard at how sustainability and a credible social conscience must drive business strategy. The GCC is one of the fastest growing regional hospitality markets on a global scale, but it is a resource-intensive industry. The UN’s World Tourism Organisation estimates that tourism is responsible for around 5% of global CO2 emissions and accommodation accounts for approximately 20% of emissions from tourism, including energy demand, dining and leisure. In our effort to provide a platform to create awareness of how reducing, reusing and recycling can eliminate waste and protect our environment, we’ve put a spotlight on ‘Responsible Tourism’ at ATM 2018 as the event’s theme. Responsible Tourism will be integrated across all show verticals, planned activities, seminars and advice clinics. Quite what the hospitality industry in the UAE and wider Middle East will look like 25 years from now, nobody knows. It has certainly come a long way since the first ATM was held in 1993. Now it boasts the world’s tallest buildings and tallest hotels, revolutionary transport infrastructure and a host of theme parks and leisure attractions that are the envy of the rest of the world. Celebrating its 25th year, ATM 2018 will host an array of top speakers, while panel sessions will look back at how tourism has evolved in the Middle East over the last quarter of a century, while also forecasting what lies ahead for the industry over the next 25 years. Themes for other seminars during the show will focus on future travel experiences, aviation, halal tourism, Virgin Hyperloop One, Airbnb, travel technology and Instagram to name a few.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market

This year, ATM has partnered with International Hotel Investment Conference (IHIF) organisers to present the inaugural Destination Investment panel. Taking place on the ATM Global Stage, the session will discuss what drives investment in travel destinations across the Middle East and neighbouring regions, with particular focus placed on, who is investing, what assets they are looking for, and what destinations can do to attract investment. Also debuting at this year’s show is the ATM Student Conference – ‘Career in Travel’ a programme aimed at students and graduates who are looking to pursue a career in the travel and tourism industry. Further ATM calendar favourites returning for 2018 include ILTM Arabia, the Digital Influencer Speed Networking, Buyers’ Club and Wellness and Spa Lounge. As always, it only remains for me to extend sincere thanks to you, our exhibitors, sponsors, delegates, speakers and visitors, for your ongoing support of the show over the last 25 years, and your unwavering commitment to tourism throughout the MENA region. Simon Press Senior Exhibition Director Arabian Travel Market











The key companies partnering with ATM 2018

Navigate the show with our essential ATM 2018 map



ATM highlights

All the must visit events during this special 25th edition


Exhibitor news


Seminar schedule

All the latest happenings from show exhibitors

Don’t miss a moment with our ATM 2018 programme






A land of wonders


Responsible for change


The final countdown


Art and soul


On the fast track

China bids to become a leading tourist destination

A look at sustainable tourism throughout the region

As we enter the final stretch before Expo 2020 Dubai, we take an indepth look at the event

Rich cultural credentials are driving tourism in the region

The future of transport is already here

Graciously Dusit by Caring People Arabian grandeur meets Thai charm in Adu Dhabi

Immerse yourself in luxury and discover the award-winning services of our distinctive hotels – where personalised service and first class facilities enrich every experience. China • Egypt • Kenya • Maldives • Philippines • Thailand • U.A.E. • U.S.A. Upcoming destinations: Bahrain • Bhutan • Singapore • Vietnam




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Success story


An exclusive experience

The Arabian Travel Market Show Preview is


Tomorrow’s world

Gateway House 28 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1DN, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 20 8271 2158, Email: arabian. Web:


Generation M

The UAE has gone from strength to strength during the last 25 years

The modern luxury traveller is looking for an experience to remember

We ask the experts on the latest tech advances transforming travel

A new breed of Halal traveller is transforming the lucrative segment


Charting a new course


Forward thinking


Vox pops

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The Gulf’s major aviation players are clearing the air with smart strategies

Dubai Tourism is making great strides to take the emirate into the future

Exhibitors share their highlights in the build-up to the show

© Copyright This show daily is published under licence by Reed Exhibitions Limited. The copyright in the design and content of the show daily is owned by Reed Exhibitions Limited or its licensors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, by any means – electronic, photocopying or otherwise – without the prior permission of Reed Exhibitions Limited. Intellectual Property: Arabian Travel Market, the Arabian Travel Market logo and ATM are trade marks of Reed Exhibitions Limited. RELX Group, the RE symbol, Reed Exhibitions and Reed Travel Exhibitions are trade marks of RELX Group plc.


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s one of the most important events on the UAE’s annual calendar, Arabian Travel Market has been bringing together leading lights in the travel and tourism industry for more than two decades. Offering insights, thought-provoking analysis and stimulating debate, the premier trade show has facilitated countless business deals and acted as an important industry platform since its very first edition in 1993. Now, 25 years later, both the show and its host city Dubai are of course greatly changed, and to mark the milestone, this year’s edition looks back at the successes, with a firm focus on the years to come. Nadege Noblet, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market, says: “ATM 2018 will build on the success of last year’s show, which was the largest edition in its history, showcasing over 2,500 exhibitors and welcoming almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing business deals worth US$2.5 billion over the four days. “In celebration of its 25th year, this year’s show will host a series of seminar sessions looking back on the tourism revolution in the MENA region over the last quarter of a century, and also forecasting what lies ahead for the industry over the next 25 years. “Themes for other seminars will focus on future travel experiences, aviation, entrepreneurship, halal tourism, travel technology and luxury tourism to name just a few.” This year’s show theme is responsible tourism, which encompasses everything from eco-travel to preserving the past, appreciating local culture, and



Marking its 25th edition, Arabian Travel Market celebrates the major milestone, while looking to the future strategies to safeguard the future. A host of special sessions on the Global Stage, as well as workshops and seminars, will delve into the topic to take an in-depth look at a global travel trend that is worth billions of dollars. Picking up the thread across all four days, responsible tourism expert Harold Goodwin will deliver daily sessions on various aspects of the topic. Informative sessions with the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Advisor will look at a variety of aspects, including

Taking Responsibility for Environmental Impacts - Water and Energy on Day Two, and Developing Tourism Skills and Employment Opportunities in Travel & Tourism on Day Four. Meanwhile, in keeping with this year’s special celebration, a 25 year café on the show floor will present images from ATM down the decades, as well as a social media area where attendees can stop for a selfie. Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, adds: “The tourism

Arabian Travel Market 2018 returns for its 25th year this month


Part of the 25th anniversary celebrations is a focus on the decades ahead

industry in the GCC has grown ten-fold and more since we first opened our show doors 25 years ago. “The developments have been incredibly impressive. We have tallest buildings and tallest hotels; revolutionary transport infrastructure; theme parks and leisure attractions that are the envy of the rest of the world. “With a host of top speakers and panel sessions lined up for ATM 2018, we will look back on the tourism revolution in the Middle East over the last quarter of a century and forecast what lies ahead for the industry as a whole.” The opening session on Day One, Future Travel Experiences, takes a look at the travel revolutions predicted in the years ahead, with a particular focus on innovations bound for Dubai. From lightning-speed Hyperloop trains and autonomous vehicles, to smart airport strategies, the high-profile panel will consider how the visitor experience is set to become even more exciting. Leading the prestigious panel is Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director, Middle East and India Field Operations, Virgin Hyperloop One. Next up on the Global Stage, industry experts will continue to focus on the future with, The Hospitality Sector –



“WITH A HOST OF TOP SPEAKERS AND PANEL SESSIONS LINED UP FOR ATM 2018, WE WILL LOOK BACK ON THE TOURISM REVOLUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST OVER THE LAST QUARTER OF A CENTURY AND FORECAST WHAT LIES AHEAD” The Next 25 years, addressing the environmental challenges of carbon, water and waste, the growth of the experiential economy and the demand for a more authentic local experience. Sessions that look ahead continue with the Digital Futures Summit on Day Two, while the future of the region’s cruise

industry comes under the spotlight in a special session on the Global Stage on Day Three of the show. Meanwhile, new for this year, the ATM Student Conference presents a special programme for students and graduates looking to pursue a career in the travel and tourism industry. Taking place at the Showcase Theatre on Day Four, the programme will see guest speakers and travel industry leaders share valuable insights on the industry, as well as a look at potential career paths. Popular elements making a return this year include the Halal Tourism Summit on Day Three, which brought together top players in the segment during its hugely successful debut last year. While industry favourites the Travel Agents Academy and Wellness & Spa pavilion are also set for a return. The hotly contested Best Stand Awards will also be back, with an expert panel of judges seeking out the best stands on the show floor, across five categories including Best Stand Design, Best Stand for Doing Business and Best Stand Personnel. ATM 2018 will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22 to 25

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Al Hokair Group steps up expansion of MENA Hotels & Resorts




s Sharjah’s tourism proposition continues to flourish, a series of new developments is set to take the visitor experience to a new level. Among the attractions in the pipeline over the next few years is the stunning desert resort Al Badayer Oasis and eco-tourism project by Kalba Kingfisher Lodge. While a host of new hotels slated to open include business property Novotel Sharjah Expo and Majlis Grand Mercure Sharjah – Resort & Spa, the first arts and culture themed five-star resort in the emirate. This comes as Sharjah has witnessed stellar growth in its tourism numbers, and a particular rise in European visitors, with

hotels in Sharjah receiving 468,043 guests Raffles Hotel Singapore from Europe in 2017, a 36.1 percent growth on 2016 numbers, accounting for 26 percent of the total guests in the emirate. To welcome the rising visitor numbers to the UAE’s third largest emirate, a major master development plan at Sharjah International Airport is also well under way. The airport saw a 12 percent increase in passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2016, marking its busiest three months ever. It also saw a further 4.31 percent increase in passenger traffic in January alone of 2017 compared to the same period of 2016. Visit stand: ME4110

Swiss-Belhotel set for strong showing at this year’s ATM negotiation of some fabulous new projects in With a number of strategic global and regional various other parts of the region that will be announcements lined up for ATM, Swissannounced during ATM.” Belhotel International is set to showcase the This comes as Swiss-Belhotel announced strength of its development pipeline. a new management agreement with Al The company is set to open 16 new hotels, Salaam International Hotel LLC to operate featuring more than 2,600 rooms in 12 cities Swiss-Belinn Muscat in Oman. Expected to across the Middle East and Africa, including open in 2019, the three-star hotel enjoys an Riyadh, Manama and Makkah. outstanding location in the Seeb area, close to Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Muscat International Airport Operations and Development for the Middle Swiss-Belinn Muscat, with 120 East, Africa and India for Swissstandard rooms, will also offer an allBelhotel International, said: “This day-dining restaurant and, meeting year, marks the 25th anniversary and conference venues. of ATM which is the leading travel Voivenel added: “We are proud and tourism trade exhibition in the to add the Swiss-Belinn Muscat to Middle East and we feel privileged to our superb portfolio of hotels in the be part of it. Middle East. We are also delighted “With six new hotels opening in to expand our footprint in the region, quick succession across the GCC adding exciting new destinations as over the next few months, it is also a we deliver brand excellence.” very significant year for us at SwissBelhotel International. Laurent A. Voivenel Visit stand: HC1130 “In addition, we are in advanced 20


audi-based hospitality and entertainment group Al Hokair has outlined aggressive plans for expansion of MENA Hotels & Resorts across the Middle East that will be unveiled during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. Confirming the group’s presence at the show from April 22-25, Sami Al Hokair, Managing Director Al Hokair Group & MENA Hotels & Resorts, stated: “Al Hokair is a trusted name in hospitality and we are eager to capitalise on the massive opportunity for growth in the industry with our brand MENA Hotels & Resorts. “Focused on high-growth markets, our expansion is driven by long-term sustainability while strengthening our diverse portfolio of brands. Our target is to reach 25 hotels by 2022.” MENA Hotels & Resorts is currently present in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan with seven hotels, boasting 1,015 keys in operation. The brand is expected to double its existing portfolio of hotels by 2019 with a strong development pipeline. Fadi Mazkour, Co-Founder, Regional Director of MENA Hotels & Resorts, said: “MENA Hotels & Resorts is a distinctive collection of properties offering a comprehensive mix of lifestyle brands, from luxury to budget, all reflecting the pulse of Arabian Hospitality delivered by worldclass hoteliers. “We are well placed to serve any market segment with a balanced portfolio of five superb brands that have been developed to respond to the needs of today’s guests. “The service excellence seamlessly translates into every aspect of MENA Hotels & Resorts, ensuring the highest quality and standards at all our hotels. In keeping with the Arabian culture and traditions, all our properties are strictly committed to provide a safe and comfortable environment for families.” Visit stand: HC0570

Dillip Rajakarier CEO Minor Hotel Group


Anantara debuts in South America

Abu Dhabi skyline


s Abu Dhabi’s tourism proposition goes from strength to strength, the emirate witnessed stellar growth in overnight visitors last year. A record 4.875 million people stayed in Abu Dhabi’s 162 hotels and hotel apartments during 2017, meaning the emirate recorded an impressive 9.8 percent year-on-year rise. Figures released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT) for its hospitality sector reveal that the number of guests staying in Abu Dhabi city during the year rose by 10.3 percent to reach 4,295,030 across its 131 hotels and hotel apartments, which provide 26,821 rooms. The Al Ain region recorded a 5.5 percent increase to 450,328 guests across its 20 hotels and the Al Dhafra Region rose 8.2 percent to number 130,180 guests at its 11 hotels and hotel apartments. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, DCT, said: “Record numbers of people are visiting Abu Dhabi year after year as we position ourselves as a distinctive global tourist destination steeped in culture and heritage. “A near double digit year-on-year growth in the number of guests staying in all three regions of the emirate is testament to our drive and determination in helping the emirate evolve into a ‘must-visit’ place on any traveller’s itinerary. “Abu Dhabi’s unique cultural proposition, diverse natural landscapes, cultural and historic sites, dynamic family-leisure entertainment and business opportunities, will help us grow by 11 percent per annum to achieve 8.5 million visitors by 2021.” Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Visitors from China surged year-onyear by 60 percent to number more than 372,000, making it Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market. India is the second largest international source market with more than 360,000 guests. The emirate benefited from new openings such as the debut of Louvre Abu Dhabi in November. Visit stand: ME2115, ME2250



Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is making its first foray into the South American market with the launch of a luxury property in Brazil. Opening this year the Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort will become become the first Asian hotel flag to establish a presence in the popular South American country. Situated on the renovated site of the former Kiaroa Eco-Luxury Resort, the new hotel boasts a beachside setting beside the beautiful Bay of Camamu on the Maraú Peninsula in Bahia, along a spectacular stretch of Atlantic coastline. “We are really thrilled to be announcing our first Anantara in South America in Bahia in Brazil,” read a statement from Anatara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. “The boutique 30-room resort will be the perfect addition to the luxury Anantara portfolio and represents Anantara’s first footprint over the Atlantic Ocean as the first property in the Americas. We are excited to see this property launch in mid 2018 and bring the brand’s authentic luxury to Brazil.” Accommodation at the luxury property sees 30 guest rooms, suites and bungalows with beachfront and garden settings, some with a private pool. The resort also features an expansive shared pool, gym, tennis courts and beach volleyball facilities as well as an Anantara Spa offering signature treatments. Other highlights are based around the resort’s culinary offerings, which will showcase local Bahian flavours as well as contemporary gastronomy. Elegant restaurant dining will be complemented by poolside cafes and beach bar refreshments. Guests can also book the Dining by Design experience and enjoy a meal tailored to their tastes by a personal chef and butler in a venue of their choosing.

Visit stand: ME2115, ME2250



with Global



New catering service by Emirates Palace launches in Abu Dhabi E

mirates Palace has partnered with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to launch the UAE’s premiere catering company - Emirates Palace Catering by Dubai World Trade Centre. The joint venture between the two hospitality giants will provide a fully integrated, turnkey catering enterprise, both for events at the hotel and off-site, ranging across a variety of occasions. Commenting on the partnership, Martin Cramer, Emirates Palace General Manager, said: “Emirates Palace Catering by Dubai World Trade is poised to corner the UAE catering market which, prior to its launch, overlooked traditional Emirati cuisine. “This merger will further

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enable the sharing of our level of hospitality to an even wider audience and allow us to better serve our community with magnificent traditional cuisine. From an elaborate birthday celebration to a wedding or industry reception, we guarantee no event is too large or small for its fresh touch of elegance.” With DWTC’s expertise in providing end-to-end solutions for events of all sizes, there is a hope that the newly launched catering service will allow both brands to tap into the thriving culinary scene in the UAE capital. “At the Dubai World Trade Centre, we continuously look at ways to enhance our delivery, service and holistic solutions to ensure we raise the bar for our offering, benchmarking 1


4:48 PM

(L-R) His Excellency Sultan Dahi Al Hameeri, managing director of EPCO; and Mahir Julfar, senior vice president venue services management, DWTC

ourselves against the best in the world,” added Mahir Julfar, Senior Vice President – Venue Services Management, DWTC. “Our partnership with a celebrated brand like Emirates Palace allows us to hone in to

the capital’s thriving culinary scene, showcasing our marketleading skills, and offering guests events that are most memorable.” Visit stand: ME2115, ME2250


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xcitement is building as Abu Dhabi gets ready to welcome yet another iconic attraction. Opening this summer, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be the world’s first-ever Warner Bros. branded indoor theme park. Home to 29 state-of-the-art exhilarating rides, interactive family friendly attractions and unique live entertainment across six immersive lands, in addition to authentically themed shopping and dining outlets, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is set to be the ultimate destination for the whole family. Park-goers can step into the lands of Cartoon Junction, Dynamite Gulch and Bedrock to encounter the likes of Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones and indulge in the wacky and wonderful side of Warner Bros. Animation. Those in search of action and adventure will have the chance to fight crime alongside beloved DC superheroes TRYP GENERIC AD TRADE 2018.pdf

Rendering of Justice League ride

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi set to thrill this summer including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman who will inhabit the thrilling lands of Gotham City and Metropolis. One of the most highly anticipated lands within the 1.65 million square feet park on Yas Island is Gotham City. Batman fans will have the chance to patrol the night skies 1


alongside The Caped Crusader himself and walk amongst notorious super villains such as the Joker and the Riddler. Equally awe-inspiring is the modern cityscape of Metropolis. Known as The City of Tomorrow, it is protected from villains by DC superheroes like Superman

and other members of the Justice League. Here, budding superheroes will have a chance to make front-page news in The Daily Planet. Cartoon Junction is the land of choice for the young and the young at heart. Amidst the fun and adventure, guests will be able to join Scooby-Doo and the gang look for clues to solve spooky mysteries. Park-goers can also head to the age-old land of Bedrock, home to Fred, Wilma and Pebbles Flintstone, as well as their next-door neighbors, The Rubbles. Guests can embark on a scenic boat ride through town, and chow down on giantsized Bronto Burgers. Not to be missed is Dynamite Gulch, an animated storyland where guests will encounter the famed duo Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, as well as beloved characters such as Marvin The Martian, Yosemite Sam, and The Jetsons. Visit stand: ME2350

4:45 PM

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Seminar Schedule 2018


13.30-14.30 Future Travel Experiences The way in which we ‘travel’ is set to rapidly evolve over the next few years as technological advances bring new modes of transport and in-flight and airport experiences to market. Countries across the Gulf region are leading the way – on the ground and in the air – with the government and leading transportation entities rolling out several exciting initiatives that will transform visitor and resident journeys forever. From lightening-speed Hyperloop train systems and autonomous vehicles to ‘smart airport’ strategies and in-flight innovations that are world-class, the travel experiences of the future will be far from dull, as our high-profile panellists explain. Moderator: Richard Dean, UAE-based business broadcaster and presenter Speakers: Sir Tim Clark KBE, President, Emirates Airline; Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce

Marketing (DCTCM); Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director, Middle East and India Field Operations, Virgin Hyperloop One 15.00-15.45 The Hospitality Sector-the next 25 years 25 years is a longtime in tourism and hospitality, in the 25th year of ATM we have brought together an eminent panel to share with us their views about how the hospitality sector will address the environmental challenges of carbon, water and waste, the growth of the experiential economy and the demand for a more authentic local experience with implications for employment as well as the destination experience. Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor Speakers: H.E. Maitha Saif Majid Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism of Oman; Peter Stubbs, Director of HSE and Compliance, Jumeirah Group; Inge Huijbrechts, Global Vice

President Responsible Business, Radisson Hotel Group, Marjan Faraidooni; Senior Vice President, Legacy Impact and Development, Expo 2020 Dubai, HE. Mr. Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce & Tourism, Kingdom of Bahrain 16.15-17.15 One to One interview with Peter Baumgartner, CEO, Etihad Airways CEO Peter Baumgarten will talk about the challenges and opportunities that the airline has and answers questions about the business strategy. Moderator: Alan Peaford, Editor in Chief, Arabian Aerospace Speakers: Peter Baumgartner, CEO, Etihad Airways


11.00-11.40 Inspiring the explorers - Destination Instagram People who love to travel are always on the lookout for inspiration and ideas. Instagram is where their adventure begins. Instagram is a thriving international community and is the perfect home for people with a passion for 26


traveling. Travel plans are made, shared, and made again on Instagram, making it the perfect place for brands to inspire key audiences. In fact, with 67% of travel lovers discovering inspiration for their next trip on Instagram (1) it helps businesses to reach the right people, at the right time during their travel planning and journey. Terry Kane, Head of Travel at

Facebook and Instagram, will demonstrate the unique opportunities that Instagram has created for businesses and marketers to connect with these highly-engaged audiences. (1)“Instagram Passions” by Coherency (Facebook-commissioned study of 1662 people ages 18-65 in the US), Oct 2016.

Speakers: Terry Kane, Head of Travel, Facebook and Instagram 12.00-13.00 Aviation Panel Hear from experts in the industry talk about trends, strategies and the middle east market and what challenges and opportunities they face. Moderator: Alan Peaford, Editor in Chief, Arabian Aerospace Speakers: Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo (Interglobe Aviation Ltd.); Mr. Jaan Albrecht, CEO, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) 13.20-14.20 The Alternative Accommodation- Driving Growth for destinations or Disruption? The hospitality industry worldwide is feeling the pressure from the vacation homes segment with companies such as Homeaway and Air BnB leading the segment. Despite hoteliers claiming that OTAs are disrupting the ability of hotel companies to drive higher margins, there is an arguments for OTAs that with their global reach, selling power and technology, they bring economic added value to the hospitality industry. The panel session will investigate the alternative accommodation segment with an in-depth discussion on the ability of OTA’s to drive added value to

asset and promote new destinations. Moderator: Sasha Vakulina, Euronews’ Business Editor Speakers: Anna Trushkina, Director for Hotels, Wego; Filippo Sona, Director, Head of Hotels MENA, Colliers International; Flavio Leoni, VP Sales, Distribution & Marketing, AccorHotels Middle East & Egypt, Paula De Keijzer, Senior Director of Market Management Middle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey, The Expedia Group 14.40-15.40 Hotel Landscape of the Future What will the hotel landscape of the future look like? How dominant will the new wave of hip lifestyle properties become and how will the industry adapt to the new types of tourists that are visiting the region? Our panellists discuss how the region’s hospitality industry is evolving, what new hotel brands and concepts will soon arrive in the region, and what advanced technology we could soon see adopted, including AI and robots. The panel will also discuss the importance of sustainable hotel concepts and practices as tomorrow’s guests expect their hotel to be managed responsibly and ethically. Moderator: Gemma Greenwood, Director, Content Inc Speakers: Tom Skyring, Design Director, Wilson Associates; Guido E. De Wilde, Chief Operating Officer-Middle East, Marriott International Inc; Richard Wiegmann, Managing Director & Chief

Commercial Officer EMEA Sabre Hospitality Solutions; John Rogers, SVP, Brand & Franchise Operations, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide; Olivier Harnisch, CEO, Emaar Hospitality Group 16.00-16.45 IHIF at Arabian Travel Market: What Drives Investment in Travel Destinations IHIF @ATM will look at what drives investment in travel destinations in the Middle East and neighbouring regions: who is investing, what assets are they looking for, and what can destinations do to attract investment? What are investors looking for and how to attract them? What destinations or projects are most likely to attract investment? What are the particularities of making a destination investment deal in the Middle East? Speakers: H.E. Maitha Saif Majid Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism of Oman; Tariq Bsharat Strategy & Business Development Director Al Marjan Island, Antony Doucet, Brand Director, Kertern Hospitality 17.00-17.45 Airbnb for everyone How the home sharing platform that once rented airbeds is on track to host 1 billion guests a year by 2028 and what role the Middle East will play in those plans. Speakers: Hadi Moussa, General Manager-ME and Africa and Head of EMEA Business Development, Airbnb


11.00-13.30 ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit The second ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit will build on the success of the inaugural summit, which took place at the 2017 show. Leading travel professionals from the halal and mainstream travel sector will come together to

discuss the development of an industry that is growing at such a fast rate that it should no longer be deemed a ‘niche’. It will also encompass themes that range from inclusivity and investment opportunities to the Muslim traveller of the future.

11.00-11.40 Halal tourism – how far have we come? What is the halal travel and tourism industry now worth, what trends are defining the sector in 2018 and where is the sector heading in the future – what are the growth markets to look out for, including Muslim Millennials? How important is the sector to the Islamic economy regionally and globally and what are the major growth markets and why? What opportunities are there for investment? Our industry analysts answer these questions, providing a market overview and the latest statistics. Moderator: Gemma Greenwood, Director, Content Inc Speakers: Rafi-uddin Shikoh, Managing Director, DinarStandard; Faeez Fadlillah, Founder & CEO, Salam Standard and Tripfez; Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA 11.40-12.15 Halal travel becomes mainstream As the halal travel market blossoms, mainstream travel companies and suppliers and non-Muslim destinations around the world ATM PREVIEW 2018



are adapting their business models to cater to Muslim travellers. We find out why from industry organisations and destinations that are leading the way. Moderator: Gemma Greenwood, Director, Content Inc Speakers: Maggie Bootsman, Manager UAE, Travel Counsellors; Miguel Nieto-Sandoval, Tourism Counsellor, Embassy of Spain - Gulf region; Omar Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Hadith of the Day and Sociable Earth; Tamara Tawil, Market Manager, Geneva Tourism 12.15-12.50 Marketing to the modern Muslim traveller: DinarStandard Find out the latest travel behaviors of Muslim travellers from around the world from leading industry authority, DinarStandard. DinarStandard will share the findings of their latest social media listening analysis, which includes Muslim travel sentiment and popular terminology. Our panelists will share their marketing strategies and programs in successfully reaching the Muslim travel audience. You will also hear from a digital marketer about how to use the power of inbound marketing to attract your audience to your platform/brand/product rather than having to 'buy, bug, or beg your way in' through interruptive ads, poorly targeted billboards etc. Moderator: Reem El Shafaki, Senior Associate, DinarStandard Speakers: Syed Irfan Ajmal, digital marketer; Riyanto Sofyan (B.S.E.E, M.B.A), Chairman Team for Accelerated Development of Halal Tourism, Ministry of Tourism of The Republic of Indonesia; Mohsin Tutla, Chairman, World Hajj & Umrah Convention, Shaji Abu Salih, Area Director - Sales & Business Strategies, Shaza Hotels 12.50-13.30 Muslim travellers of the future What will the Muslim traveller of the future look like? How will this demographic evolve from the Muslim Millennial and what will they demand? Our panellists look into the future and suggest how the industry should planning for the boom in Muslim travel, led by techsavvy nomads. Moderator: Gemma Greenwood, Director, Content Inc Speakers: Nabeel Shariff, Founder, Serendipity Tailormade; Elena Nikolova,; Ikbal Hussain, Founder, Islamic GPS 13.45-14.45 Going solo: how Brexit is likely to affect tourism between the UK and the Middle East The UK is scheduled to divorce from the European Union in March 2019, but there are currently many unanswered questions about



what this will mean for inbound and outbound tourism. Our panel considers how the weak pound and Brexit-related caution has already impacted tourism flows between the UK and Middle East, and discusses how the postBrexit landscape might shape up: how could being outside the EU affect aviation into and out of the UK – including for the Middle East market? What other regulatory changes or challenges are anticipated, and how might economic factors play out? Moderator: Pippa Jacks, Group Editor, TTG Media Speakers: Lisa Mcauley, Managing Director B2B Tour Operations, DNATA Travel Europe; Deidre Wells OBE, Chief Executive, UKinbound; Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board 15.00-16.00 Sea of Change More cruise ships are sailing the seven seas than ever before. There has also been a meteoric rise in demand for river cruising worldwide, plus ports around the globe are growing their cruise infrastructure. There have never been so many opportunities to grow the Middle East’s outbound cruise market, so how can we help the region’s travel trade sell it better? This session looks at cruise market trends, lines that are targeting Middle East travellers with tailored offerings and new technology that is helping agents, operators and wholesalers to sell cruise better than ever before. Moderator: Gemma Greenwood, Director, Content Inc Speakers: Sabrina Badhan, Business Improvement Manager, Imagine Cruising; Lakshmi Durai, CEO, CruiseXplore; Kenny Picken, President and CEO, Traveltek Group Ltd; Mohamed Saeed, General Manager Middle East Royal Caribbean Int’l, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises; Kyriakos ( Kerry ) Anastassiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises and Chairman CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Europe

16.20-17.20 Smart kids: shaping the luxury travel experience for a new generation of customers Let’s face it: kids are getting much more discerning when it comes to luxury travel. As the average age of adult guests staying at the world’s best hotels and resorts falls, more families are checking in, creating a generation of travelling tots and journeying juniors accustomed to enjoying fabulous travel experiences. The increasing numbers of well-heeled youngsters at luxury resorts and their demand for ever more sophisticated experiences means hoteliers have to rethink the way they accommodate junior travellers, from the way they plan their kids’ clubs and teen’s facilities, to the way they design their menus. We’re already seeing major changes to the kids’ club concept at some high-end resorts, with the introduction of transformative travel experiences such educational programmes, health and wellness itineraries, and activities designed to engage and inspire: think DJ lessons with stateof-the-art equipment, or life guard certification on a stretch of pristine beach in Mauritius. But how is the hotel industry preparing for the next wave of discerning junior travellers? How do hotels stay ahead of the game (and the competition) when it comes to providing unforgettable travel experiences for the sons and daughters of their most affluent consumers? In this ATM Global Stage seminar, Destinations of the World News talks to some of the trendsetters in the junior travel sphere – companies whose innovations are held up as examples of best practice across the industry – to find out what’s new in the world of luxury kids’ travel and what comes next Moderator: Joe Mortimer, Editor at large, Destinations of the World News Speakers: Philippe Zuber President and Chief Operating Officer, One&Only Resorts; Simon Casson, President, Hotel Operations, EMEA, Four Seasons; Kate Dicker, Business Development Consultant, Worldwide Kids


Encounter a blend of island luxury with vibrant city life for your seamless vacation. Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort offers all the elements for a great escape – whether for days of seaside romantic bliss or fun-filled family adventure. Stay in spacious rooms or villas that reflect the Thai origins of Anantara, whilst embracing the lavish opulence of this ground-breaking destination. Laze by your private infinity pool or step into the shimmering lagoons straight from your room. Exquisite gastronomy awaits at our fine dining venues. Experience a traditional Turkish Hammam or one of our signature therapies in the soothing surrounds of Anantara Spa. Delight in a coastal paradise overlooking the glittering city lights of Dubai.





13.00-14.00 Branding and Selling on Social Media Social Media can be an important part of your marketing strategy for your brand. Learn how to create a Unique Selling Proposition on Social Media and how to integrate Social Media into a successful driver of sales for your business. Moderator: Shane Dallas, Social Media Specialist, The Travel Camel Speakers: Khaled Absi Halabi, Travel Lead, Solutions Manager, Facebook; Tom Otton, Managing Director, Create Media Group 14.20-15.20 Distribution evolution and latest industry trends The travel industry is evolving driven by high advanced technology infrastructure and high adoption of consumers technologies backed up with an increased appetite for travel. The landscape of the travel industry is transforming, thus the roles of the travel players are changing. This panel addresses the latest industry trends, distribution evolution, digital transformation, retailing and merchandising and how to achieve personalization in order to seamless travel experience. Moderator: Fatin Said, Regional Communications Manager, Sabre Travel Network Middle East Speakers: Jorge Vilches, Senior Vice President, Air Line of Business, Sabre; Muhammad Chbib, Founder & CEO, tajawal; Ross Allan Veitch, CEO and Co-Founder, Wego. 15.40-16.20 Inspire Action: Destination Instagram panel The global travel industry continues to grow, with people’s passion for travel more apparent than ever. And people who love to travel, love Instagram. Those in the Middle East and across the globe seek the chance to be inspired, make

memories, share travel tips and uncover hidden gems. Travel plans are made, shared, and made again on Instagram with 72% of travel lovers in the KSA and UAE on Instagram purchasing a trip abroad in the last year (2). Priya Patel, Brand Development Lead at Instagram, will lead a panel discussion with leading travel marketers on how they stand out for from the crowd in this highly competitive industry. They will share best practices from their campaigns to explain how Instagram’s visual nature has given them the opportunity to drive real results, bring their brands to life and engage their audiences. (2) Global Web Index, Instagram Users, Sadi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, September 2017 Moderator: Priya Patel, Business Development Lead, Instagram Speakers: Charlie Taylor, Digital Director, Jumeirah Group Aida Al Busaidy, Director C@C marketing and Campaigns, Dubai Tourism Michelle Karam, @traveljunkiediary and Founder of Travel with Purpose

16.35-17.35 The most common mistakes in influencer marketing in 2018 (and how to fix them) The most successful influencer marketing campaigns can yield far better results dollarfor-dollar than any other strategy. But, on the other hand, every year a sadly large number of campaigns also fail. Well-run influencer campaigns can create tremendous when run by experienced pros, but newcomers to the field often struggle because the reality of influencer marketing is very different from the image they’ve been fed by the media and marketing hype. A few simple misconceptions about influencer marketing are responsible for the handful of mistakes that cause the vast majority of headaches for the industry year after year. In this talk we’ll dispel the myths, explain the mistakes, and give you the foundation to build a successful influencer strategy. Speakers: Matt Gibson, CEO, UpThink, Outbound President, PTBA; Nicholas Montemaggi, Chief Marketing Officer, iambassador

Moderator: Paul Richer, Senior Partner, Genesys Digital Transformation

Speakers: Frank Reeves, CEO, Avvio; Alex Morriss, Director, Affiliate Partnerships, Expedia Affiliate Network; Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations & Development for Middle East, Africa & India, Swiss-Belhotel International

MONDAY 23RD APRIL 10.30-12.30 ATM and GENESYS Digital Futures Summit Travel distribution has undergone radical change over the last few years. Traditional sales and distribution techniques are fading into obsolescence as we move further and further into a digitally connected world. At this Summit, you will hear from the experts about how distribution is set to change for our two primary products: flights and accommodation. Attend the ATM Genesys Digital Futures Summit to find out how to stay ahead of the game.



10:30 to 11:30 Accommodating the Future Accommodation distribution has become increasingly complex in recent years with hotels seeking to optimise their channel mix between resellers such as the OTAs and their own websites and other outlets. In this seminar you will hear about how accommodation distribution is set to develop in the future.

11:30 to 12:30 The Future of Air Distribution With IATA launching its New Distribution Capability and technologically sophisticated flight aggregators competing with the GDSs,


air distribution is undergoing a period of significant change. At this session, you will learn about the developments that are taking place, the concerns for the industry and how air distribution is set to shake out in the future. Speakers: David Rutnam, Manager, New Distribution Capability Regional Implementation, IATA; Rajeev Kumar, CEO, Mystifly; Jorge Vilches, Senior Vice President, Air Line of Business, Sabre Travel Network 12.45-13.45 What Middle East Businesses can do to capture the attention (and wallets) of Chinese Luxury travelers As the number of Chinese travelers to the Middle East continues to grow, this panel discussion looks at key business who are developing services, and product to successfully attract these sophisticated travelers. Moderator: Chloe Reuter, CEO and Founder, Reuter Communications Speakers: Mark Kirby, General Manager, Armani Hotel Dubai; Zan Wu, CEO, Zanadu

Sponsored by

14.00-14.30 The Middle East Travel Landscape In a dialogue between online and offline experts, Raymond Vrijenhoek from Sabre Travel Network, ME and Antonio Fellino from Dnata Travel will speak about the landscape of the travel industry in the Middle East including both online and offline travel. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities in both industries, the new trends affecting its landscape and what are the best marketing strategies to apply. Speakers: Raymond Vrijenhoek, Vice President, Sabre Travel Network, Middle East & Antonio Fellino, VP, B2C Retail & eCommerce, Dnata 14.45-15.45 Mastering Your Social Media A panel of accomplished Social Media professionals who cover the major Social Media platforms in the Middle East share their tips and strategies for Social Media success. Moderator: Shane Dallas, Social Media Specialist, The Travel Camel Speakers: Sally Prosser, food and travel blogger, mycustardpie; Jessica Edwards, NEST Curator, Wyndham Dubai; Archana Singh, Brand Strategist & Travel Journalist, travelseewrite

16.00-17.30 Leveraging the Power of Content & Influencers In this session the #DTTT will be bringing together a brilliant line-up of leading players in the content marketing field. Recognising that amazing content is your biggest asset in a constantly moving digital space. We’ll be bringing together a set of speakers who are making waves with content and really showing the rest of us how to do it right. Gain perspectives on content and learn about the importance of crafting your destination or travel brand through an engaging story framework which transcends through your digital strategy. Also learn how to match the right influencers and leverage the power of their audiences to activate your brand. Moderator: Nick Hall, Founder, Digital Tourism Think Tank Speakers: Saufeeya Goodson, Fashion Blogger; Sai Mansano, Freelance Social Media Manager; Dominique Audibert, Associate Director, Whalar

TUESDAY 24TH APRIL providers and their tourists on emerging forms of digital technology. From artificial intelligence to advanced mobile apps to the use of virtual and augmented reality, destinations are competing to use the latest digital technologies to bring in and retain tourists. What are the smart tourism trends that are going to matter over the next two to three years? Find out by attending Smart Tourism 2020. Moderator: Paul Richer, Senior Partner, Genesys Digital Transformation Speakers: Faisal Memon, Founder & CEO, Illusions Online; Mr. Ghassan Teffaha, Global Head of Sales & Partnerships, Mobile Amadeus; Karim Saad, Founder & VR Filmmaker, Giga Works

10.30-11.30 The Speed of Change: Private Accommodation & the Middle East Trends in the Middle East travel market are simulating those in Europe, with a few years’ gap. Now an established segment in Europe, private accommodation is emerging in the Middle East. Join travel industry research leader, Phocuswright, and regional private accommodation players for a lively conversation exploring this burgeoning slice of lodging. Get answers to questions such as: Are Middle Eastern travelers asking for this kind of accommodation? How do the region’s serviced apartments perceive these new distribution 32


opportunities? And more! Moderator: Cristina Polo, Market Specialist, Middle East, Phocuswright Inc Speakers: Joost Vermeulen, Regional Manager, Middle East & Africa; Vincent Miccolis, Regional General Manager, MiddleEast, Africa & Turkey Ascott International Management, Dubai; Berthold Trenkel, CEO Fursan Travel 11.45-12.45 Smart Tourism 2020 Smart tourism is the new frontier for destinations. It describes the increasing reliance of tourism destinations, their product

13.00-13.30 Beyond NDC – the evolution of travel retailing and distribution With IATA NDC, the next generation of airline distribution has begun. In the next few years we will see a paradigm shift in flight distribution that will significantly reshape the travel value chain and transform the way billions of consumers shop, book and experience travel. Technology has made entirely new forms of “airline retailing” possible. What will retail offers in the age of NDC look like, and how will business models and customers’ booking behavior change in the future? Find out why this topic is Sabre’s top strategic priority. Speakers: Madhavan Kasthuri, Senior Director, Customer Enablement, Sabre Travel Network, EMEA

Sponsored by

13.45-14.15 GlocalMe - Your Best Travel Mate uCloudlink, established in Hong Kong in 2009 and with offices in China. GlocalMe is the brand of uCloudlink. GlocalMe is the World’s First SIM-Free Portable Wi-Fi hotspot. You will always have local network connection globally, with GlocalMe. Attend this session to find out more. Speakers: Mursaleen Sajid Khan, Sr. Manager and Head of MEA region, uCloudlink Technology Ltd 14.30-16.00 DxO: The Future of the Destination Brand The future DMO is a DxO. Nick Hall will be sharing a vision on how Destination Marketing Organisations are having to shift their focus and truly redefine themselves, as the macro trends which dictate change start to have a profound impact on the entire visitor funnel. Looking at

how the top-of-funnel discovery process has been dramatically disrupted by an explosion of touchpoints, down to the huge importance of content from deep and immersive to short-form, native and distributed. We’ll also look at how the gig economy is disrupting the fundamental ownership and distribution of product and also at how the visitor experience is about to be turned on its head as it becomes increasingly technology driven. If you’re strategising for the future, this is a session you must attend. Moderator: Nick Hall, Founder, Digital Tourism Think Tank Speakers: Alaa Al-Hindi, Director, Digital Marketing,Visit Jordan; Vahid Jacob, Director Digital Marketing, Seychelles Tourism Board; Reza Saeedi, Manager of Business Development, CrowdRiff

16.15-17.15 Successful Social Media Influencer Partnerships Learn from people within the travel industry how to work with influencers, including how to select the best influencers and how influencers have fitted into their online marketing strategy. This session will be filled with many practical and successful examples. Moderator: Shane Dallas, Social Media Specialist, The Travel Camel Speakers: Amit Garg, Director of Sales and Marketing, Al Nahda Hotels and Resorts; Ferry Trinidad, Cluster E-Commerce Manager, The Cove Rotana Resort and Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa; Thuymi Do, Co-Founder, AdventureFaktory

Online video and podcasts are rapidly becoming the most-consumed forms of media on the Internet, but relatively few travel brands have committed to long-term video and podcast strategies. This panel of experienced creators will discuss the wild growth of audio and video consumption, why the fields are still wide open for new voices, how they’ve cultivated their success, and how your brand can get ahead of the curve by creating its own content and collaborating with professional creators. Moderator: Matt Gibson, CEO, UpThink, Outbound President, PBTA; Speakers: Reem A-Hameed,Co-Founder, CollectiveBKP; Omar Tom, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Cause Culture; Thuymi Do, Co-Founder, AdventureFaktory

Increasingly, travel industry players and aggregators rely on automation and managing big data to attract clients and source deals from providers in aviation and hotel space. One of the important integration points that deserve much attention is enabling an end-to-end financial and operational automation to manage FX risk and provide your clients currencies of their choice, find areas to enhance your margins and build trust into your sourcing with flexible payment options. Citi specializes in this space with solutions tailored to travel industry models delivering operational efficiency and improving working capital to give your business global scalability, rapid growth and create investor value. Speakers: Dinesh Daphale, Director and Head of Cash Management (EMEA), Citi Commercial Bank & Piotr Tyminski, Head of Digital (EMEA), Citi Commercial Bank

WEDNESDAY 25TH APRIL 11.00-11.30 Value of Customer Data across the Guest Journey Most hoteliers aren’t taking advantage of the data asset they already have. In this session, Revinate’s Rani Croshal will outline how hotels can benefit from guest data to drive revenue and enhance the guest journey. Through realworld examples and she will showcase how to collect, analyze and interpret data that Revinate provides for hotels to improve business and guest satisfaction results. Hoteliers walk away with actionable insights on how data can help and hurt their business. Speakers: Rani Croshal, Sr. Director Customer Success, Revinate 11.45-12.45 Vlogging And Podcasting Are Taking Over The Internet, And It’s A Great Opportunity For Your Brand

13.00-14.00 Rebooting Travel Industry: Driving Automation and International Growth





13.00-13.30 How smart destinations use big data to attract ideal visitors What defines a smart destination? Come hear how Amadeus for Destinations is using big data combined with unique advertising channels to maximize the economic and social impact of the tourism industry and enabling the next generation of smart destinations. Speakers: Ramon Sanchez, Head of APAC & Reseller Sales, Amadeus 13.45-14.15 How can you capture the Attention of the Chinese Millenial There are 500 million Chinese Millennials today. Chloé Reuter, Founder of Reuter Communications, an award- winning agency in China focusing on luxury communications, shares unique insights into this demographic group and tangible examples of what brands can do to successfully engage and capture their attention. Speakers: Chloe Reuter, Founder, Reuter Communications 14.30-15.00 Service Fees: To charge or not to charge? The remarkable growth of travel e-commerce in the past decade has disrupted travel agencies’ revenues. With 0% commission model on air tickets your margins continue to shrink. Explore what could be your most optimal strategy to fill this gap. And…discover which of your services can be best monetized, and how. Speakers: Tom Kulinski, Customer Solutions Manager, Middle East and North Africa, Amadeus 34


15.15-18.00 ATM & Women in Travel presents Entrepreneurship In Travel 15.15-16.15 Panel: From Start Up to Grown Up: How to successfully develop and grow your enterprise The female start-up world is on fire! According to recent statistics , more than 126 million women entrepreneurs were starting or running new businesses in 67 economies in 2012. In the Middle East, female entrepreneurship is often a success story. So what does it take to thrive

as a female entrepreneur in travel and tourism? Once the company is set up, how do we ensure that it will grow and succeed beyond the early steps? Finance and capital are a big factor in all of this, with women starting businesses that are under-capitalised and around 1/3 of the level of capital enjoyed by their male equivalent, as well as the right support, networking and access to market. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, have a business but want to understand how to go about the next step, join us and our stellar panel of panellists to provide you with inspiration, tips and practical answers to your entrepreneurship questions. Moderator: Alessandra Alonso, Founder,

Women In Travel CIC Speakers: Nada Badran, Founder, Wander With; Genevieve Hathaway, Founder, ArchaeoAdventures; Catherine Ridley, Founder and CEO, Sama Sama Holiday Homes 16.15-17.15 Group Mentoring Sessions For the first time we introduce mentoring to Arabian Travel Market. This year we have

gathered some amazing women and men industry professionals to act as your mentors! We are offering group mentoring sessions on pre-agreed topics of relevance to today’s women in travel that you will be able to book in advance to access 2 to 3 mentors per table as well as fellow mentees. Topics may include: Entrepreneurship, Female leadership, Work and Career, Personal and Professional Development. The mentoring is on a first come and first served basis.

17.15-18.00 Networking Reception The event will conclude with some great networking. Refreshments will be available and we will continue developing the conversations, finding the inspiration and building this amazing international community of women.

Speakers: Davide Antonioli, Senior Sales Manager, Amadeus

we’re once again pleased to partner with ATM and give the industry the latest data and most eye-opening new trends. Moderator: Susie Ellis, Chairman & CEO Global Wellness Institute Speakers: Wissam Malaeb, Owner, State of One; Laura Kohlhase, Owner, State of One; Vyara Tosheva, Wellness Manager, The Retreat Palm Dubai; Dr. Grace Ravindran, Naturopathic Doctor, The Retreat Palm Dubai; Master Du, Warrior Monk,Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy; Faten Telidji, Guest Service Supervisor, Sofitel The Palm; Dr. Maria Encarnacion Ridao Alonso, Medical Director, Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre; Zarine Dadachanji, Facilitator for Wellness, Wellbeing and Happiness, UAE; Sreela Sreeja Raveendran, Wellness Coach, The Retreat Palm Dubai; Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK & Europe, Caribbean Tourism Organisation; Stephan Wagner, Director of Spa & Wellness, Madinat Jumeirah Dubai, UAE; Sharon Barcock, Director Spa & Fitness Operations & Development MEA Global Wellness, Hilton; Dr. Abhishek Jain, Vice President, business development and operations-SE Asia, India and ME, WTS International; Laura Kay Brown, Spa Manager, Fairmont UAE; Lorena Lustenberger, Sales Executive, Burgenstock HotelsSwitzerland

MONDAY 23RD APRIL 10.30-11.15 Swipe Right! Making Brilliant Connections with Your Mobile Travelers So you have a travel app, now what? From getting the download, initial onboarding and discovery to continuous nurturing and engagement, learn what it takes to keep travellers addicted to your app. The presenter will share essential practices for securing active users and creating compelling in-app, push and social media campaigns. Speakers: Ghassan Teffaha, Global Head of Sales & Partnerships, Amadeus Mobile 11.30-12.15 Taking Responsibility for Environmental Impacts-Water and Energy Since the first UN conference on the Human Environment in 1972 there has been a great deal of talk about sustainability. There are some major initiatives in the Middle East where people are taking responsibility and showing leadership in addressing the challenges of reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are demanding the government and businesses report their successes progress - is this an opportunity for MENA countries to get credit for their achievements? Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor Speakers: Dina Mustafa, Head of Sustainability Operations, Sustainability, expo2020; Aaron McGrath, General Manager, Six Senses Zighy Bay; Iftikhar Hamdani, Cluster General Manager, Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman, Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman and Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche 12.45-13.15 A world without money: how the cashless revolution is turning payments into profit In November 2016, India removed 85% of all cash from circulation; Australian branches of Citibank no longer have any money in them at all. Around the world, countries are replacing coins and notes with bits and bytes, driving a revolution in payments technology. Davide Antonioli, an expert in financial technology, provides an overview of this trend and what it means for travel agencies looking to turn payments into profit.

13.30-14.15 Future Trends in Hotels Industry At the era of technology explosion, and changing travelers’ interests and preferences, hotel Industry had to cope with the fast pace and be ahead of the game globally. Competition is fierce, and hospitality services are no longer limited to certain customer profile. In this presentation, speaker will focus on the future changes in the hotel industry and how it is expanding to attract more travelers, providing global exciting cases. Speakers: Engy Naguib, Consulting Manager, Euromonitor International 14.30-17.30 The Wellness Playground: Experience Wellness Travel Trends 2018 Wellness travel is now a mainstream and an increasingly competitive and creative market. In today’s world, all travelers care deeply about their wellness. So, understanding the shifting wellness travel landscape is an absolute must in order to truly understand travel in general, and the future in particular. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has the most up-to-date research about travel, spa and wellness – and




TUESDAY 24TH APRIL 10.30-11.15 Responding to the evolving regional traveler Travelers are increasingly using technology to plan their trips and navigate their destinations, 83% of travelers used technology to plan their breaks in 2017 compared to 78% in 2015. Travelers are also evolving in who they travel with, how often, and even how they want to pay. Executives from the travel industry discuss the latest trends in traveler preferences and practical ways that industry players are adapting to meet the evolving needs of the regional traveler. Visa - ATM Payments Technology Partner Moderator: Moderator: Jagruti Mistry, Director – Regional Corporate Communications (CEMEA), Visa Speakers: Mohammed Ismaeel, SVP Marketing (CEMEA), Visa; Shaf Butt, Director of Marketing for Dubai & MEASA, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, Muhammad Chbib, Founder & CEO, Tajawal 11.30-12.15 The Commercial and Socio-cultural advantages of the Experiential Economy Over the last ten year there has been substantial growth in demand for experiences, increasingly consumers are looking for experience for money. Very few hotels are destinations in their own right, leisure travellers are looking for experiences which they cannot have in their own country. Those experiences may be international sporting events, theme parks or performances but equally valuable are those experiences of the local culture, environment and way of life. It is these experiences of local culture, food and wildlife which extend the length of stay and create local economic benefits. Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor



UNDERSTANDING THE LATEST 2018 GLOBAL WELLNESS TRENDS Tuesday 24th April – 4pm – 5pm Wellness Lounge, Hall 1 Want to know the very newest and latest trends in the world of health and wellness travel? Please join me to learn about the exciting – and in some cases surprising – opportunities that are emerging. You will not only get up-to-speed, but you will be ahead of the conversations globally. Transformative Wellness Travel The First 1,000 Days The Wellness Kitchen Getting our “Clean Air Act” Together Extreme Wellness Wellness Meets Happiness A New Feminist Wellness

Speakers: Ahmed Alrayyes, Chief Commercial Officer, DXB Entertainments; Alaa AlShroogi, Director - Visitor Enhancement, Visitor Experience, expo2020; Tamara Withers, Corporate Sustainability, Senior Manager, Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF); Nada Badran, Founder, Wander With 12.45-13.15 I think therefore I merchandise Let’s take a short walk down the merchandizing memory lane to figure out where we are now and how we got here. Then, let’s peek into the future. Understand how current trends in customer and supplier behaviors (and yours!) have an unparalleled potential to shape your travel agency business. Speakers: Maria Malerba, Merchandising Sales & Adoption, Amadeus

13.30-14.30 TTN Travel Agents Competition 20 slide, 20 seconds, 20 questions. Aimed at travel agents, destinations will be showcased through Pecha Kucha style presentations followed by a 20 question quiz with prizes up for grabs. Moderator: Zamir Uddin, Presentologist, Audience Alive Speakers: Tereza Matějková, Head of Trade Fairs, Czech Republic National Tourism Board; Rafael Soler, Market Manager GCC, The Bicester Village Shopping Collection

14.45-15.15 The Changing relationship between Hotels and OTAs The strength of the OTA in distribution and marketing, plus all the technology tools available to hoteliers and Expedia Powered technology.

Speakers: Paula De Keijzer, Senior Director of Market Management Middle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey, the Expedia group 15.45-16.15 Next Generation- Travel Automatisation Let next level Travel Automation help your travel business get a robust kick off to save money and time, with our latest travel technology software solutions which can compete with the market and give the best return on investment. Step ahead to understand, TicketingBARCODE system benefits where barcodes eliminate the possibility of human error. Along with that, it takes you to the next level to save cost and avoid losses. Join gigantic tour suppliers within the travel industry who are already using our predefined barcode system. Be a part of our Activity Barcode Scanner launch, a proficient Barcode scanner app. It doesn’t take more than minutes to master, a simple process of installing and scanning Barcodes with much more to come including a concept like Bedallocator, Smart Tour Coordinator App which will be launched soon!. Speakers: Vinod Kumar Kelwani, CEO, Technoheaven Consultancy Pvt Ltd. 16.30-17.00 INPLASS - Solution for Hotel Guests Comfort Presenting and Demonstrating INPLASS solution. Speakers: Rafeeque Mohamed, Managing Director, INPLASS 17.15-17.45 The Benefits of Digital Transformation Control, Visibility and Compliance Travel and expenses (T&E) is often the second

or third-largest area of controllable spend – yet many organisations are still using outdated tools and processes. In this session, we will discuss T&E reimagined, capture all travel itineraries and gain complete visibility into booked expenses versus actual spending by integrating every part of your travel ecosystem.

Moderator: Shehab Shoukr, Managing Director, MENA, SAP Concur Speakers: Ellen Trotochaud, Vice President, Global Business Development, Travel Channel; Darren Foster, Sr. Alliance Manager EMEA, SAP Concur

10.15-11.15 ATM Career in Travel-How to gain a career in the industry Hear from leading professionals on how to make it or break it in the industry and their individual experiences. Moderator: Sarakshi Rai, Online Editor, Middle East Hotelier Speakers: Abdo Basmaji, Travel Counsellor; Alessandro Cabella, Area General Manager, Jumeirah Group, Fathuma Hamzi, Cluster Director of Human Resources, Radisson Blu

incentive to move away from their communities to the cities. This panel composed of educators and trainers and employers will focus on training the next generation to make travel, tourism and hospitality their career - and how it can be made attractive to young people and their parents. Moderator: Chris Warren, ICRT Australia Speakers: Aline Barhouche, Area Director Human Resources for Middle-East, Turkey and Africa, Radisson Hotels; Koray Genckul, Senior Director Human Resources MEA & Turkey, Hilton; Heidi van der Watt, Director Better Tourism Africa; Samir Arora, General Manager, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel


11.30-12.15 Developing Tourism Skills and Employment Opportunities in Travel & Tourism The MENA countries have growing populations and large numbers of young people looking for meaningful and well-paid employment. The travel and tourism sector offers a wide range of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people. There are many opportunities in rural areas where the sector can create worthwhile employment for young people removing an

12.30-13.30 ATM Career in Travel-How to create your own job in the travel and tourism industry Hear from leading entrepreneurs in the industry who will inspire with their journey to success. Moderator: Eddie Taylor, Editor, Arabian Business Speakers: Rana Dababneh, Founder, Pomalo travel; Heba Bin Redha, Co-founder of Emirati Kashtas ATM PREVIEW 2018



A land of wonders With China bidding to become a mustvisit destination, this year’s show will feature a host of exhibitors promoting the hugely diverse country

Macao skyline




ith wildly different extremes in dialect, climate and terrain, the People’s Republic of China truly feels like several nations rolled into one. This means there is a plethora of unique experiences to be enjoyed such as journeying along the Silk Road, visiting the Terracotta Army or exploring Forbidden City in Beijing. Home to stunning scenery that boasts sapphire lakes, majestic mountains, forests and never-ending deserts, the vast country also has 14,000 kilometres of coastline to be discovered. Sitting alongside these natural attractions are a mix of historical sites and modern-day wonders, with the Great Wall of China and the Shanghai Tower skyscraper both stunning feats of engineering. With so much to explore, deciding

which region to visit is far from simple. Fortunately at this year’s ATM there will be exhibitors from numerous destinations across China, all of which will provide an insight into their unique offering. SHANGHAI The country’s biggest city and the most populous in the world with more than 24 million residents, Shanghai attracted 8.7 million overseas visitors in 2017. This figure is expected to increase in the coming years as the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration look to attract more leisure and business visitors. The huge metropolis is home to the second tallest building in the world, famous dining outlets and sprawling shopping centres. There are 27 Michelin starred restaurants in Shanghai and a host of pop-up boutiques, bustling markets and vintage shops, as well as the huge malls that stock no end of luxury goods. But Shanghai is not just a modern hub full of skyscrapers, there are several cultural centres where visitors can also learn about its past. The newly opened Shanghai History Museum is the first to comprehensively reflect the entire history of the city dating back more than 6,000 years, while the Yuz Museum is housed in an old airplane hanger and highlights

The Longmen Grottoes in Henan

Huangguoshu – the largest waterfall in Guizhou

Zhaoxing Doing Zai ancient town in Guizhou

VISIT US: Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration Stand: AS2054 Macao Government Tourism Office Stand: AS2275

The Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai

contemporary artwork. Fortunately navigating the city is easy thanks to an impressive public transport system that includes a metro and the only inter-city subway in the world. The high-speed train network also makes it simple to reach other destinations within the country. GUIZHOU Located in the southwest of China, this relatively small province is still twice as big as Belgium and has roughly the same population as Canada. Home to idyllic landscapes and peaceful old towns, it is one of the county’s most diverse regions. With 97 percent of the province covered with mountains, hills and rivers, there is a natural beauty to Guizhou. This can be

Guizhou Province of China Stand: AS2090

seen in the many stunning waterfalls that dot the landscape, with Huangguoshu the largest at 80 metres high and 100 metres wide. The Malinghe group of waterfalls are equally spectacular as they cascade into a narrow gorge that can be accessed via a footpath or a glass elevator. Additionally, Qingyan Ancient Town is a fantastic place for visitors to learn about ancient Chinese culture, while Zhaoxing Dong Zhai is a charming village that has several examples of unique local architecture. HENAN Widely recognised as the place where Chinese civilisation originated thanks to more than 3,000 years of recorded history, this centrally located province is

home to the country’s oldest surviving Buddhist temple and one of the country’s most astonishing collections of Buddhist carvings. The Longmen Grottoes once featured more than 100,000 images and statues of Buddha and his disciples, though many have since been stolen. Fortunately the area is now protected after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular attractions in the region. The same can be said for the Shaolin Temple that dates back 1,500 years and is the legendary institution where the martial art and Buddhism found an unlikely alliance. Here you can watch the monks perform a 30-minute kung fu show and explore the expansive grounds. Less developed than other regions in China, Henan is the perfect place to explore the country’s past with the region also home to the walled town of Kaīfēng and the 1000-year-old craft of woodblock printing in Zhūxiān. The White Horse Temple, meanwhile, was the first Buddhist temple in the country and dates back to AD 68. MACAO A Special Administrative Region of China, Macao combines old-world charm with modern attractions and is just 75 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport. Once a popular trading post on routes between Europe and Asia, the Portuguese influence can be seen in everything from the stunning architecture to the varied cuisine. One of the most vibrant destinations in Asia, the city is perhaps best known for its luxurious resorts and the towering 338-metre Macau Tower. Here you can dine in the revolving restaurant and relax in the Observation Lounge, while the more adventurous can bungee jump or ‘walk in the sky’ via the outer perimeter that encircles the tower. Away from the glittering resorts, the Historic Centre of Macao is a popular destination for tourists hoping to learn more about the city’s heritage. Consisting of 30 buildings and monuments of both Chinese and Portuguese origin, the area features temples, mansions and colourful streets. However, the most iconic venue is the Ruins of St Paul’s, the façade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei that was largely destroyed by a fire in 1835. Within the city visitors will also discover 19 Michelin star restaurants, world-class theatrical productions and everything from designer malls to street markets. While the high-end hotels provide a wealth of options for those seeking stylish lounges, scenic terraces and relaxing spas.





CHANGE As sustainable tourism takes on even more prominence around the globe, key players in the region are making strides towards lasting change




ast year, governments and destinations worldwide were reminded they could no longer put responsible tourism on the back burner. Declared the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’ by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the initiative brought tourism industry stakeholders globally together to “promote the contribution of tourism to shape a better future for people and the planet”, according to former Secretary General, Taleb Rifai. The campaign turned the spotlight on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 - which include sustainable economic growth, social inclusiveness, poverty reduction and


resource efficiency. And as this year’s Arabian Travel Market’s main theme, the important issue is now also once again in the spotlight. Some of the Middle East’s most prominent destinations have started addressing responsible tourism, which is sure to impact the success of their respective offerings going forward. From reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to preserving culture, generating jobs and leaving an economic legacy for generations to come, their responsible tourism strategies are wide ranging. For example, the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative, under the umbrella of Dubai Tourism, aims to position the emirate as a world-leading sustainable tourism destination and commercial hub, aligned with national priorities from Expo 2020 Dubai to the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. Harold Goodwin, Responsible Tourism Advisor for the World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio, including ATM, notes: “The emirate acknowledges that its goal of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020 comes with the added responsibility of ensuring future generations are still able to enjoy the benefits of sustainable tourism development. “Dubai understands that sustainability is a good business practice - by reducing costs and leading to the more efficient management of resources. “It reduces harmful business practices, increases the economic life of assets and ensures the next generation has sufficient resources to sustain healthy livelihoods,” he explains. Sustainability is also a key theme for Expo 2020 Dubai, with a focus on “doing more with less and preserving and protecting our environment for future generations. Goodwin says: “Climate change remains one of the most significant challenges facing our species and expo provides an opportunity to trigger new thinking about ‘Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’ (the three expo sub themes) for long-term effect in the region and the wider world.” Expo’s Sustainability Pavilion, a future icon currently under construction, is designed to be one of the most selfsustaining buildings in the region, producing much of its energy and water requirements through solar panels and recycling water, among other methods. Post event, it will become a Children and Science Centre in expo’s legacy development District 2020, but it is by no means the only structure in the 4.38 kilometre-squared expo site with impressive sustainability credentials. The target set by expo is to achieve at



least the LEED Gold certification for all permanent buildings – which will form the core area of District 2020 – and ensure half of its electricity will be garnered from renewable sources. As arguably the most advanced tourism destination in the Middle East, it is no wonder the UAE is trailblazing sustainable practices. However, neighbouring Saudi Arabia, while less vocal about its achievements, has been recognised by the UNTWO as a pioneer in sustainable tourism for development, led by HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin

Sustainable tourism is a priority for the UNWTO with special sessions dedicated to the subject




THE BIG PICTURE Why urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity are major threats to tourism URBANISATION AND TOURISM go hand in hand as it increases connectivity between destinations, but if uncontrolled or poorly managed, can cause air and noise pollution and drain natural resources, according to PwC’s ‘Global Megatrends and their impact on the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry’ report. CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESOURCE SCARCITY are pressing issues for the Middle East. In addition to water scarcity, the region is vulnerable to hot summers, and governments need to implement critical control measures such as a sustainability roadmap with clear targets and mitigation strategies, says PwC. “There also needs to be a strong contribution from key players across the tourism value chain,” says PwC, citing government authorities, meteorological departments, developers, hotel operators and tourists as key stakeholders.





Abdulaziz, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). “Prince Sultan has been able to develop the society’s concepts about tourism. He focused on the primary issue that a country should be first for its people and then for its visitors. People who do not enjoy its country, cannot appreciate its value, or estimate their wealth and capabilities,”explains UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai. Meanwhile, HRH Prince Sultan says the SCTH involves Saudi citizens as major partners and advisers. Sustainable development is a crucial component of Saudi’s National Tourism Development Strategy, National Transformation Programme (NTP) 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030. HRH Prince Sultan explains: “The transformation that took place in our country happened from the top to the bottom, and for SCTH, the citizen was the top target.” The overarching goal within Saudi’s sustainable strategy is to create a tourism sector that is economically, socially, culturally and environmentally feasible and sustainable, while guided by Islamic principles and values. Both Vision 2030 and the NTP 2020 focus on the tourism and heritage sector and include the development of domestic tourism, which creates business, jobs and investment opportunities – all

The Sustainability Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be a beacon for responsible tourism in the region

Liberitis explita voluptae. Nequisite plis etur? Netum fugitias quisqua tinctiorro incii


part of the Kingdom’s transformation programme designed to reduce dependence on oil revenue. Many SCTH tourism initiatives focus on culture and heritage, with the SCTH recently announcing more than US$213 million worth of investment in new projects of this nature. They range from the establishment of new museums to enhancing archaeological and heritage sites, which fall under the framework of HM King Salman’s programme for cultural heritage – an initiative that now spans more than 230 projects related to antiquities, museums, sites of Islamic history, urban heritage, handicrafts and more. DON’T MISS The Hospitality Sector - the next 25 years ATM Global Stage, Day 1, 15:00-15:54 Taking responsability for environmental impacts Showcase Theatre, Day 2, 11.30-12.15 The commercial and socio-cultural advantages of experiential economy Showcase Theatre, Day 3, 11.30-12.15

“Yes, most do,” says sustainable tourism expert Christopher Warren, “but sustainability means different things to different people and its relevance varies according to the individual’s reason for travel. As business travellers, parent, partner and friend, you might consider experiences from a different economic, social and environmental aspect.” For Warren, most people care about sustainability “but are not always presented with responsible options that help them to apply those values”. Many are also unaware of the impact their travel plans have on the environment or community or wrongly assume their travel or accommodation provider has taken responsible action. Warren is piloting My Green Butler (, which provides tourists with sustainability tourism information. It is currently being tested for sustainable tourism outcomes with the impact measured by Griffith Institute for Tourism in Australia where Warren lectures.

While Saudi has set out a robust blueprint for sustainable tourism for development, some societal imbalances need to be addressed, as they do elsewhere across MENA. “The region needs to use tourism to further the development of human rights and gender equality through its employment practices, developing community tourism designed to empower women and fostering meaningful exchanges between tourists and local people,” argues Jeremy Smith, author of the new book, Transforming Travel realising the potential of sustainable tourism. “I’d like to believe that going forward, we will also see greater transparency and moves towards a more honest calculation of tourism’s impact on the environment - in particular its carbon costs.”




THE FINAL COUNTDOWN As the journey to Expo 2020 Dubai gathers pace, we take an indepth look at the role the mega-event will play in the evolution of the emirate


s Expo 2020 Dubai looms large with preparations well underway, efforts are intensifying to ensure the landmark event leaves a meaningful, long-lasting and multi-layered impact on the emirate and beyond. Both leisure and business tourism in the emirate are set to skyrocket as an immediate boost comes in the six months of the event itself. Up to 25 million visitors are expected to attend the expo, which welcomes its first visitors on October 20, 2020 and comes to a close on April 10, 2021. Seventy percent of attendees are predicted to come from outside the UAE, which will mark the highest ever percentage of external visitors for an expo. With a plan very much focused on providing a lasting framework for the city, the emirate is set to benefit from refreshed infrastructure, sleek and ultra-modern event spaces at the expo site in



Dubai South, and a major boost to the emirate’s international profile. To ensure that legacy, painstaking planning is feeding into everything from laying the foundations of the venues themselves, to ensuring the right connections are in place throughout the region and beyond.

BUILDING AN EXPO Preparations began as soon as Dubai won the right to host the event in 2013, beating competitors including Sao Paulo in Brazil and Yekaterinburg in Russia. After the announcement was made, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, set out the emirate’s ambitions for the event and promised that Dubai would “astonish the world” with its offering. He added: “Expo 2020 Dubai will breathe new life into the ancient role of the Middle East as a melting pot for cultures and creativity.” More than 150 countries have since agreed their participation at the expo, which will become the first edition to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. In October 2017, representatives from 29 nations confirmed their presence at the event – from Azerbaijan and Cuba to the Czech Republic and Yemen. For Marjan Faraidooni, Senior Vice President of Legacy Impact and Development at Expo


Once completed the Expo 2020 site will encompass an impressive 438 hectares Expo 2020 Dubai’s Performance Park

2020 Dubai, the event will provide “an incredible platform to showcase everything that Dubai has to offer to a global audience, who in turn will return home and share their incredible experience with millions more.” The 438-hectare expo site is located close to Al Maktoum International Airport. The plot will house three themed districts titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – subheadings of the event’s ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ theme – as well as 180 country pavilions. More than 7.4 million work hours have already been tallied on the expo site project, and in October, Expo 2020 Dubai organisers released photographs showing the first pavilions emerging above ground level. Participating countries will build some of the pavilions themselves, while Expo 2020 Dubai is constructing others to be rented. All heavy construction is due to be completed by October 2019. Al Wasl Plaza (meaning connection in Arabic) will sit at the heart of the site, accessible through four entrances. An entertainment hub that can accommodate events of up to 15,000 people, it will boast a large translucent dome onto which projections can be screened. During the event, basement areas beneath the site will be home to an underground road and rail network supporting day-to-day logistics. Directly opposite

The Expo 2020 Dubai site is set to be a shining example of modern architecture and sustainable building practices, with a plan in place to reuse the development for years to come










Al Wasl Plaza will be the UAE Pavilion, which will showcase the nation’s heritage and achievements. Dubai-based firm Arabtec Construction was given the contract to build the 15,000 square metre structure in October – adding to the AED5.5 billion worth of contracts that have been awarded to date for Expo 2020 Dubai. Small and medium-sized enterprises are being prioritised, and have won more than half of the 2,247 contracts, which have been handed out so far. Opportunities for retailers will include food and beverage sales, which will be worth more than AED1.9 billion at the event, as well as merchandising and licensing options. More than 5,000 types of official licensed products will be sold on site at the 3,000 square metre Superstore of the Future, encompassing the Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability subthemes, with fragrances and luxury items among the goods on offer. Another noteworthy feature in Dubai South is the Sustainability Pavilion, which will explore ways to harvest energy from sunlight and fresh water from humid air, using photosynthesis as an inspiration. Adjacent to the site will be the Expo Village, a residential community for delegates and other visiting officials. The project will consist of five, 16-storey towers containing almost 2,300 apartment units. The whole site will also be linked to the Dubai Metro’s Red Line, which is being extended by more than nine miles. The AED11 billion project, known as Route 2020, will create five new overground and two underground stations running from Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to the site. Other areas to be covered are Discovery Gardens,



180 COUNTRY PAVILIONS Al Wasl Plaza will be the centrepiece of the Expo 2020 Dubai



EXPO DOWN THE DECADES The first ever world expo took place in London in 1851, welcoming six million visitors including Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll and Charlotte Bronte. Since then, events have been held around the world and have made their mark on history. Innovation and futurism have proven key themes throughout with famous structures built for world’s fairs including the Eiffel Tower unveiled in Paris in 1889, and the Space Needle for the 1962 event in Seattle. A wealth of inventions have also been unveiled or popularised at expos – including the zip (Chicago, 1893), electricity (St. Louis, 1904) and the mobile phone (Osaka, 1970). The Sustainability Pavilion will harvest solar energy and water from humid air

Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Investments Park. The new stretch of the driverless line is expected to begin operations in May 2020, and will be capable of transporting 46,000 passengers per hour in both directions. LEAVING A LEGACY Planning is already well underway to ensure Expo 2020 leaves a positive lasting imprint on the emirate, particularly for the business and events sectors. The approach is part of a broader plan for the UAE to diversify into a knowledge-based economy. Faraidooni explains: “What happens after Expo 2020 Dubai has been as integral to our planning from the very beginning as what happens during its six-month duration. “We are committed to building a legacy that is meaningful, sustainable and long lasting, extending its impact and benefits beyond the UAE to the wider region and to the rest of the world.

“As such, Expo’s legacy plan will make an impact across four key areas: physical, economic, social, and reputational. “An important part of this will be the post-expo site, District 2020, which was recently unveiled. Following the event, it will flourish as a home for innovators, original thinkers and pioneers. District 2020 will be a mixed-use community where people and businesses can come together to connect, create and innovate. “At the heart of District 2020 will be several neighbourhoods that combine offices, collaborative work spaces, social and cultural institutions, parks, residential communities, and a host of business and leisure amenities.” The District 2020 plan will see approximately 80 percent of the Expo 2020 Dubai site redeveloped and re-purposed for future use, including all of its assets and infrastructure. The mixed-use development will comprise 65,000 square metres of residential space, 135,000 square metres of commercial space and 44,900 square metres of green parkland. A major part of District 2020 will be conference and exhibition centre CoEx. Faraidooni says: “The new centre, which is being developed by Dubai World Trade Centre, will have final build-out of 180,000 square metres. “CoEx will offer a full range of multi-purpose event and exhibition spaces, including stateof-the-art large exhibition and conference halls, meeting rooms, food and beverage opportunities. It will also have built-in flexibility to cater for the growth in international business events and business tourism traffic to Dubai. “Having such a facility in an incredible location such as District 2020 will be a major boost for Dubai’s MICE sector in particular. CoEx will be a huge draw for business tourism, hosting events throughout the year.” Al Wasl Plaza will continue to serve as a world-class event space, while the Sustainability Pavilion will become the Children and Science Centre, offering youngsters an enthralling and educational experience. Earlier this year, German conglomerate Siemens AG became the first private entity to confirm it would set up a headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics on the site, while professional services company Accenture has also announced plans to set up a digital hub there. Faraidooni says: “The cutting-edge physical and digital infrastructure created for the expo, as well as its location, will make it an ideal place to live and work, as well as visit.” ATM PREVIEW 2018



ART AND SOUL The Middle East’s thriving cultural scene is playing a major role in furthering its responsible tourism credentials




ften thought of in terms of simply green tourism and eco initiatives, responsible travel in fact casts a much wider net. The preservation and celebration of local culture is now at the very heart of the segment, as tourism providers strive to meet the demands of the modern traveller who seeks unique experiences in destinations that also carefully consider the local way of life. Across the Middle East, the opportunities to make the most of the rich culture and heritage are plentiful, and in recent years there has been a sustained effort

to create a meaningful and authentic experience for visitors. The UAE has led the way when it comes to fostering its cultural credentials with a series of spectacular venues that embrace contemporary and local culture. In the capital, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque perfectly demonstrates the exquisite design and architecture of the region, whilst allowing visitors to learn more about the history of Islam. Capable of accommodating more than 40,000 worshippers, the main prayer hall features one of the world’s largest chandeliers, while 96 columns clad


Since opening last year, Louvre Abu Dhabi has seen the eyes of the world turn to the region’s cultural offerings

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the region’s greatest cultural venues

in marble and inlaid with mother of pearl frame the ornate space. Opened a decade ago, in tribute to the life of former President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the mosque continues to be one of the city’s most popular attractions. The capital has also recently witnessed the birth of a new iconic cultural venue, with last year’s debut of Louvre Abu Dhabi. A stunning feat of contemporary architecture, the striking building was designed by awardwinning French architect Jean Nouvel and has made its mark in the heart

Dubai’s Al Quoz district is a beacon of contemporary culture

of Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District. There are also plans for the sprawling museum, which is home to rare works from around the world, to be joined by fellow artistic heavyweights Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum. In neighbouring Dubai, the cultural scene is thriving with dedicated cultural districts, from Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to Dubai Design District, impressive incubators for the city’s creatives. Alserkal Avenue, in the unassuming Al Quoz area, is also carving out a reputation as a major




hub for creativity. Boasting the largest concentration of art galleries in the city, the district has grown rapidly in recent years. Among the eclectic mix of designers and artists, you will find Salsali Private Museum, a small venue that has a huge collection of contemporary Middle Eastern art. Trendy galleries such as Carbon 12 also showcase the talents of local artists and hold a number of exhibitions throughout the year. Another success on the city’s cultural scene is Dubai Opera, which has proved to be a huge draw since opening in 2016. Tourists have flocked to the striking multi-purpose theatre, in the heart of Downtown Dubai, thanks to an impressive array of opera, ballet and classical concerts showcased throughout the year. Looking to the rest of the Middle East, and the plethora of cultural attractions ripe for exploration continues. As the Kingdom aims to increase its offering for leisure tourists, Saudi Arabia has also focused on its arts and culture offering. Alongside the decision to lift its 35-year ban on cinemas, and staging the first contemporary art exhibition to be curated by Saudi women, an ambitious project is underway in the eastern city of

Dhahran. The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture had a soft opening in December last year and it set to host an array of touring exhibitions. It will also house a museum that incorporates four main galleries, one of which will focus on displaying the best of Saudi and Middle Eastern contemporary art. Saudi Arabia is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites, not least of which is Mada’in Saleh, an ancient archaeological site in the Kingdom’s Al Madinah region. The spectacular site, often known as ‘Little Petra’, is one of the best-preserved examples of the Nabatean people’s way of life, outside of Jordan. Travel to Oman, and numerous mosques, museums and colourful souks await visitors where even a stroll around Muscat reveals buildings with arabesque domes, ornate windows and carved doors. The city is also home to the Royal Opera House Muscat, which has long been the premier venue for musical arts here. Opened in 2011, it reflects unique contemporary Omani architecture and can accommodate more than 1,000 people. The National Museum is also not to be missed during a stay in the capital. The Sultanate’s flagship cultural institution, this is the place to gain an


Dubai Opera is part of a new wave of performance arts venues

Mada’in Saleh (above) and Royal Opera House Muscat (below) highlight the region’s spectrum of old and new cultural attractions




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Bahrain National Museum takes visitors on a journey through centuries of Bahraini history

MORE TO COME The region’s cultural offerings are set to become even more substantial with the addition of coming attractions HAYY: CREATIVE HUB Saudi-based art foundation Art Jameel will open a new complex in Jeddah in the spring of 2019. The 17,000 square-foot project will operate as a multi-disciplinary site, hosting different art organisations and galleries, as well as art and design studios. GUGGENHEIM ABU DHABI Given the overwhelming success of Louvre Abu Dhabi, it may not be long before construction finally begins on the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Originally slated to have 13,000 square metres of gallery space spread across four levels, it is planned to serve as a platform for contemporary art and culture.

Bahrain National Theatre is a stunning work of modern architecture

MOHAMMED BIN RASHID LIBRARY Plans for the library were first announced back in 2013 but it looks as though the Mohammed bin Rashid Library will finally open its doors this year. The seven-storey complex, which resembles an open book perched atop a Rehl (a traditional lectern which holds the Qur’an), will house more than 4.5 million books and will host cultural and educational festivals. Jordan’s ancient city of Petra is among the world’s most visited historic sites

understanding of the nation’s heritage, from the earliest human settlement in the Oman Peninsula some two million years ago, right through to life in the present day. The Kingdom of Bahrain is also home to a host of cultural gems, peppered with ancient archaeological sites and contemporary artistic gems. The capital city Manama boasts Bahrain National Museum where a wealth of ancient archaeological artefacts, which offer a deep understanding of the country’s heritage in four halls covering nearly 5,000 years of Bahrain’s history. Located right next door is the National Theatre of Bahrain



that contains an impressive 1001seat auditorium. Opened in late 2012, and considered one of the crowning achievements in the country’s efforts to enrich and develop local culture, the theatre has hosted a number of global performances as well as provided a platform for regional artists. Meanwhile Manama’s UNESCO World Heritage site Pearling Trail is one of the only preserved routes that gives insights into all aspects of the trade, from the traditional homes of pearl merchants to former pearling sites off the coast. Of course, Jordan has long placed great emphasis on preserving heritage and tradition, and by far the country’s

best-known attraction is the ancient city of Petra. Wonderfully maintained and offering visitors the chance to explore tombs and temples that date back more than 2,000 years, the dramatic stone city makes for a stunning sight. Elsewhere, journeying to Amman is a must with the once sleepy district of Jebel Weibdeh now the artistic capital of the city. Here you’ll find Makan Art Space, Dar Al Anda Gallery and Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, in this charming neighbourhood which perfectly blends a colourful creative side with the rich cultural traditions that make Jordan such a special destination.

At TIME Hotels, our simple approach to hospitality means that you can always expect to receive the warmest welcome straight from the heart and an uncomplicated yet professional service delivery. Whether for business or leisure, short-stay or long-stay, we currently have four different property brands represented across a growing portfolio of properties. To find out more about our present and future locations, visit our website or come talk to us at ATM 2018, Stand HC 1255.



From the world’s largest airport to autonomous vehicles and hyperspeed trains, the UAE is pioneering game-changing transport solutions




he way we travel is set to rapidly evolve over the next few years as technological advances bring new modes of transport, state-of-the-art in-flight experiences and mega airports. The Gulf region and in particular, the UAE, is leading the way – on the ground and in the air – with government and transportation entities rolling out exciting initiatives that will transform visitor and resident journeys forever. Dubai is pioneering a host of transportation firsts in order to meet several government targets, which range from sustainable economic growth, to cementing its status as a smart city. “Dubai’s transport sector continues to drive much of the emirate’s economic success



and the government is fully committed to its development,” remarks His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, speaking exclusively to the ATM Show Preview. “Aviation is a strategic pillar for Dubai’s growth, contributing almost 30 percent to Dubai’s GDP and supporting close to 500,000 jobs. Economic and tourism opportunities are being made possible by efficient air transport links,


accelerating the pace of Dubai’s economic growth and diversification.” Today, passengers have direct flight connections from Dubai to more than 149 cities with combined populations of more than one million people – that’s 13 percent of the world’s population – and the continued growth of Emirates’ operations, and consequently, Dubai’s connectivity, will be vital in the lead up to Expo 2020 Dubai and beyond, says Sheikh Ahmed, noting that the airline is on track to carry an incredible 70-million-plus passengers by the end of the decade. By the time 2020 arrives, Dubai expects to welcome 20 million tourists annually, generating more than US$81.7 billion (AED300billion) in tourism revenue, and the airline will play a “big role” in supporting this goal, while simultaneously cementing the emirate’s position as a major “global transport hub,” Sheikh Ahmed adds. THERE IS NO FINISH LINE “A hallmark of Dubai’s transportation sector is that activity will always continue,” Sheikh Ahmed continues, “and in the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum ‘there is no finish line’.” One of the most significant developments in the near future, he continues, will be the completion of the 220-million-capacity Dubai World Central (DWC) – the biggest airport in the world – which will become a “customised, world-class hub for Emirates, offering the latest technology and ergonomic designs that speed up processing and moving times for the tens of millions of passengers passing through Dubai”. “In the meantime, we are working on increasing the efficiency of our skies and the capabilities at Dubai International Airport as we continue to see an uptick of passenger numbers,” he adds. Disruptive technologies will play a major role in shaping the customer travel experience of the future – “at the airport, in our lounges, and on our planes”– Sheikh Ahmed notes, citing robotics, Artificial Intelligence, block chain, big data and intelligent algorithms as game-changers for Emirates in the years ahead. “They can give us real-time information on our passengers and every aspect of our operations to ensure we are offering as much customisation to their experience as possible,” he explains. “In the future, I am most excited to see an even more streamlined passenger experience at every touch point. From quick and efficient check-in, smart luggage tags when bags are dropped off, biometric immigration screening, customised messaging directly on smart devices as passengers make their way along to their departure gate, to a more intuitive boarding process in general.” In the air, passengers can expect better inflight internet connectivity, “potentially allowing passengers to live-stream entertainment content from their own personal electronic devices”.


Emergent hubs such as Dubai World Central and Midfield Terminal Building in Abu Dhabi are set to lead a new era for aviation in the region




Tech innovations in the air and on land are set to revolutionse the way we travel

“We are also looking at the use of augmented reality in the way we interact with customers on board using predictive technologies to enhance their experience,” Sheikh Ahmed reveals. SMART ABOUT TRAVEL A fresh customer experience is also a focal point of Dubai’s ground transportation strategy, which aims to ensure visitors and residents alike have access to convenient and sustainable modes of transport in the years to come. The 2009 launch of Dubai Metro – declared by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest fully automated metro network – followed by Dubai Tram in 2014, kick-started this plan, but there is so much more to come. In April 2016, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, revealed his vision for 25 percent of all transportation trips in the emirate to be smart and driverless by 2030. The Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy, a joint venture between Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Dubai Future Foundation, aims to improve efficiency and reduce congestion and pollution, and will be the “first project of the foundation to build a model of a futurist city”, said Sheikh Mohammed. Since the smart plan was announced, the RTA has unveiled a host of cutting-edge developments, from traditional abra water taxis fitted with solar panels that generate energy to power the boats, to Dubai Taxis which offer free Wi-Fi and come equipped with interactive LCD touch screens that conduct customer satisfaction and happiness surveys. Dubai Taxi Corporation has also deployed 50 Tesla electric cars to its fleet of limousine taxis, all of which are offer self-driving features and are

TALKING TRANSPORT AT ATM Don’t miss the show opening session between 13:30 and 14:30 on the Global Stage, bringing together leaders in global transportation. Among the hotly anticipated panel for ‘Future Travel Experiences’, is Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director, Middle East and India Field Operations, Virgin Hyperloop One.



part of a new 200-car deal the RTA has recently signed with Tesla. However, the RTA’s most progressive projects to date involve the trial of autonomous (driverless) vehicles – on the ground and in the air. It has not only tested an electrically-powered groundbased smart vehicle, but in September last year, completed the first-ever public flight of an autonomous urban air taxi, as part of its autonomous urban air taxi project signed with German firm Volocopter. The Volocopter is an electrically powered multicopter featuring 18 rotors and is designed to transport people by flight in city areas. “We have now publicly proven the safety, compliance, and relevance of Volocopter in the urban environment in one of the most forwardthinking cities of the world,” says company founder Alexander Zosel. “A new era of public transport has begun.” Smart transportation strategies are also being considered for city-to-city journeys, with studies underway into the feasibility of a Hyperloop rapid transport system between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The RTA has signed a deal with US-based research firm Hyperloop One, which will see the two entities collaborate to make the groundbreaking project viable. This futuristic mode of transport involves using magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the floating pods shuttle people and cargo at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour. Hyperloop One, one of several firms researching how to build such a system, claims it will transport passengers and cargo from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in as little as 12 minutes. “We have identified five transit means, global trends and emerging technologies, namely: selfdriving transport, emerging transport modes (such as the Hyperloop and air taxi), shared mobility in several cities including transport on demand, and smart enablers assisting in the deployment of future modes,” says RTA Director General HE Mattar Al Tayer. “Sustainable transportation, such as electric/ hybrid vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles, is also part of future trends.” Dubai is keen to ”predict and shape the future” of smart mobility, he adds, with the aim of becoming a world leader in modern transportation system by 2030.



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As Arabian Travel Market marks its 25-year milestone, we take a look at the spectacular transformation that has taken place in the UAE in that time


aving risen from humble desert settlement to one of the world’s most futuristic destinations, rapid change is built into the very fabric of the UAE. In many ways mirroring the development of the country itself, in the past 25 years both Arabian Travel Market and the

UAE have gone through major changes, witnessing stellar growth in a time that for many nations is a blink of an eye. Here, we take a look at some of the most iconic developments and events that, over the course of the past two decades, have changed the face of tourism in the UAE.

1996 j THE DUBAI WORLD CUP On March 27, 1996, Nad Al Sheba Racecourse held the inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup. Attracting competitors from around the world, as well as four locally trained runners, American horse Cigar won the day, and a cheque for US$4 million (AED14.7 million). The event now attracts more than 60,000 people and is the world’s richest day in horse racing, with an impressive overall prize purse of US$30 million (AED110 million).

1997 G EMAAR PROPERTIES Real estate development company Emaar Properties was founded and incorporated by Chairman Mohamed Alabbar. In the last decade, the Emirati entrepreneur has led the company to become a leading developer in property, retail, hospitality, leisure and shopping. Their flagship development, Downtown Dubai, is home to Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.

1998 v JUMEIRAH GROUP Founded in Dubai, the aim of the company was to become a hospitality industry leader by establishing a world-class portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts. The group has certainly lived up to that mission with Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Madinat Jumeirah, Wild Wadi Waterpark and Jumeirah Emirates Towers just some of its notable roster of properties.



1999 x


Designed by architect Tom Wright, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah was built to resemble a billowing sail overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The iconic design also includes a helipad, while the

hotel itself is located on its very own island. Among the world’s most luxurious hotels, it is one of Dubai’s most exclusive addresses and an attraction in its own right.

2003 G

2004 j



Developed by Emaar Properties, Dubai Marina is a stunning waterfront development, peppered with luxury yachts and five-star hotels. The first phase opened in 2003 with a handful of buildings, but has since grown to include dozens of futuristic skyscraper residences, hotel apartments, restaurants and Dubai Marina Mall.

National flag carrier Etihad Airways was established by UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with commercial operations beginning in 2004 with a flight to Beirut. Now the airline’s extensive network covers more than 100 destinations in the region and around the world and last year carried some 18.6 million passengers.

2004 v DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE (DIFC) One of the region’s most important business centres, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was built to provide a strategic link in the Middle East between the financial hubs of New York and London in the West, and Hong Kong and Singapore in the East. The UAE free zone soon became a regional and global powerhouse for trade and finance, and is home to some of the world’s top multinational companies and financial institutions.




2004 G HH SHEIKH ZAYED A major milestone in the UAE’s history came with the passing of UAE President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in November 2004. Since then, the country has celebrated his life and many achievements at every turn, with Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque the ultimate symbol of his successes.

2005 j MALL OF THE EMIRATES AND SKI DUBAI Developed and owned by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Mall of the Emirates opened with more than 460 stores and 90 food and beverage outlets. One month later, Ski Dubai was introduced, featuring an 85-metre indoor ski-slope, covered in real snow, with five runs of varying difficulty. Both hugely successful attractions, the mall attracts more than 40 million visitors annually.

2006 j


One of Dubai’s most iconic attractions, this unique palm-shaped island was created using reclaimed land from the sea. Construction on the island began in June 2001 and five years later, the first residences

were opened. Now the luxurious island is home to stunning five-star resorts and the famed Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, as well as a selection of restaurants and bars, which can all be reached on the Palm Monorail.


2007 j


One of the world’s largest mosques, this stunning place of worship is also an iconic part of the Abu Dhabi skyline. Able to accommodate 40,000 worshippers, the mosque is also a major visitor attraction as it is open to visitors from all faiths.



Famed for its intricately decorated domes and columns, as well as 24-carat gold chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, the mosque’s first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, HH Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site.

The crowning glory on Palm Jumeirah, this was the first hotel to be built on the island and is themed around the mythical world of Atlantis. Officially opened in September 2008, the 1,539 room resort has two accommodation wings consisting of the East and the West Tower, linked together by the majestic Royal Bridge Suite which has an average room rate of US$23,000 (AED84,000) a night.

2009 x


Created by WET Design, the same company responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, The Dubai Fountain makes for a sensational show, illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25

coloured projectors. Set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Lake, the fountain in the heart of Downtown Dubai, shoots water 150 metres in the air to a range of classical and contemporary music soundtracks.

LOOKING AHEAD EXPO 2020 DUBAI Some 25 million visitors are expected to flock to the city for the six-month mega event. Work continues apace at the expo site, which is set to feature some of the most state-of-the-art architecture and sustainable building solutions available. TOURISM VISION 2020 Announced by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in 2013, Dubai’s strategic vision for 2020 aims to see 20 million visitors per year come into the emirate by 2020.

2009 x


On September 9, 2009, the Dubai Metro made its first journey. During the first week of its operation more than 280,000 passengers used the service, which then consisted of 10 stations. In just over eight

years since its launch, more than one billion passengers have taken advantage of the fast and efficient driverless service that is currently being extended to connect to the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

2009 j YAS MARINA CIRCUIT AND THE FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX Designed by renowned German engineer and former racing driver Hermann Tilke, the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit was specifically designed as a Formula One track. In the same year it was completed, more than 40,000 fans watched the final race of the 2009 season as Sebastian Vettel triumphed in the very first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.




2010 j


First announced at Arabian Travel Market in 2006, Dubai World Central began operations in June 2010. Initially solely dealing with cargo, it’s now also a slick passenger hub that is currently being expanded

and will have the capacity to handle 26 million passengers a year before Expo Dubai 2020. It will be the main feature of a new 145 square kilometre purpose-built city that has been renamed Dubai South.


2010 j

On November 4, 2010, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi became the latest attraction to open on Yas Island. The first Ferrari-branded theme park in the world, and covering an area of 86,000 square metres, it is home to Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster which has a top speed of 240 kilometres an hour. In 2017, the park was named the ‘Middle East’s Leading Theme Park’ at the World Travel Awards.

BURJ KHALIFA Construction began on the world’s tallest tower in 2004, but it was not until January 2010 that Burj Khalifa was officially opened. Located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, overlooking The Dubai Fountain, the striking structure is the city’s top attraction. It boasts 163 floors, 15 of which make up the 304room Armani Hotel. There are also corporate offices, suites and 900 residential apartments, as well as two observation decks and the ultraexclusive At.mosphere restaurant perched on level 122.

2012 j JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS HOTEL DUBAI During Arabian Travel Market in 2006, the twin-tower design of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai was first revealed. By November 2012, both towers were completed, making it at the time the world’s tallest hotel at 355 metres and 72-storeys high. The Business Bay hotel has 1,364 rooms, 240 suites, four presidential suites, a banquet hall, shops, 19 restaurants and a spa. It has also become a major feature on the city skyline.



2013 j


After four years of planning, it was announced on November 27, 2013 that Dubai had won the right to host the 2020 World Expo. It is projected that the exhibition will result in

277,000 new jobs in the UAE, an injection of nearly US$40 billion (AED146.9 billion) into the economy, and an increase in visitors of at least 25 million during the event.

2014 G

ExSapiciliquia vitatem faccae excearioris a volum et verrumquid

DUBAI TRAM The first phase of Dubai Tram was officially opened to the public on November 12, 2014. Comprising 11 stations over 9.5 kilometres, some 1,854,055 passengers used the tram in the first half of 2015. It also connects with the Dubai Metro at two stations, and with the Palm Monorail. A second phase, taking in stops such as Mall of the Emirates, is expected by 2020.

2016 x DUBAI PARKS AND RESORTS Spread over 25 million square feet, the sprawling leisure and theme park opened on December 18, 2016, with more than 100 rides and attractions. Consisting of three theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and LEGOLAND Dubai, as well as LEGOLAND Water Park, there is also a themed retail and dining destination called Riverland Dubai.

2017 j


More than a decade in the planning, Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors on November 11, 2017. Located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District and designed by acclaimed architect Jean Nouvel, the museum has a

permanent collection of 620 works, from paintings to archaeological discoveries, and will house four temporary exhibitions each year. It to be joined by Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in the coming years.

2018 v DUBAI FRAME Opened on New Year’s Day 2018, Dubai’s latest landmark stands 150 metres high and was designed to ‘frame’ some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Located in Zabeel Park, it also features a glass bridge at the top of the structure, which provides a view of both old and modern Dubai.




As luxury travel continues to evolve, a new focus on unique experiences and sustainable choices is changing the hospitality landscape across the Middle East


n recent years, a major evolution has taken place within luxury tourism amid a determined shift towards experiential tourism. For many luxury travellers it’s all about social media worthy stories, with brand resonance taking a lesser role. Hand in hand with a focus on unique experiences is a growing trend towards sustainable tourism, with the modern luxury traveller increasingly looking for providers able to boast eco credentials. Set against this background, we take a look at today’s luxury travel landscape in the Middle East, and how hoteliers are responding to the sustainable shift. Just a few short decades ago, the thought of combining luxury travel with a sustainable ethos seemed a direct contradiction. It was a time when the biggest, best and most expensive stole the spotlight, and showcasing green credentials remained low on the list of priorities for premium hotels and resorts. Fast forward to 2018 and it’s an altogether different story. While the definition of luxury remains subjective and constantly in flux, there’s an emphasis on delivering ‘authentic’ experiences. Travel technology



leaders Amadeus’ recent report ‘Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel – Future Traveller Tribes 2030’, states: “In mature markets, luxury has evolved to become increasingly bound up in experiences rather than things. One key trend driving the future of luxury travel is the shift in values from the material to the experiential – rather than saving up to buy luxurious possessions, people are choosing to spend their money on experiences.” Nowadays, socially-conscious travellers are seeking out properties surrounded by untouched nature and off-the-beaten-track adventures, all with a sustainable edge. Adapting to this demand is a selection of leading hotels and resorts in the Middle East, celebrating a sense of place and eco feel among the rolling sand dunes of the Arabian desert or by pristine coastlines and rugged mountains. Taking into account the significant shift in focus towards sustainability, we speak to those in charge of leading environmental sustainability at a selection of luxury brands across the region to learn how the demand for responsible tourism is changing the luxury hotel experience.

DESERT DWELLINGS Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in Abu Dhabi, under the umbrella of Minor Hotels, is a prime example. Nestled in the Empty Quarter desert – the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass – the sprawling resort features a unique desert charm, offering guests the chance to explore the area on a camel trek, embark on desert walks or discover local flora and fauna while on a safari drive. The desert resort is set within a 6,000 squarekilometre protected area, managed by the Environmental Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD). Recently the EAD released 12 female and two male Arabian oryx into the area here, a significant step in reintroducing this magnificent species back into the wild. The Arabian Oryx breeding and reintroduction programme is considered one of the world’s most successful and has resulted in the International Union for Conservation of Nature upgrading the status of the species from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’. For John Roberts, Group Director of Sustainability & Conservation at Minor Hotels, it’s exactly this focus on nurturing the surrounding environment that can feed into sustainability initiatives at hotels. He says: “In my view, the next chapter in sustainability for the luxury sector will be in finding ways for hotel facilities to actively protect the wider ecosystems around them. Hotels and resorts work

Guests at Anantara properties on Sir Bani Yas Island stay in the heart of a protected nature reserve

with communities to help ensure the safekeeping of the natural environment, and that everything that lives in it, is protected. “At Minor we are investigating these mechanisms that might be applicable to different regions, such as the reintroduction of the Arabian Oryx.” Another key property for the group in the UAE capital is Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resort. It’s located on a natural island – the largest in the United Arab Emirates – southwest of Abu Dhabi, that originally housed a protected wildlife reserve. Designed with a ‘close to nature experience’, guests can choose from three standout dwellings – Desert Islands Resort & Spa, Al Sahel Villa Resort and Al Yamm Villa Resort. Committed to protecting native wildlife and raising awareness through a number of guest activities, Anantara also aids research and conservation efforts for the ongoing development of the island’s Arabian Wildlife Park. “Some of the activities we offer incorporate a range of sustainability solutions, such as mangrove planting. Mangroves are well known to contribute to the overall health of the coastal area by providing food, shelter and environmental protection for marine organisms, nest dwellers and even humans living near sea shores. The guests are involved in planting mangrove trees and the benefits of this are explained to them,” adds Roberts.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara works closely with local agencies to help nurture local wildlife




THE ULTIMATE RETREAT Another hotel company placing a sustainable approach at the forefront of their activities is Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort, located on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman. A ‘sustainability-first’ luxury choice in the region, guests stay in indigenous village-style accommodation built from natural stone and wood, with views of the pristine coastline and dramatic mountains. The resort also offers unique experiences that take in the iconic setting, such as rock climbing, mountain hikes through wilderness trails and paragliding from the top of Zighy Mountain. Complementing this is a concerted effort to give back to nature. “Luxury travel has undergone immense changes brought on by increased guest awareness and expectations. When Six Senses originally launched in the 1990s to provide luxury experiences that benefit local communities and environments, this was still a very new concept and sustainable tourism was difficult for some travel industry members to grasp,” explains Jeffery Smith, Director of Sustainability of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. “Six Senses Zighy Bay is in a remote location with little rainfall, making resource conservation especially important. Recycled water from sinks and drains is utilised to feed the resort’s landscaping, using a drip irrigation system for ultimate efficiency. “Many fruits and vegetables are unavailable locally, so the resort has created its own farm by supplementing the desert sand with charcoal and compost. This allows the resort to produce fresh healthy food for guests, while eliminating the transportation impacts otherwise associated with flying those foods in. The farm offers educational opportunities for budding local farmers, and the resort also has a fund specifically earmarked to support the local community and environmental projects,” says Smith.



Zighy Bay guests can enjoy once in a lifetime experiences including paragliding from the mountains

TrAccuscipsunt hillorit am, qui illest, cusaniste pore laborundae cusam ne nonserr ovidelit The resort draws heavily on local culture and heritage for a unique experience

A variety of resort initiatives aim to give back to the local community

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CALL OF THE WILD Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, not only embraces its desert setting at the protected Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, but also plays a vital role in its conservation. “At Al Maha, we have always adopted the vision of responsible tourism. We have always been 100 percent committed to preserving the heritage and uniqueness of our surrounding area – the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR). While offering supreme comforts at the resort, we believe in minimising our impact on the environment and we fully respect the very sensitive and fragile desert landscape,” says General Manager, Arne Silvis. The resort’s nature walk is one of the most popular activities, taking guests through a restricted track – to minimise carbon footprint and also protect the natural habitat – while teaching them about the desert, native wildlife and ongoing conservation efforts in Dubai. There’s a lot to be proud of, as Silvis explains: “Al Maha has also been actively protecting the flora and fauna with 70 endangered Arabian oryx being reintroduced. Today, these have blossomed into a herd of over 400 oryx, the largest, free roaming herd of its kind in the UAE. In addition, there are approximately 300 Arabian gazelles and 100 sand gazelles. The list of birds in the DDCR consisted of 60 species when the reserve was established in 1999. With the improvement of the environment through protected area management, the latest number recorded is 130 species.” There’s no doubt that environmental sustainability is the next frontier in luxury tourism globally, and resorts need to continue to balance five-star expectations with eco-sustainability. As more hospitality companies adopt the concept of a triple bottom line, which takes into account environment and social performance in addition to profit-based approaches, together, the industry has the potential to leave behind a rich, positive and lasting legacy.



The environment around the resort is filled with wildlife

General Manager Arne Silvis believes luxury tourism must now also be responsible

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V As the latest technological developments continue to change all aspects of travel, we take a look at the top innovations disrupting the industry



irtual reality headsets as destination brochures, chat bots acting as concierges and smart hotel rooms tailored to the demands of each guest; the travel and tourism industry has firmly embraced the digital revolution in recent years. Hotel chains and travel specialists are all competing to incorporate the latest technological advances as they bid to offer clients a fully tailored experience. And that’s nowhere more the case than in the Middle East where a young, tech savvy population, with the highest smartphone penetration in the world, expects the latest tech built in to experiences as a matter of course. However, in order to truly be ahead of the game, it is important that key players not only select the most beneficial advances, but adopt them in a meaningful way. With that in mind, we take an expert look at some of the top tech impacting the industry this year. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) According to Paul Richer, who founded travel technology consultancy Genesys, the most significant technology this year is Artificial Intelligence. He says: “Big data is now taken for granted and not much mentioned but, actually, it is the foundation upon which AI can be applied. “AI and its use in revenue management to better predict room rates for revenue maximisation is definitely on the cards for this year.” For Richer, the main reason AI is becoming vitally important is its ability to effectively ‘learn’ through data analysis. This can benefit the hotel and

its customers, whether that means adjusting room rates or adapting to guests needs by offering customised menus and personalised deals. Much of this information needed to offer this level of customisation could be acquired through reservation and online forms, although beacon technology is also seen as a potentially important tool. This would detect a customer’s smartphone and track their movements throughout a resort, allowing an approach that is much more targeted. Both Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Marriott International have tested the technology, which can inform housekeepers when guests are out of the room, for example, and also allow relevant local offers to be suggested. Paul Richer is an expert in predicting future travel trends

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) IS SET TO EXPLODE ONTO THE HOSPITALITY SCENE WITH TECH GIANTS GOOGLE AND APPLE USING THE TECHNOLOGY ON THEIR LATEST HANDSETS” SERVICE AUTOMATION Providing information for a guest is vital and yet still there are numerous hotel brands that rely on an old-fashioned binder. These could soon be a thing of the past thanks to advancements in technology meaning guests can use chatbots as e-concierges. As well as processing requests, the same technology will also be used for myriad purposes, such as to control the curtains, the temperature in the room and set alarms. AccorHotels, whose brands include Novotel, Sofitel and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, has already launched an intelligent chatbot called ‘Phil Welcome’, created to help anticipate guests’ needs. Richer warns however, that luxury brands may not necessarily want to fully embrace the technology, as the personal approach is still considered very important. He said: “A budget hotel chain can be highly automated and this will be appreciated. A five-star plus hotel however will still need to offer a high level of automation, but must also excel at personal service readily.”

MOBILE INTEGRATION It could soon also be possible to plan and execute an entire trip without ever having to interact with another person. While, for many, visiting a travel agent is no longer necessary with online portals favoured, the next step is tailoring a guest’s hotel stay or booking an entire trip via a mobile phone. Brands are exploring how everything from check-in, to unlocking the room door, ordering room service, payments and even interacting with members of staff can be carried out using a mobile. “Every hotel should have a mobile strategy in place,” says Richer. “Mobile is simply the future until the next revolution comes along – perhaps implanted technology? But hotel guests need not be concerned about invasion of privacy – as our society becomes more and more connected we are increasingly finding that we are sharing private information.” AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY A few years ago it seemed as though it would be Virtual Reality (VR) taking the

hospitality world by storm. It presented a unique way to sell a premium hotel room or a resort experience with travel agents, wholesalers and event planners embracing the technology. But Richer does not believe it will have the same impact as first believed. “I see VR as still being some way off as a must-have technology,” he says. “Of course, it is vital that a hotel displays itself to the best of its ability but it might be that a photo gallery is still the most convenient way for potential customers to view your hotel.” Instead, Richer feels Augmented Reality (AR) is set to explode onto the hospitality scene, and with tech giants Google and Apple using the technology on their latest handsets, AR is coming into the mainstream. For travel companies this means creating apps that can direct travellers to destinations and advise them based on what is around them. When it comes to hotels they can boost their offering through the use of interactive elements throughout the resort. At the Hub Hotel from Premier Inn in the UK, guests can point their smartphone at a wall map for additional information about local places of interest. While the recently opened Dubai Frame is using the technology to show what the emirate might look like in the future, as the Middle East begins to embrace the latest tech for state-of-theart travel experiences. DON’T MISS ATM and GENESYS Digital Futures Summit Travel Tech Theatre, Day 2, 10:30-12:30





Malaysia mosque

The halal tourism sector is rapidly evolving, dominated by a new generation of millennial Muslims who are seeking out dynamic travel options that range from lifestyle retreats to adventure tourism




he halal tourism market continues to grow at pace, with the industry worth US$169 billion (AED620.6 billion) worldwide in 2016, up 11.8 percent on 2015 and representing 12 percent of total global travel spend. Its value is projected to hit US$283 billion (AED1,039 billion) by 2022, according to the recent State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017/18, produced by Thomson Reuters in collaboration with DinarStandard, which states “halal travel is getting its moment in the sun”. With travel now representing the third largest halal lifestyle sector globally after food and modest fashion, some meaningful market niches are starting to emerge, many of which mirror mainstream travel trends. “Muslims were once treated as one travel segment, but the industry is now starting to

become more nuanced,” confirms Reem El Shafaki, Senior Associate, DinarStandard. “In addition to grouping by demographics such as age, gender and country of residence, Muslim travellers can also be grouped by travel purpose – they are interested in sightseeing trips, beach holidays, cruises, luxury travel, adventure travel, ecotourism, voluntourism and more.” Travel firms are responding by focusing on and expanding niches, with UK-based Luxury Halal Travel catering to honeymooners and adventure seekers and its sister company, Serendipity Tailormade, teaming up with Healthy Hijab, to offer exclusive health and fitness retreats, notes Shafaki. Similarly, and recently launched a seven-day Productive Muslim Retreat, combining spirituality with personal development. The target audience is Muslim entrepreneurs, students and professionals. Meanwhile, new start-up ventures are tapping into Muslim traveller demand for peer-to-peer home rentals, dovetailing with mainstream trends led by the likes of Airbnb. They include Muslim-focused peer-to-peer property rental company Muzbnb in the US and the UK-based accomodation portal Elena Nikolova, Founder and Creator of travel site, notes “more single Muslim women are travelling” and looking for women-only group trips and retreats, which the market now needs to cater to. “Over the past couple of years, Muslim travellers have been letting travel companies know they want to be noticed,” she says. “They are creating DIY trips and travel experiences or blogging to share their ideas or ask for more halal food and hotels, etc. They are starting to show their frustration of not being part of the big travel picture and looking to forge their own ideas of what Muslim travel ought to be.” MAKING THEIR MARK Given that people under the age of 30 account for 60 percent of the population in Muslim-majority countries – the equivalent of around one billion people – the Muslim millennial demographic is broadly regarded as a key growth driver of the global halal tourism market. The Muslim Millennial Travel Report 2017, released by Mastercard and HalalTrip in October 2017, notes these “well-connected and tech-savvy” travellers are a “distinct group” with “special requirements, interests and decision-making styles”. Muslim Millennial Travellers (MMTs) will be entering their “peak earning, spending and travelling life stage within the next five to 10 years”, according to the report, and their spending on travel is expected to top US$100 billion (AED367 billion) by 2023. The report’s survey of global MMTs unearths some key trends in terms of what experiences, products and services they look for when booking travel. Most respondents sought autonomy, with 72 percent preferring free and independent travel. They are tech savvy – 53 percent book with online travel agencies, 27 percent book direct with travel companies online and 10 percent with travel

Muslims were once treated as one travel segment, but the industry is now starting to become more nuanced”

Reem El Shafaki, Senior Associate, DinarStandard

NEW ADVENTURES Our halal travel experts reveal the most popular up-and-coming destinations for Muslim travellers AZERBAIJAN: is currently a big hit with Gulf travellers, due to its close proximity to the region, value for money, halal food, places of worship, hospitable people, music, history and stunning nature. BOSNIA: Holiday Bosnia is offering immersive philanthropic trips to Bosnia that appeal to Muslim nature lovers and adventure travellers alike. CANADA: a country perceived as welcoming to everyone, offers stunning natural beauty and caters to Muslim dietary requirements. JAPAN: it’s on everyone’s bucket list and halal food is now widely available across the country.

NEW ZEALAND: it’s appealing to adventurous Muslim millennials looking to embrace the great outdoors and adrenalin-fuelled experiences, from bungee jumping to white water raing. SOUTH AFRICA: offers stunning scenery, welcoming people, halal food and good value for money. It recently received a Halal Gourmet Dining Accreditation. INDONESIA: a Muslim country offering all the basics – halal food and prayer facilities – that’s now developing niche travel experiences, from adventure and eco-tourism to halal cruises and Eid holidays to Lombok. Sources: Travel Counsellors UAE, MuslimTravelGirl. com and DinarStandard.

Lombok in Indonesia is an up-and-coming halal tourism destination




Destinations like Canada, with both urban and adventure appeal, are popular with millennial Muslims

Elena Nikolova, Founder and Creator of

“Over the past couple of years, Muslim travellers have been letting travel companies know they want to be noticed. They are starting to show their frustration at not being part of the big travel picture and looking to forge their own ideas of what Muslim travel ought to be” The halal travel market in Thailand (also pictured opposite) has boomed

Zakiya Habib, Halal Travel Specialist, Travel Counsellors UAE

“Muslim travellers are now more selective, they are looking for personalised tours that include Islamic history or places of interest they want to visit ”



websites – and highly influenced by the power of information when planning their trips. Content posted by travellers and online review sites are their top sources of information when researching. Nikolova says MMTs have “more cultural awareness than previous generations and they want what their non-Muslim peers have, just in a more modern version of halal”. “They are a group who also have the disposable income to pay for travel experiences and are seeing a shift from the standard ‘going back home’ or religious trips sought by previous generations to luxury holidays, exotic honeymoons, adventure travel and ecotourism,” she explains. MMT desires and experiences will drive the growth of the halal tourism sector in the future and travel companies must respond or face “alienating” this influential market, Nikolova adds. GOING MAINSTREAM One mainstream travel firm that has acknowledged the need to cater to its discerning Muslim clients is Travel Counsellors UAE, part of the world’s largest home-based travel company. The Dubai-based branch not only counts several halal tourism experts amongst its team, but recently signed up its first halal travel supplier, Serendipity Tailormade, a company which specialises in bespoke halal-friendly tourism experiences which encompass everything






from Tuk Tuk tours in Chiang Mai to safari experiences in South Africa. “Travel Counsellors identified a gap in the market to provide halal-friendly travel to its customers in the UAE and bringing on board Serendipity Tailormade as a supplier is one of many steps we are taking to support this drive,” explains Maggie Bootsman, Manager UAE, Travel Counsellors LLC. Zakiya Habib, one of Travel Counsellors’ halal tourism specialists, says her younger clients are seeking adventure, with hiking and sailing trips proving popular, while “exotic travel” to remote and unspoiled destinations is also in demand. “Muslim travellers are now more selective,” she continues. “They are looking for personalised tours that include Islamic history or places of interest they want to visit. Packages that include transport,

personal guides and tours which are also tailored to Muslim travellers are popular, as are wellness travel and retreats.” Shafaki concludes that Muslim travellers now “take it for granted” that their basic faith-based needs are met, particularly the availability of halal food. They expect immersive travel experiences, as well as concierge services that acknowledge their customs and interests, and this trend looks set to continue in the future. The hope is that more mainstream companies embrace these trends, meeting the needs of a billion dollar market.

Bosnia is among the destinations fast coming into favour within halal travellers

DON’T MISS ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit ATM Global Stage, Day 3, 11:00-13:00




CHARTING A NEW COURSE The region’s airlines have been navigating through some rough air, but bold strategies are at the heart of plans to ensure long-term success


ulf airlines have faced a challenging few years, feeling the effects of geopolitical shocks, increased competition from US carriers and the fallout from the oil price slump. But the region’s carriers have responded with a series of fresh and creative strategies, plotting new directions in a bit to ensure long-term stability and growth. We take a look at the region’s main players – the challenges and opportunities they face as they look to the future.



HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Airline Group, Chairman and Chief Executive



s one of the world’s most successful airlines, Emirates posted another strong year of growth in 2017, reporting strong financial results and announcing a raft of new routes, products and services that further consolidated its position as the world’s largest international carrier. However, taking into account recent challenges and keen not to stand still, Emirates is leading the way with a raft of new strategies to help ensure its leading position. A focus on the fleet has been an important element of the way forward at Dubai’s flag carrier, while the airline has joined forces with sister airline flydubai in an innovative new approach. At November’s Dubai Air Show, Emirates announced a US$15 billion (AED55 billion) order for 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, with the first aircraft scheduled to join the airline’s fleet in 2022. “Some of the aircraft will be replacements so that we maintain a young and efficient fleet, and others will power our future network growth,” explains HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Airline Group, Chairman and Chief Executive. “We see the 787 as a great complement to our B777 and A380 fleet, providing us with more flexibility and a greater spread of seat segments when it comes to overall capacity to serve a range of destinations as we develop our global route network.”

Emirates’ Dreamliners will be delivered in a mix of two and three-cabin class configurations, seating between 240 and 330 passengers. The acquisition of the new Dreamliners will allow Emirates increased capacity on short haul routes, opening up more avenues into some of Europe’s hottest destinations, while at the same time building on Dubai’s status as a hub connecting passengers to multiple onward destinations. Kevin McAllister, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) said of the new Dreamliner acquisition: “This will open new destinations around the world for Emirates and will deliver Emirates the lowest cost-per-seat mile and the most efficient twin-aisle in the skies.” Another landmark move last year saw Emirates join forces with sister airline flydubai. Both airlines continue to be managed independently, but now leverage each other’s network to scale up operations. The new model gives flydubai customers access to Emirates’ destinations spanning six continents, while Emirates’ customers can open up flydubai’s regional network. The current combined network of both airlines comprises more than 200 unique destinations. In November, the duo announced another 16 destinations where Emirates’ passengers can travel on a single ticket, including Zanzibar, Kathmandu and Kilimanjaro. By 2022,

Dreamliners will play a key role in Emirates’ future strategy


259 the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft. Emirates President, Sir Tim Clark says: “We are thrilled with the positive response from travellers. We have witnessed strong demand for travel from Europe and the United States to South Asian destinations. “This partnership is an unprecedented opportunity for both airlines to unleash the combined power of their networks, offering travellers greater choice and flexibility when planning their trips.” Emirates reported a 77 percent rise in net profit in the first-half of the 2017-18 financial year, a result the airline attributes to a re-jigged strategy designed to “address our challenges without compromising on quality and service”. A spokesman for the airline says: “We have taken a number of measures to address revenue and costs and the resilience of our business model continues to prove that we can weather the challenges. We are also seeing the benefit from various initiatives across the company to enhance our capability and efficiency with new technologies, digital customer-facing enhancements, and new ways of working, as the business adopts new technologies, streamlined business processes and re-allocated resources.”



42 A380-800S; 40 B787-10 DREAMLINERS 14 B777-300ERS; 35 B777-8S; 115 B777-9S

With a state-of-the art hub at Dubai International Airport (above), and an excellent in-flight offering, including its renowned business class facilities (below), Emirates is well-placed for continued growth



Etihad Airways hopes to tap new routes with its fleet of B787 Dreamliners



AE flag carrier Etihad Airways has endured significant challenges over the past 24 months, largely resulting from its decision to make equity investments in airlines such as Alitalia and Air Berlin, hoping it would broaden its reach into untapped regional markets in Europe and beyond. The company reported a loss of US$1.87 billion (AED6.86 billion) in 2016, attributed to these investments and a one-off impairment on aircraft. In November 2017, CEO Peter Baumgartner told media it was time to “take a reality check as we enter the lifecycle of where we want to be tomorrow, five years, 10 years from now”. Crucially, this involves the airline revamping its route strategy to prioritise point-to-point markets, rather than its long-held approach of leveraging Abu Dhabi’s geographical advantage as an international hub. According to Baumgartner, the revised strategy will “drive higher yields and maximise support to the Abu Dhabi economy”. The airline’s growing fleet of B787 Dreamliners places it in a strong position to develop direct





10 A320NEOS; 26 A321NEOS; 40 A350-900S; 22 A3501000S; 8 B777-8S; 17 B777-9S; 24 B787-9 DREAMLINERS; 30 B787-10 DREAMLINERS; 1 B777F 78


Etihad Airways hub, Abu Dhabi International Airport

routes within 10 hours’ flying time of the UAE capital, as does its focus on new innovations designed to enhance the passenger experience such as WI-FLY+, the next-generation superfast inflight Wi-Fi service it is developing in conjunction with partners including UAE satellite operator Yahsat and telco du. Etihad previewed the new technology at November’s Dubai Air Show, wowing delegates with Wi-Fi speeds of 50Mbps, which enabled them to access HD streaming content from service providers such as YouTube or Netflix. Etihad has also announced crucial new partnerships, including with Chinese retail giant, Alibaba Group Holding Limited, and its powerhouse offshoot, Ant Financial Services Group. Under the agreement, Alibaba and Etihad Guest, the Abu Dhabi airline’s loyalty programme, will explore enhanced benefits including points conversion to Etihad Guest Miles, reciprocal benefits across premium tiers and the ability to redeem Etihad Guest Miles for Alibaba products. Alibaba Group and Etihad Airways have also entered into a brand partnership agreement to


integrate the Alibaba Group of Brands with Etihad Airways’ premium leisure travel experiences, while Alibaba and Etihad Cargo will co-operate to enhance cross-border air cargo delivery solutions. Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Executive Vice President – Commercial, said: “We believe cooperation with Alibaba Group will better consolidate our product and offer service advantages for a convenient and refined travel experience, as well as enhance our brand awareness and jointly optimise our products and services.” The airline has also announced a slew of new routes to take its existing operations to the next level. New destinations covered by Etihad now include Azerbaijan, as well as enhanced services to Jordan and Casablanca. Meanwhile, some key changes in personnel in recent months are also set to breathe fresh focus into forward strategies. James Hogan, previous Etihad Aviation Group President stepped down last year, replaced earlier

this year with Tony Douglas, former Group CEO at the UK’s Ministry of Defence, as Group Chief Executive Officer. His Excellency Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of Etihad Aviation Group, said of the crucial appointment: “We are delighted to have Tony to lead Etihad. He has guided the transformation of large organisations in the UAE and the UK, and he understands the UAE and the region. He is also deeply knowledgeable about commercial aviation and keenly familiar with Etihad’s challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing industry.” Douglas added: “Etihad is a force in global aviation that must continue to adapt and evolve on its own and with industry partners. With new infrastructure and attractions like the expanded airport, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Global Market, Etihad has a central role in supporting the UAE’s position as a global hub of transportation, tourism, commerce, and culture.”

Peter Baumgartner, CEO, Etihad Airways.

FLYING HIGH flydubai placed a US$27 billion order for 225 B737 MAX aircraft at November’s Dubai Air Show


61 97 S

ince its launch just under a decade ago, flydubai has rapidly grown to become one of the region’s largest low-cost carriers, with a fleet of 61 aircraft flying to 97 destinations in 44 countries. And despite challenging market conditions, the airline’s growth looks set to accelerate after placing a massive US$27 billion (AED99 billion) order for 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at November’s Dubai Air Show. According to flyDubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith, the aircraft order will support the airline’s “vision to strengthen trade and tourism links across our network and enhance the connectivity of Dubai’s aviation hub. It will support the airlines continued expansion within a geographic area that is home to 2.5 billion people”. This is the third aircraft order placed by the airline with Boeing in its eight-year history and brings the total number of aircraft flydubai has on order to 320. “The new aircraft will give us the flexibility and versatility to continue our success story and


provide customers with an uncompromised flying experience. The new order is also in AIRCRAFT ORDERS: line with our strategy of maintaining a young and efficient fleet,” says Al Ghaith. 225 BB737 MAXS flydubai is also already benefiting from the new Emirates partnership inked last year. 95 B737-800S Al Ghaith says the agreement has helped “scale up our operations, accelerate growth and at the same time, offer customers unmatched travel options”, adding that both airlines are “aligning their systems and operations at Dubai International Airport to ensure that there is a seamless travel experience”. Looking forward, Al Ghaith says flydubai will continue to focus its efforts on three key areas: “improvement in our cost performance, a broadening of our distribution and optimisation of our network”. “We have also embraced new technologies to improve costs through dynamic yield management and using real-time data to enhance Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai the customer journey,” he adds. ATM PREVIEW 2018





audia, the flag carrier for Saudi Arabia, perhaps faces the greatest challenges and opportunities as major change sweeps through the nation under reforming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As the country adopts new financial models, and fresh attractions are set to expand visitor opportunities well beyond the staple of religious tourism, the airline is well positioned to take advantage of increased tourism numbers. Saudia capped a successful 2017 by being named World’s Most Improved Airline at the industry-leading Skytrax Awards. The airline received the highest ratings improvements across key categories, including staff service,

and saw its global ranking rise 40 percent from its 2016 position to 51st. Looking to provide for increased visitor demand, Saudia is also adding 13 B787-9 Dreamliners to its fleet as part of an overhaul. Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser says the award was recognition for the airline’s efforts to transform its business as part of its Saudi Vision 2020 Strategy & Transformation Plan. “Saudia has invested in new aircraft, product innovation and service enhancements with a single purpose — to provide all of our guests with the highest level of hospitality and comfort in the skies,” Al-Jasser adds.


141 80 141






28 42




15 B777-300ERS 13 B787-9 DREAMLINERS 35 A320/A321 NEOS 80




he turnaround at Bahrain’s Gulf Air is one of the commercial aviation industry’s greatest success stories. After being close to the brink of financial collapse, the airline launched a restructuring strategy in 2013 that successfully resulted in record reductions in its annual losses. Gulf Air is now looking to expand its services with the addition of new aircraft for its fleet. In 2016, the airline placed orders for 45 aircraft with Boeing and Airbus at a total value of US$7.6 billion (AED27.9 billion). Now, with a newly

appointed Chief Executive (former Croatia Airlines president and CEO Krešimir Kučko) at the helm, and five new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners joining its fleet this year, the airline is poised for success in 2018. Deputy CEO Waleed Abdulhameed Al Alawi says: “The incoming aircraft represent an important step in our strategic direction towards modernising Gulf Air’s fleet, enhancing passenger comfort and broadening our network as we look to strengthen our presence in all corners of the globe.”


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As Dubai lays strong foundations for the future, a diverse, sustainable and smart tourism offering looks set to carry the emirate through 2020 and far beyond


seismic shift is taking place across the Middle East, one that has seen nations plot a new course away from traditional revenue streams to diversify their offering and seek out new avenues for growth. Particularly adept at changing with the times, Dubai is leading the charge with a bold series of strategies that covers everything from establishing the city as a top international knowledge hub and meeting sustainable goals, to establishing itself as a smart city and broadening the tourism base. Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) is at

the forefront of much of this forward strategy, while also promoting the emirate as a leading destination around the world. At its helm is CEO Issam Kazim who is pushing ahead with ambitious developments to future proof the city. And with Expo 2020 Dubai just over two years away, his team’s efforts couldn’t come at a more crucial time, with all eyes are on the emirate as it prepares to host one of the biggest events on the world stage. Kazim says: “A key challenge for Dubai is changing perceptions of the city. Many people know Dubai for its malls, skyscrapers and high-end luxury. While





all of these factors play an important role in attracting visitors to the city, there are many other facets to the city that we need to let the world know about. “Events like Arabian Travel Market play an important role in telling the industry, and in turn potential visitors, about the opportunities and expertise here.” WELCOMING THE WORLD With the emirate now embarking on the final stages of the journey towards 2020, not only does it mean preparing for the expo, but also meeting the ambitious tourism targets laid out in Dubai Tourism Vision 2020 – a strategy that at its simplest aims to attract 20 million visitors per year to the emirate by 2020. That plan is firmly on track with 2017 tourist arrivals up 6.2 percent year-on-year and a total of 15.79 million visitors coming into the emirate to set a new record.

Building on this momentum, Expo 2020 Dubai also promises to be a major catalyst for visitor growth expected to attract 25 million visitors from more than 180 countries between October 2020 and April 2021. While the shortterm goal is to deliver an exceptional six-month event, just as important is the creation of a meaningful legacy for the UAE as attention turns to the footprint that the expo will leave behind as a springboard to long-term growth. Kazim says: “With its theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo 2020 Dubai will demonstrate the UAE and Dubai’s ability to capitalise on the ‘third industrial revolution’ and make the most of global and home-grown talent and human capital. “Expo 2020 Dubai will have an impact well beyond the six months of the event itself, and is set to leave a legacy that will further encourage the growth of a

Dubai has its sights firmly set on establishing itself as one of the world’s premier tourism destinations







knowledge economy. Part of that legacy will be the expo’s main site which will be transformed into an ecosystem that connects businesses in the transport and logistics, travel and tourism, real estate and education sectors.” WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE During this year’s edition of Arabian Travel Market, Dubai Tourism will be highlighting its progress towards its 2020 goals, as well as its vision for the years to come. At the heart of this strategy is a shift towards establishing the emirate as a knowledge hub. Kazim explains: “We aim to make the UAE among the best countries in the world. One of the priorities is to transition to a knowledge-based economy, promoting innovation, as well as research and development. “Dubai has a history of knowledge exchange with its origin in the majlis, a cornerstone of Emirati civilisation. The majlis has been the setting for

business meetings from the heyday of the silk route. Dubai’s strategic location, excellent connectivity and extensive business services, which have all helped it become the centre of trade and commerce for the Middle East, have also enabled the city to become a knowledge hub. We already consider Dubai to be a major knowledge centre and ongoing efforts will only serve to enhance this status,” he adds. The Dubai government has identified seven key sectors where efforts to establish a knowledge hub are focused: healthcare, education, technology, transport, clean energy, water and space. In recent years major new announcements across the sectors is testament to the progress being made. In early 2017, Dubai Healthcare City free zone announced plans for the second phase of its US$108.9 million (AED400 million) expansion at Al Jadaf. The first hospital in the development, the 110-bed Clemenceau Medical Centre


Large-scale conferences and events play an important role in fostering a knowledge economy, bringing new talent, ideas and expertise. Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, is tasked with creating the right conditions for the city’s meeting and event industry to grow. Kazim says: “Dubai Business Events has aligned its focus with key sectors for a knowledge economy and is actively pursuing international business events within these sectors to support the policy. “International conferences and association events play an important role in both developing Dubai as a knowledge hub and attracting more business visitors to the city. They contribute to knowledge transfer and exchange of best practices between international and UAE-based experts and scientists. “The industry can benefit from the sharing and exchange of ideas, and knowledge, which ultimately helps in building a legacy for business events. As more associations and organisations recognise the advantages of holding their events in Dubai, the emirate’s hotels, airlines and venue operators, as well



as other stakeholders, stand to benefit from the increase in visitor numbers.” DBE Director Steen Jakobsen and his team are working side-by-side with the Dubai government to realise the knowledge hub master plan. He says: “The government has seen the positive effect that business events can have on driving a knowledge economy forward. Diversification of the economy in Dubai has been very successful already, today oil only accounts for less than five percent of our GDP. The government’s innovation policy sets out the parameters for this transition to a knowledge economy. We are aligning our efforts to ensure that we are bringing in business events within the seven key sectors to ensure that we can support the policy, and that the policy can in turn support what we are doing.” In a bid to attract the brightest minds to the emirate, DBE launched a new body dedicated to creating the conditions for securing large-scale events and associations.



Expo 2020 Dubai is poised to play a major role in furthering the emirate’s knowledge hub goals

will pioneer a host of advances, such as robotic surgery, as well as offering a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services when it opens this year. Within the space sector, ambitious plans have also been announced that, while at first appear lofty, are actually rooted in developing talent a little closer to home. The headline-grabbing Mars 2117 Project aims to establish a human settlement on the planet by 2117, but a key part of the plan is the development of the skills of Emiratis, encouraging more locals to enter scientific research fields in the decades ahead. Turning to the technology sector and Dubai has set its sights on becoming a leading smart city. The strategy cuts across three main areas, Smart Life, Smart Economy and Smart Tourism with

the development of data analytics at the core. The Smart Dubai Roadmap has identified over 500 smart services and initiatives already in place – with digital governance accounting for many. Initiatives include a conference with 40 international hackers at Dubai International Airport to explore “happiness hacks” for a smart city, gleaning insights on how the latest technologies can be best used to ensure the smooth running of a city. Recognising the great strides already made in these and other key areas, Kazim says: “In all these sectors, we have already succeeded in attracting international businesses and academic institutions, as well as making great strides in developing local talent and entrepreneurs. “Across these sectors, Dubai’s free zones which offer concessions and incentives, including 100 percent foreign ownership, are playing an important role in bringing in investment and fostering growth. “I think in the years to come we will see Dubai contribute even more to these practices and breakthroughs across all sectors around the world.”



VOX POPS OLIVIER HARNISCH Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group Arabian Travel Market not only showcases the UAE’s dynamic tourism and hospitality sector, but also presents robust opportunities for expanding business reach. Emaar Hospitality Group’s participation has enabled us to showcase our hotel brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts and Rove Hotels – to the industry and to forge strong partnerships. We look forward to ATM 2018 to strengthen our presence and brand appeal further in newer international markets. Visit stand: HC0220



Director General, Ajman Tourism Development Department

Chief Commercial Officer DXB Entertainments

Ajman Tourism Development Department plan to make the most of our time at ATM to promote our new tourism developments since we were here last year. Over the past 12 months some major new projects opened such as the Radisson Blu Hotel, the first five-star hotel in the centre of Ajman, as well as launching new activities at Al Zorah, a premier mixed-use community where we have launched seaplane, kayaking tours, and the Pearl Journey. Looking ahead we will be focusing on sustainability our tourism offering.

As the largest theme park destination in the region, Dubai Parks and Resorts is continually creating a new itinerary through our amazing and unique family entertainment experiences for the 20 million tourists that Dubai is on course to attract by 2020. We have some exciting new campaigns that we will be running throughout 2018, and it gives us great pleasure to be heading back to Arabian Travel Market to announce some of the exciting new developments we have to our tour and travel partners across the industry.

Visit stand: ME3540

Visit stand: ME3440



Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Dusit International

Managing Director, JC Travel Professionals

CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism & Development Authority

We return to ATM to showcase our award-winning hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, plus our growing portfolio of properties worldwide. Our hotels set to open in 2018 include Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore, dusitD2 City Centre Bahrain and dusitD2 Thimpu Bhutan. We have many updates to share and look forward to explaining more about our gracious hospitality, inspired by authentic Thai values, across all of our global destinations.

As a central point of the travel trade community, ATM 2018 will focus heavily on new service technologies. This is certainly how we’ve differentiated ourselves in Australia and New Zealand – by providing our clients with new technologies that simplify their lives, without taking away our award-winning offline service. At this year’s ATM we will launch Alienta, the most user-friendly and content-rich online booking tool that the industry has seen.



Visit stand: HC1030

Visit stand: AS2210

At ATM 2018, Ras Al Khaimah will showcase tourism developments, including the growth of our adventure and sports travel offering, which now features the world’s longest zipline in Jebel Jais. As part of our ‘Destination 2019’ strategy, we are promoting the destination’s unique natural assets and delivering various exciting activities and accommodation for outdoor enthusiasts – from hiking and biking trails to planned luxury mountain resorts.

Visit stand: ME3510




Vice President, Marketing and Product Management, Saudi Arabian Airlines

CEO, Seven Tides International

CEO, TIME Hotels

During the last 18 months there has been a lot happenning at Saudia. We have added to our fleet with modern new aircraft, innovated our cabin designs, enhanced our onboard dining offering, added substantial new entertainment content and continued to expand our international route network – all to improve the passenger experience. ATM is a great meeting point to connect with our business partners and collaborate on exciting new travel and tourism developments in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

We expect to be very busy this year at ATM. We have recently launched DUKES Dubai, the latest Seven Tides Hospitality hotel, which offers the essence of Great British hospitality. We plan to make several new announcements during this year’s show – highlighting our commitment to Dubai’s tourism industry and underscoring our growth plans. As a UAE-based developer we’re extremely proud to be part of ATM, particularly as we look towards Expo 2020 and the incredible opportunity it presents.

The main theme of Arabian Travel Market 2018, ‘Responsible Tourism’, sits perfectly with our brand, which boasts a multi-award-winning and growing roster of corporate social responsibility initiatives. ATM also gives us an excellent chance to network with our trade partners and peers, the media and our stakeholders. We look forward to highlighting our pipeline of properties, with new openings planned throughout the MENA region, and to sharing all of our news and highlights at this important industry gathering.

Visit stand: ME4310




Visit stand: HC0260

Visit stand: HC1255










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05—07.11.2018 EXCEL LONDON

Join us this November for an inspiring line up of industry experts sharing unrivalled insights into next generation tech strategies and showcasing their tried and tested case studies and ideas. The exhibition and conference will provide you with actionable takeaways, as well as inspiration for the future.

Visit Register your interest today!

ATM Preview 2018  
ATM Preview 2018