This year’s Arab Travel Market 2021 is now closed, ending the first major trade fair for personal travel and tourism in the Covid-19 era. It took place from May 16 to May 19 at the Dubai World Trade Center and brought together exhibitors from 62 countries.

The event sent a big signal that Dubai is a safe place to do business and travel. On each of the four days there were big stories from the event, from the announcement of new hotels to further details about ongoing mega-projects. Read on to find out what made the headlines.

As the Maldives showed tourism is possible

On the first day of the event, our Deputy Editor Kohinoor Sahota attended a panel with Thoyyib Mohamed, Executive Director of the Maldives Tourism Board, who went in depth on the future of tourism on Archipelago. Mohamed had many enlightening things to say on how to resume tourism, but most of all he emphasized the importance of vaccinations in bringing the industry back from the sidelines. Click here to read this story.

A new look and big projects for Ras Al Khaimah

Here in the United Arab Emirates, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) presented their new offers at the ATM. The Northern Emirate wants to focus on sustainability, wellness and adventure. Over the next year, the emirate will expand its 6,700 keys and add 2,000 more, including 100 on Mount Jabal Bil Ays. You can find out anything RAKTDA’s plans here, including two new ones Glamping resorts from Kerten Hospitality.

Effects of travel from the UK

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort GM spoke to us about what hotels in the area should look like for local travelers to replace the UK market now. To read his mind Go to this link.

Massive projects in Saudi Arabia

With a leap into the future, we are going through one of the largest giga projects in Saudi Arabia – Neom. Once done, it will be a half trillion dollar super city with no cars or traffic, and it will be all within five minutes. Find out more about the destination here.

Another Saudi giga project that took center stage at the ATM was the Red Sea Project, a rejenative tourism center scheduled to open in 2030. The hotelier team heard directly from the company that we can expect to hear about them Hotel brands will be on site for the next 60 days. It was also revealed how the Red Sea Project will limit the annual visitors to the giant Giga project to one million. CEO Jean Pagano revealed that this was a deliberate departure from the world Pre-Covid trend of “over-tourism”.

Saudi Arabia was one of the largest ATM markets and one of the most hopeful this year. The Kingdom officials are confident that KSA remains on the right track 100 million visitors by 2030. Executives from across the kingdom met during the Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit, with Dr. Afnan Alshuaiby particularly highlighted the bright future of Saudi women. She went on to say that the sky is the limit for Saudi women in tourism.

IHG Hotels and Resorts focused on hotel openings and announced on the ATM that at least seven “best-in-class” hotels will open in the US Kingdom for the next five years.

With this focus on Saudi’s leisure market, we were still excited to see the state of religious tourism that Millennium Hotels said will recover faster than any other segment.

New Hotels and Success Stories in the UAE

From the future to the past, we spoke to Thomas Grundner, Vice President Sales and Marketing at JA Resorts and Hotels, about how the brand is still strong after 40 years. Click here for more.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts announced that the Mirdif Hills Hotel is due to open this year. The property brings hotel rooms and apartments to the residential area near Dubai International Airport. Millennium Place Mirdif Hills wanted to open for the first time in 2018. It is part of the larger AED 3 billion Mirdif Hills project in Dubai, which is building the area as a hub for retail, hospitality and hospitality. Click here to access our conversation with the GM.

On the subject of data and personalization: It is no longer enough for hotel groups to just collect customer data. Now they have to adapt it to the specific needs of their guests and want to use it. This is the main takeaway from The panel from Hotelier Middle East on the topic of ATMs 2021.

To learn more about the UAE hospitality and tourism market, Click here Access to the speech by Dubai’s head of tourism.

Promise in the Bahrain market

Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President – Operations & Development, EMEA & India; The Senior Vice President – Group Human Resources & Talent Development, Swiss-Belhotel International, had a lot to say at this year’s ATM. During our time with him we have the current status of the Bahrain Hospitality Market, and the future of his hotel group.

Jumeirah enters Oman

Former director general of Jumeirah’s Zabeel House, The Greens, Luke James said he intended to foster a similar community spirit in his new Muscat property. James was named general manager of Jumeirah Muscat Bay in April. When it opens later this year, it will be the group’s debut in Oman, including 206 keys spread across rooms, suites, and villas with their own private pools. Access our interview with him here.

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