Saudi Arabia’s growing tourism sector will be one of over 40 key travel and tourism trends under the spotlight on Arabian Travel Market’s Global Stage – as more than 100 experts from across the spectrum of global hospitality gear up for three more days of interactive discussions, keynotes and industry briefings.
The Kingdom will see a vast expansion of its hotel and resort inventory during 2019, with approximately 9,000 keys of three- to five-star international supply projected to enter the market despite major cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah experiencing an overall drop in ADR during 2018.
While this new supply will place additional competitive pressure on hotels’ performance across the country, the predicted growth in airport passenger numbers across Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah and Al Khobar is expected to boost occupancy levels throughout 2019.
Discussing Saudi Arabia’s tourism potential, a seminar titled ‘Why Tourism is Saudi’s New ‘White Oil’ will take place on ATM 2019’s Global Stage from 14:50 to 16:00 tomorrow (Monday, 29 April).
With the overall number of annual tourist trips expected to increase to 93.8 million by 2023, according to Colliers International, panellists will discuss the opportunities related to these unprecedented growth projections, as well as the tourism sector’s potential to support Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification efforts.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “All available metrics point to incredible potential within Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector. Increases in air passenger numbers are predicted across the board in 2019, and the kingdom’s hospitality sector is investing in its future with significant boosts to capacity.
“New revenue channels such as travel and tourism have a crucial role to play in achieving the goals set out in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which is why it is so important for our industry to explore how we can work together to catalyse further development.”
Kicking off day two will be a session titled ‘The Big Picture – Who will sell travel best in the future?’. With the global travel landscape rapidly evolving and the lines between traditional and non-traditional travel retailers blurring, this session will discuss what the future holds for an industry where every major tech firm, social media channel and online retailer is fighting to sell travel and what it means for traditional providers as we look ahead to the next decade.
Debuting on the Global Stage this year will be the ATM Hotel Industry Summit which takes place from 14:40 to 17:00 on Tuesday 30th April. Consisting of four separate panel discussions, the summit will shed light on infrastructure developments, technologies and innovative concepts with the potential to increase efficiency and improve guest experience within the hotel segment.
As a younger generation of clientele with different preferences and budgetary requirements comes to the fore, panellists will explore up-and-coming hospitality hotspots in the Middle East, emerging trends such as mid-market resorts and lifestyle hotels, and an anticipated return to direct bookings.
Meanwhile, the Global Halal Tourism Summit will return for its third edition on Tuesday 30thApril from 11:00 to 13:00. The summit will explore the top trends within the Halal tourism sector as well as the growing role of technology in the Muslim space, including the digitalisation of the Umrah.
Curtis said: “This year’s edition of Arabian Travel Market will include a comprehensive programme of in-depth industry discussions, with topics ranging from emerging market segments to efficiency-boosting innovations.
“Not only will we be discussing new subjects such as Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning tourism sector, but we will also be revisiting previous focuses such as halal tourism. The inaugural ATM Hotel Industry Summit, meanwhile, will address everything from hotel infrastructure developments and investment opportunities to the digital innovations that are helping to transform guest accommodation in the Middle East.”
This year, the ATM Global stage will also host several high-profile speakers from the region’s aviation industry. From 12:10 to 13:10 on Monday, 29 April, Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, will offer insights into the Dubai-headquartered carrier’s growth strategy. Meanwhile, from 13:20 to 14:20 on Tuesday, 30 April, Adel Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia, will reflect on 15 years of success within the Gulf’s low-cost carrier segment.
In the Travel Tech Theatre, which is sponsored by Sabre Corporation this year – seminar sessions will explore how to positively change the perception of destinations using the power of social media as well as discussing how immersive technology will transform the visitor experience at mega events such as the upcoming Expo 2020.
And, in the Inspiration Theatres, expert panels will discuss how the travel and tourism industry can best reduce carbon emissions as well as the evolution of bespoke luxury travel and the opportunities that both medical and wellness tourism present today.
Other popular features still to come include the Digital Influencers’ Speed Networking, Best Stand Awards, Career in Travel and the Travel Agents’ Academy.