Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022 opened its doors for the 29th edition in Dubai. The Middle East's largest travel and tourism exhibition brought together global decision-makers in the sector seeking out new growth horizons for the industry.
This year, the event attracted 1500 exhibitors, representatives from 158 destinations and 20,000 attendees. The focus was on future worldwide tourism investments and finance strategies.
ATM 2022 was 85% larger than last year, with attention shifting from a post-pandemic recovery to future opportunities.
Danielle Curtis is the Exhibition Director for the Arabian Travel Market.
“We've basically been working hard to gather the momentum over the last 12-months and focus on the future trajectory, the future growth.”
The event is also a showcase for countries hoping to appeal to new tourist markets, with annual attendees from European nations of Greece. and Germany to countries like Jamaica, who were taking part for the first time.
Director of Spain Tourism Office Daniel Rosado Bayon said it is a great opportunity to promote national tourism to a global market.
“We have amazing experiences that can be done throughout the year and not only in summer, but throughout the year and throughout the country. We have many different things that we can do from beaches to ski resorts. And we can say Spain is a world in a country.”
The International Air Transport Association, IATA, expects overall traveller numbers to reach 4 billion in 2024, exceeding pre-pandemic levels, which was a boost for exhibitors.
ATM Exhibition Director Danielle Curtis said this was illustrated by the new products on the show floor, from airports, airlines and hotel offerings.
Meanwhile, J.Lindeberg, the Scandinavian Fashion Forward Sports Company, has opened a flagship store at Dubai Mall.
Their CEO, Hans Christian Meyer, is a fashion industry expert who spent over ten years at Ralph Lauren and served as CEO of Tiger of Sweden before joining J.Lindeberg.
He said footfall and visitor numbers made Dubai the first choice for their global flagship store.
“We believe it's the right time now to keep investing in the brand. Dubai Mall, pre-pandemic had 90 million visitors, and we're seeing that it's bouncing back, that 98% of those tourists are coming into the Dubai mall.”
J.Lindeberg sales exceeded €86 million in 2021. CEO Hans-Christian Meyer said part of the success came from creating brand desirability.
“We're selling a dream. We're selling, you know, emotions when people are interacting with the J.Lindeberg brand. And that's everything from design, quality, and sustainability. It's how we are showing up in our marketing campaigns, the way we are communicating the brand. And again, from a customer perspective, how are we interacting with the customers?”
Elsewhere, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs believe they found the future of aviation. Start-Up specialising in electric-powered aircraft are hoping to solve the problem of urban gridlock in cities around the world.
As urban traffic increases entrepreneurs are looking to a future in which commuters use air taxis to bypass busy roads. Companies such as Archer, Joby and Wisk are working on electric-powered aircraft that take off and land vertically, like helicopters then propel forward like planes.
Silicon Valley start-up Xwing specialises in making standard aircraft capable of flying safely without pilots, to turn commuting by air into a cheaper and more efficient way to travel.
Xwing CEO, Marc Piette said they like to think they are building the future of aviation.
“We're right now converting aircraft into pilotless aircraft so they can be flown and manned and integrated in the airspace seamlessly.”
Potential problems of electric powered and pilotless aircraft include establishing infrastructure in cities and creating a mindset change in passengers, especially in terms of safety.
Ryan Olson is an Xwing pilot but he does not fly the aircraft, instead, he observes the robot in-flight as a safeguard.
“Unlike a human that does something differently every single time. I know after I've observed it so many times, it will do exactly the same thing, and I'm there to confirm that it's acting in the same manner it has before.”
Miami and Los Angeles are already exploring the potential of aerial ridesharing with hopes of operations running from 2024. One thing that could influence users is cost.
Xwing CEO Marc Piette said the autonomy can dramatically reduce the price per mile to fly.
“You can move away from flying buses, which is what the commercial aviation market is today, and to down the road flying taxis by being able to remove the pilot from the vehicle. You can shrink those vehicles and still keep a very low cost per seat mile.”
United Airlines has pre-ordered 200 Archer aircraft with a plan to use them for last-mile transportation from the airports they serve.
For more, please visit the Destination Dubai hub on Euronews.com.