Crystal Magazine May 06, 2024

Strong representation from the Kingdom expected at Arabian Travel Market 2024 as Saudi Arabia increases its 2030 visitor target to 150 million

Saudi Arabia is on course to welcome an estimated 30 million overnight tourists this year, according to research conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of ICAEW. 

Delegates from around the world are preparing to capitalise on this momentum and explore opportunities within the Kingdom’s thriving tourism sector at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from Monday 6 to Thursday 9 May. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s government revised its combined domestic and international 2030 visitor target upwards from the previous 100 million to 150 million.

 Amid sustained investment in its tourism, hospitality and leisure segments, as well as a slew of ambitious gigaprojects, the Kingdom aims to increase the economic contribution of its tourism sector to 10% of national GDP by the end of this decade. Representing almost a 50% increase in KSA exhibitor participation, ATM 2024 will host a selection of high-profile exhibitors from Saudi Arabia, including SAUDIA, flynas, NEOM, Dur Hospitality, AMSA Hospitality and the Royal Commission for AlUla. First-time exhibitors will comprise almost 17% of the total Saudi participation, which includes Cruise Saudi, Tabuk Investment and Tourism Co., Al Badiah Transportation, Sixth Gulf and Fairmont Mekka Clock Tower, among others.

 KSA will represent a key focus for attendees as policymakers, industry leaders and travel professionals from around the world share insights, forge new relationships and showcase cutting-edge innovations with the potential to drive further growth within this burgeoning tourism market. Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “We plan to shine a spotlight on this exciting market at ATM 2024 with a dedicated Saudi Village, which will be highlighted on the exhibition floor and will consist of a full showcase of Saudi products. With significant interest in this market, there will be a range of panel discussions that will enable attendees to identify and capitalise on new opportunities in the Kingdom.” Data released by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism highlights a surge in inbound visitors in the first half of 2023. The Kingdom welcomed 14.6 million tourists during this period, representing a 142% year-on-year increase. A pronounced uptick was also recorded in the country’s domestic tourism segment, with a 16% rise in spending and an average stay length of 6.3 nights – up from 4.6 nights during the corresponding period of 2022.

 Saudi Arabia’s buoyant economy looks set to propel growth across the wider Gulf, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report. The country’s economy is expected to expand by 4.1% this year, contributing to an anticipated 3.6% rise in the combined GDP of GCC countries during 2024. 

“The Kingdom is working diligently to diversify its economy in preparation for the post-oil era, and segments such as tourism, aviation and hospitality – not to mention leisure, entertainment and events – are playing a major role in this transition,” Curtis added. “We are looking forward to welcoming a diverse range of exhibitors and delegates from Saudi Arabia to ATM 2024, and we know that industry leaders from around the world will be keen to gain further insights into this thriving market throughout this year’s show.” In line with its theme, ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’, the 31st edition of ATM will once again host policymakers, industry leaders and travel professionals from across the Middle East and beyond, encouraging them to forge new relationships, exchange knowledge and identify innovations that can reshape the future of global travel and tourism.

 From startups to established brands, the upcoming show will highlight how innovators enhance customer experiences, drive efficiencies, and accelerate progress towards a net-zero future for the industry. Building on ATM 2023’s ‘Working Towards Net Zero’ theme, environmentally responsible travel will represent another key focus this year. Informed by the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which took place in Dubai last year, ATM 2024 will explore how innovation can be leveraged to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating a greener travel and tourism sector for future generations. More than 40,000 travel trade professionals, including 30,000 visitors, attended the 30th edition of ATM in May 2023, setting a new show record. 

The exhibition attracted more than 2,100 exhibitors and representatives from over 155 countries, providing a global platform for the unveiling of ATM’s net-zero pledge.

 Held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, ATM 2024’s strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Destination Partner; Emirates, Official Airline Partner; IHG Hotels & Resorts, Official Hotel Partner; and Al Rais Travel, Official DMC Partner.

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