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Travel and tourism industry leaders from across the Middle East support Arabian Travel Market’s 2023 theme ‘Working towards net zero’ with a raft of sustainable initiatives

Travel and tourism experts discuss reducing waste and environmentally responsible partnerships at ATM Advisory Board meeting
Travel and tourism experts discuss reducing waste and environmentally responsible partnerships at ATM Advisory Board meeting

ID HOTELIER - Travel and tourism experts from across the Middle East examined the challenges and opportunities that sustainable strategies should address, during the latest meeting of the ATM Advisory Board ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023, which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 1-4 May 2023.

The meeting, which took place at InterContinental Dubai – Festival City, saw senior representatives from Amadeus, Colliers International, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Dubai College of Tourism, Emaar Hospitality Group, Etihad Aviation Group, Farnek, Hilton, IGH Hotels and Resorts, the Royal Commission of AlUla, TIME Hotels, and Google join show organiser, RX, for an in-depth discussion about the upcoming edition of ATM.

In line with its theme of ‘Working Towards Net Zero’, ATM 2023 will see public and private sector experts from around the world gather in Dubai to explore the decarbonisation of global tourism and hospitality.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Next year’s show will be the 30th edition of ATM. To mark this significant milestone, our team plans to unveil a dedicated sustainability pledge for the exhibition, which will comprise 30 short- and long-term goals that we aim to achieve on our corporate journey to net zero.

“To bring to life the sustainable theme of ATM 2023, we are working closely with our exhibitors and partners to help catalyse sustainable change within the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector,” Curtis continued. “The insights offered during our Advisory Board meeting were immensely valuable and will help us to ensure that the show’s 30th edition is the most sustainable yet.”

ATM Advisory Board members explored a diverse range of ideas to raise awareness of sustainability during the 2023 edition, not only for the show itself but also for all participants. Items on the agenda included minimizing printed and plastic waste, working with environmentally responsible partners and more. ATM and its stakeholders will use future meetings to develop and implement a comprehensive suite of short- and long-term practical measures with the potential to achieve a positive impact on the environment.

According to Sustainable Travel International, tourism-related activities account for approximately 8% of worldwide carbon emissions. The ATM team will continue to work closely with its Advisory Board members in a bid to facilitate the leading role that the Middle East’s tourism and hospitality sector is playing in driving sustainable operations. Together, participants will highlight industry best practice and cutting-edge innovations with the potential to accelerate global decarbonisation.

Commenting on the many benefits offered by responsible tourism, Vasyl Zhygalo, Managing Director ME and Portfolio Director for WTM and IBTM at RX, said: “Sustainable operations clearly have a crucial role to play in mitigating the environmental impact of the travel sector globally, but – if approached in the right way – they can also offer a range of commercial advantages. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards are becoming increasingly important across all industries, with socially conscious investors using these criteria to manage their portfolios. Travel is no exception.

“The experience, expertise and insights offered by our Advisory Board members will play a vital role in ensuring that ATM 2023 provides a forum in which industry leaders from around the world can showcase innovations, exchange knowledge and help shape a truly sustainable tourism and hospitality sector for future generations,” he added.

In addition to representatives from RX, the ATM Advisory Board was attended by Jamel Chandoul, Senior Vice President – Middle East and Africa at Amadeus; Christopher Lund, Chief Executive Officer – MENA at Colliers International; Gregory Fuller, Associate Vice President – Brand and Content at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET); Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Developments and Investments at DET; Jeff Strachan, Director of Dubai College of Tourism; Mark Kirby, Chief Operating Officer – Head of Hospitality at Emaar Hospitality Group; Joerg Oppermann, Vice President of Hub and Midfield Operations at Etihad Aviation Group; Nadia Ibrahim, Head of Net Zero Hospitality at Farnek and Member of the Board of the UN Global Compact; Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Hilton; James Britchford, Vice President Commercial IMEA at IHG Hotels and Resorts; John Northen, Executive Director – Head of Hotels and Resorts at the Royal Commission of AlUla; Mohamed Awadalla, Chief Executive Officer of TIME Hotels; and Bilal Kabbani, Sector Lead Branding – Middle East and North Africa at Google.

Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the ATM 2023 conference programme will explore how innovative sustainable travel trends are likely to evolve, allowing delegates to identify growth strategies within key vertical sectors, while providing a platform for regional experts to explore a sustainable future ahead of COP28, which will take place next year at the Expo City Dubai.

ATM 2023 will also feature a sustainability category at its annual exhibitor awards for the first time. Exhibiting organisations will be recognised based on the extent to which they have considered the environmental impact of their stands, as well as their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

ATM 2023 is held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and its strategic partners include Dubai Tourism as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.

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