Tourism leaders speaking at ATM 2023 say luxury travel operators must view sustainability as a long-term investment rather than a short-term cost7 min read
- Panelists agree that decarbonization will require significant financial backing, but warn the luxury travel industry cannot afford to ignore sustainability
- Experts say guests no longer see sustainability as a compromise within luxury travel, and are now demanding environmentally responsible offerings
- Luxury brands must also focus on how they can positively impact surrounding communities socially and economically, according to speakers at ATM 2023
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2 May 2023: Rather than cost, the Middle East’s luxury travel sector should focus on the long-term gains offered by decarbonization, waste reduction, and community initiatives. That was the assessment of experts speaking on the opening day of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023, which will run at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) until Thursday 4 May.
‘Sustainable Luxury: At What Cost?’ included a range of insights into how luxury travel is leading the tourism industry’s sustainable change in the Middle East. Moderated by Joe Mortimer, Editor-at-Large at Destinations of the World News, panelists included
Nadia Ibrahim, Member of the Board of Directors of the UN Global Compact; Amir Golbarg, Senior Vice President of Operations – Middle East & Africa at Minor Hotels; Candice D’Cruz, VP of Luxury Brands at Marriott International; and William Harley-Fleming, Vice President of Operations for JA The Resort and Indian Ocean.
Commenting on the growing demand for sustainable offerings among consumers, the UN Global Compact’s Ibrahim said: “Luxury and sustainability have not always gone hand in hand, but this is changing. We are encountering a new generation of travellers that wants high-end experiences that do not compromise sustainability. This is why airlines, hotels, travel agencies and tourist destinations are thinking about how sustainability can be integrated into their existing services, and how it can be used to attract more customers.”
Referencing the approach Minor Hotels’ Anantara brand has taken to sustainable luxury, Golbarg said: “Globalisation opened the doors to the world, but I think localization is now equally important. We took the decision to go indigenous as a lot of the costs associated with sustainability relate to the importation of goods. It’s all about how you are benefitting the communities in which you operate. We need to shift our focus away from short-term costs towards long-term gains.”
Marriott International’s D’Cruz told attendees these considerations are increasingly reflected by consumers. “We are seeing that luxury travellers want to spend more time really connecting with the places they visit. They also want to be involved with brands. It’s no longer a one-way conversation, and if you’re having two-way, how transparent are you being? Luxury consumers tend to be less forgiving; they want to connect with brands that reflect their values, and sustainability is definitely one of those values.”
JA The Resort and Indian Ocean’s Harley-Fleming emphasized the necessity of positive action, noting there is a genuine business case for sustainability. “This is not ‘Plan B’,” he said. “It’s not a choice anymore; it’s something we need to do. The cost of not [investing in sustainability] can adversely affect your business and its reputation. And at the end of the day, our industry does generate jobs, so we’ve got to act right now.”
Day one of ATM 2023 featured 20 sessions across the Global Stage, Travel Tech Stage, and Sustainability Hub. Other highlights from the day included the Technology: The Enabler of Sustainable Travel session, the funding of sustainability, and Enhancing the Customer Experience Through AI. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance also touched on the importance of protecting the locations, livelihoods and communities in which hotels are based, in the Achieving Net Positive Hospitality session.
The 30th edition of ATM is taking place as part of Arabian Travel Week (1-10 May 2023), a festival of events dedicated to enabling industry professionals from all over the world to collaborate and capitalize on market opportunities through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches, and networking events.
Those attending ATM 2023 in person can get involved in the conversation online by using the hashtag #ATMDubai when posting on social media channels.
ATM 2023 is being held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) 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.
The latest ATM news stories are available at https://hub.wtm.com/category/press/atm-press-releases/.
To register for ATM 2023, please log on to: https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb/enquire.html.
For more information, log on to wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html
About Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now in its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 24,000 visitors and hosted over 31,000 participants including 1,600 exhibitors and attendees from 151 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai
Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html
About Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums. https://www.wtm.com/arabian-travel-week/en-gb.html
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RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities, and organizations. We elevate the power of face-to-face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products, and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.rxglobal.com
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World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals, and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts. Next live event: Monday 6 to 8 November 2023 at ExCel London http://london.wtm.com/
WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents, and exhibitors in 2022. Next event: Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil http://latinamerica.wtm.com/
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019, and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.
Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/
About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel, and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.
WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/
02.05. 2023 Stockholm