December 9, 2023

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Middle East consumers willing to pay more for sustainable, authentic luxury excursions and accommodation, as the industry prepares for ATM 2023

7 min read

  • One in 10 global travelers stayed in an eco-friendly luxury hotel in the last three years
  • 61% of UAE residents willing to pay more for sustainable travel experiences
  • Luxury travel event ILTM Arabia to run during days two and three of ATM 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 11 April 2023: Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration within the Middle East’s luxury travel sector, especially in the UAE where 61% of residents say they are willing to pay a premium for more responsible, eco-friendly, and sustainable tourism experiences. Trends and opportunities within the high-end travel segment will represent key focuses throughout the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which will run from 1-4 May 2023 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

According to YouGov’s Global Travel & Tourism Whitepaper 2023: Luxury travel post-pandemic, one in 10 consumers has stayed in luxury eco-friendly accommodation during the past three years. This trend is especially prevalent among high-income travelers, whose sustainable luxury hotel stays have increased by 50% during the same period.

The UAE topped global rankings in terms of the value placed on exploring, with almost two-thirds (58%) of respondents reporting that travel has become more important to them since the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of luxury travel priorities, a quarter of those living in the Emirates is looking for great entertainment, whereas 19% place the biggest emphasis on premium-quality accommodation when booking trips.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The Middle East has developed an unparalleled international reputation for luxury tourism, with consumers across the region placing a high value on bespoke, memorable, and environmentally responsible experiences. This is especially pertinent given ATM 2023’s theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Industry leaders will be showcasing the innovative ways in which they are delivering luxury, sustainable travel experiences across the Gulf and beyond.”

In addition to sustainable luxury travel, consumers’ appetite for authentic excursions is also on the rise within this segment. Over half (51%) of affluent tourists have sought more meaningful travel experiences since the pandemic, and more than a quarter (27%) are willing to pay extra for secluded villas and chalets. These figures coincide with growth across the Gulf’s travel industry. By 2028, the value of the UAE’s outbound sector is set to reach $30.5 billion, Saudi Arabia is on course to hit $27 billion, Kuwait is expected to grow to $17 billion, and Qatar is likely to exceed $13 billion.

Premium travel will be placed under the microscope at ATM 2023, as high-profile names from across the sector gather in Dubai to discuss luxury-related trends, challenges, and opportunities during the session entitled, Sustainable Luxury: At What Cost? Moderated by Joe Mortimer, Editor-at-Large at Destinations of the World News, speakers including Amir Golbarg, Senior Vice President Operations – Middle East & Africa at Minor Hotels; Candice D’Cruz, VP Luxury Brands at Marriott International; and Nadia Ibrahim, Member of the Board of Directors at the UN Global Compact, will discuss a range of industry-critical topics, such as the environmental impact of luxury hospitality and the most effective methods of carbon offsetting.

ATM 2023 will also see the return of International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Arabia 2023, a luxury-focused event dedicated to high-end destinations, premium accommodation, and bespoke tourism experiences, which will run on days two and three of the show. The upcoming edition of ILTM Arabia will deliver extensive networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities to participants, as 44 exhibitors engage with a select group of buyers catering to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) across the GCC and broader region.

ATM 2023 will feature an array of exclusive brands from the Middle East’s luxury hospitality segment, including Kerzner International’s Atlantis The Palm and Atlantis The Royal; Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts’ Burj Al Arab; Caesars Palace Dubai; Emaar Hospitality Group; and more. The ILTM Lounge will also host a range of international luxury exhibitors, such as Japan’s Hotel New Otani Tokyo Executive House ZEN; Adaaran Resorts Maldives; Switzerland’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection; France’s Airelles; and The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in the United States, among others.

The 30th edition of ATM will explore the future of sustainable travel in line with its theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the conference program 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 in November 2023 at Expo City Dubai.

The conference will also feature a sustainability category at its annual exhibitor awards for the first time. Exhibiting organizations will be recognized 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’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 the 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     

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

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

RELX About RELX

RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam, and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalization is approximately £33bn, €39bn, and $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalization can be found at http://www.relx.com/investors

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 its 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. They 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 worldwide. 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/

13.04.2023 Stockholm

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