Expo 2020, between October 2020 and April 2021, will bring together more than 180 nations and is expected to host an international audience of 25 million visitors.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “Early forecasts are that 70% of visitors will hail from outside of the UAE, representing the largest international visitor contribution in Expo history. While the short-term goal is to deliver an exceptional six-month event, we have secured a top panel who will discuss how Dubai and the wider UAE can capitalize on its success and ensure there is a lasting legacy.”
“Expo 2020 Dubai: The Legacy,” chaired by UAE broadcaster Richard Dean, kicks off proceedings at 1230 on Monday, April 24, the opening day of ATM 2017. Four VIP speakers have been confirmed to participate in the high-level discussion, including: Marjan Faraidooni, Vice President, Legacy Impact&Development, Expo 2020; Issam Kazim, CEO, DTCM; Anita Mehra, SVP Communications&Reputation, Dubai Airports; and Deidre Wells, OBE CEO UKinbound.
The session will assess the role of Expo 2020 in delivering the UAE government’s long-term vision for economic diversification. Panelists will discuss the core theme of sustainability as part of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Year of Sustainable Tourism Development; the potential legacy of the mega project; and the future of the UAE as a knowledge economy, a leading global city, and tourism destination.
Drawing reference from their unique professional perspectives, the panel will also outline the true impact of Expo 2020 on the UAE and the wider GCC’s travel, tourism and aviation industries, considering the big picture infrastructure and investments planned for the next 10 to 15 years.
Fitting perfectly with the theme of this year’s ATM - experiential travel - the Global Stage will also host a discussion entitled: “The Real Deal: Why Selling Local Experiences Matters,” on Tuesday, April 25, at 1620 hours. Confirmed speakers include: Andy Levey, Head of Marketing, La Perle; and Simon Casson, President – Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East&Africa, Four Seasons.
Press said: “Today’s travelers are seeking authentic destination experiences. They want to discover traditional cuisine; stay in real houses; shop in the back streets; immerse themselves in the culture; try off-the-beaten track adventures; take ‘insider’ tours; and live like locals. The rise of peer-to-peer booking sites like airbnb and local experiences portal, Triip.me, has proven this.
“Our panelists give hints and tips on how Middle East destinations can adapt to this trend, which is fast being adopted by travelers of all ages from across the globe. They will look at what steps destinations have taken to sell ‘the real Middle East’ and how they can further enhance their experiential travel offering.”
While the inaugural ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit 2017, from 1220 on Wednesday, April 26, brings together some of the world’s leading Muslim travel experts to discuss the nuances of this fast-growing sector. This includes: Faeez Fadhlillah, co-founder, Tripfez, and Salam Standard; Zulkifly Md Said, Islamic Tourism Council, Malaysia; Nehme Darwiche, CEO Jannah Hotels&Resorts; Ali Manzoor, Associate Partner, Hospitality&Leisure Development Consultancy (MENA Region), Knight Frank; Naeem Patelia, owner, Travel Counsellors; Rafi-Uddin Shikoh, CEO, DinarStandard; YBHG. DATUK MUSA HJ. YOUSOF, Senior director international promotion division (Asia, Africa), Tourism Malaysia; and Takao Yamamoto, Director Middle East, Kyoto Tourism Office.
The global Muslim travel market was valued at $151 billion in 2015, representing around 10% of the global international tourism market and, by 2021, that value is expected to reach $243 billion.
Uniting the industry’s leading halal travel experts, the Global Halal Tourism Summit will reveal the industry’s true scope and size, development strategies, and potential for future growth.
Press commented: “The Islamic Economy is growing at nearly double the global rate. Muslim consumer spending on food and lifestyle reached $1.8 trillion in 2014 and is projected to reach $2.6 trillion in 2020. Travel and tourism has been identified as one of the key growth markets within the Islamic economy yet until now it didn’t have a professional platform through which to collaborate on ideas, initiatives and growth strategies. We are delighted to be providing that platform and helping the industry to come together.”
Other sessions scheduled for the ATM Global Stage 2017 include:
• Business Travel and the Sharing Economy: Pros and Cons
Tuesday, April 25, 1100 am
• Riding the Wave of Cruise Tourism
Tuesday, April 25, 1220 pm
• The Future of Luxury Travel
Tuesday, April 25, 1340 pm
The Global Stage will be supported by sessions in the Showcase Theatre and Travel Tech Theatre, taking place throughout ATM.