Responsible tourism, including current sustainable travel trends, will be adopted as the official show theme for Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25, 2018.
Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said: “It is important to highlight that the GCC is one of the fastest growing regional hospitality markets on a global scale and is a resource intensive industry. Its impact on the environment is multi-dimensional, ranging from CO2emissions, water and energy demand, food waste, and noise and light pollution.
“Travellers have become very conscious of the carbon footprint they are leaving while visiting destinations across the globe and the subsequent impact this has on the environment. This growing trend has meant the entire industry has had to look long and hard at how sustainability and a credible social conscious must drive business strategy.
“At ATM in 2018, we will be showcasing some of MENA’s leading, and commercially successful, examples of businesses which make the rich heritage of the region accessible to tourists, bring economic development to local communities and help preserve their cultures.”
According to the latest research from Colliers International, hotel carbon footprint in the UAE is within the global average range (20,000 - 30,000 KGCO2E per room); but Saudi Arabia is up at more than 50,000 KGCO2E.
It is a similar story in terms of hotel energy usage per square metre – the UAE is within the global average at just under 500KWH, but KSA up at around 750KWH.
“And it’s not just saving energy,” claimed Markus Oberlin, CEO at Dubai-based sustainability consultant and Green Globe partner Farnek.
“Hotels can apply a reduce, reuse, and recycle principle to so many aspects of their operation - food waste, grey water and so on... Energy costs alone in UAE hotels represent approximately 6% of total hotel revenues, so even small savings could have significant financial benefits, underscoring the business case for sustainability.”
WTM London has been at the forefront of responsible tourism for over two decades and provides the inspiration for ATM 2018, which will integrate the theme across all show verticals and activities, including focused seminar session, featuring dedicated exhibitor participation.
“It is important that hoteliers, operators, local communities and tourists alike, take responsibility to ensure tourism becomes more sustainable. The Middle East has taken the lead when it comes to responsible tourism, with a particular focus on sustainability running right through the hospitality industry across the GCC,” added Press.
ATM – considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed more than 39,000 people to its 2017 event, including 2,661 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than $2.5 billion over the four days.
Celebrating its 25thyear, ATM 2018 will host seminar sessions looking back over the last 25 years and how the hospitality industry in the MENA region is expected to shape up over the next 25.