ATM virtual to address Covid-19 impact

Every year ATM places a focus on emerging trends, opportunities and the challenges which are directly impacting the industry – and this remains our mission as we continue to support and connect the industry, amid the COVID-19 global health crisis.

While the live show has been postponed to May 16 to 19 next year, we are dedicated to delivering positive business and networking opportunities to the region’s vast travel and tourism community  and as such, we are pleased to announce that we will be running an ATM Virtual Event from June 1 to 3, 2020.

Our debut virtual event will address the impact the global health pandemic has had on the travel and tourism industry and discuss a road map to recovery, identifying the trends shaping the future of the industry and the ‘new normal’ that lies ahead.

Taking place over the course of three days, the ATM Virtual Event will feature comprehensive webinars, live conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking events, one-to-one meetings, and so much more keeping the conversation alive and delivering new connections as well as offering a wide range of online business opportunities for the first time.

With up to four live high-level sessions each day, industry experts will address a range of topics including tourism strategies for the future, the hotel landscape in a post COVID-19 world and the resilience of the travel industry, as well exploring emerging travel technology and sustainability trends, amongst other key topics.

The packed agenda will also feature one-to-one aviation interviews with high-calibre keynote speakers providing a detailed update on the aviation industry and an Arival-run, in-destination trends conference session plus research-led forums as well as one-to-one pre-scheduled 30-minute meetings between editors, exhibitors and buyers. Live video sessions will include live Q&As and polls will be run alongside the presentations themselves to enable audience interaction.

Meanwhile, a series of independently moderated, pre-recorded roundtables have been designed to discuss emerging, hot topics such as domestic travel, adventure tourism, luxury travel trends, the future of wellness, and challenges facing travel agents. In addition, key travel editors and leading travel and tourism experts, will be writing blogs on topical subjects spanning not just regional but international industry verticals.

A host of nine hour-long speed networking sessions will round-off the agenda, with different buyers and exhibitors for each event, culminating in over 140 five-minute meetings per session. The dedicated networking event will also have one Middle East session per day specifically for exhibitors from the region, as well as sessions for buyers focused on purchasing European and Asian product, plus a session specifically targeting Chinese buyers.

In addition to the ATM Virtual Event, the WTM Portfolio has launched a new online portal, the WTM Global Hub, which went live on April 23, 2020.

The portal, which was set up to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world, will offer the latest news and advisory to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face up to the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The platform, which will provide content in English, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese, will provide a wide range of webinars, podcasts, videos, news and blogs from key industry figures, providing travel professionals with a wealth of information, advice and support to cope with the current crisis and plan ahead for the future.

While it is clear we are living in unprecedented times, ATM, and indeed, the wider WTM portfolio team remain committed to working in partnership, to support the travel industry, as it digests and adapts to the unique challenges of the global health emergency – and prepares for recovery.

* The writer is exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market