Middle East and Africa region expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of business travel spend by 2024

Middle East and Africa region expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of business travel spend by 2024

GBTA sessions to focus on the future of business travel at ATM 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 8 March 2023: Business travel in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is recovering more rapidly than in any other region, according to the most recent Business Travel Index™ Outlook annual forecast and outlook (2022), from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association. MEA business travel achieved 86% of its 2019 levels during 2022, outperforming the recovery in Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.

The strong performance of the sector and future opportunities will come under the spotlight during Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 1-4 May.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The business travel sector is a key component of the Middle East’s wider travel and tourism industry, and it is encouraging to see that it has bounced back so strongly since the pandemic. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) will present an in-depth analysis of how technology can support this return to travel and the ways in which this can be done sustainably in two education sessions with key insights from leading industry professionals.”

According to the forecast, business travel spending reached $933 billion globally in 2022, 65% of the USD $1.4 trillion business pre-pandemic travel spend, with the MEA region accounting for $23 billion or approximately 2.5% of overall spending within the sector.

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“The MEA region is an important growth market for business travel and benefitted from a prompt Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in key markets such as the UAE and Israel, as well as increased economic activity driven by the rising price of crude oil to accelerate the business travel recovery. The region is expected to return to pre-pandemic business travel spend by 2024 and continue its growth trajectory” said Catherine Logan, Regional Vice President EMEA & APAC, GBTA.

GBTA will be hosting two sessions at ATM 2023. The first entitled, ‘All Hail the Innovators’ will be taking place on the Global Stage, discussing how transformational technologies can be harnessed and incorporated into corporate travel program effectively. High-profile speakers include, James Britchford, Vice President Commercial IMEA, IHG, Jordan Bray, Vice President of Plug and Play, and Mohammed Halawi, Global Travel and Journey Risk Management Director, Firmenich FZ LLC.

The second session entitled ‘Implementing Sustainability in your Travel Program’ will be taking place in the brand-new Sustainability Hub and will feature GBTA’s Catherine Logan, Regional Vice President – EMEA & APAC. Logan will provide insights on how corporate travel programs can become more sustainable.

Aside from restricted travel, an increase in remote working globally has had a dampening effect on business travel growth. However, now that travel is almost restriction-free, employees have revealed an increased likelihood to travel more for work, whether long-term or overnight business trips according to the latest business travel outlook poll from GBTA.

Curtis commented: “After the turbulent period we have experienced over the last two years, it will be very interesting to assess current market conditions and find out how business travel can continue to grow, particularly with the recent relaxation of travel restrictions in China.”

ATM 2023 will explore the future of sustainable travel in line with its theme of ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the conference programme 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 organisations will be recognised 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

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About Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on 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

Last 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 organisations. 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 approximately 400 events in 22 countries across 42 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

About RELX RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. RELX serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs more than 35,000 people over 40% of whom 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.

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