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Sustainability looms large at Arabian Travel Market 2023

A diver amid coral at the Amaala resort Amaala
The flagship Amaala project on the Red Sea says 'sustainability is the cornerstone' of its plans
  • May 1-4 event themed on working towards net zero
  • Focus on sustainable travel and responsible tourism
  • 34,000 visitors expected from 150 countries

Ahead of Dubai hosting one of the world’s largest travel conferences, key stakeholders in the emirate’s travel and hospitality industry have been keen to stress its sustainability credentials. 

Centred on the theme Working Towards Net Zero, this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) on May 1 to May 4 is expected to draw in 34,000 attendees from more than 150 countries. 

With growing calls to decarbonise the global travel industry – estimated to have generated 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the latest World Travel and Tourism Council – ATM 2023 is seeking to convene industry leaders to share knowledge and find solutions. 

Danielle Curtis, ATM’s Middle East exhibition director, said the event will provide a platform for public- and private-sector speakers to discuss sustainable travel trends, responsible tourism and other industry-critical issues. There will also be a Sustainability Hub dedicated to greener travel.

The UAE has named 2023 the Year of Sustainability, and Dubai is hosting Cop28 in November.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, which is part of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said that Dubai had made significant strides in sustainability in tourism initiatives.

In March DET relaunched its Carbon Calculator tool that measures the carbon footprint within Dubai’s hospitality sector. The revamped tool tracks real-time data for carbon emission sources, allowing hotels to identify and effectively manage their energy consumption.

Arabian Travel Market panelArabian Travel Market
Exhibition director Danielle Curtis (second from right) said Arabian Travel Market is committed to sustainability

With both the UAE and Saudi Arabia having committed to net zero targets by 2050 and 2060 respectively, both countries are now making a big push to grow their sustainable eco-tourism industries.

In January Ras Al Khaimah announced its Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy to become the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global giga-project – comprising the kingdom’s flagship tourism Red Sea and Amaala destinations – currently ranks as the world’s largest tourism development under construction and has sustainability as its core.

Last November, Saudi Arabia made a call to action for worldwide collaboration in creating a new Tourism Innovation Index to enable sustainable tourism across the globe.

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