In an exclusive interview with Travel And Tour World, Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director Middle East, Arabian Travel Market shares how new travel technology and innovation help the hospitality and travel industry to move smoother in this post COVID world.
Travel And Tour World: How has Arabian Travel Market lined-up the event to promote tourism in post COVID-19 time?
Danielle Curtis: Reflecting the post-pandemic recovery, the theme of the show was ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’, which has never been more relevant nor more important in these still very challenging times.
This was a positive message, because we firmly believe that ATM 2021 will be a pivotal turning point for the region and this theme has been integrated into all parts of the show – it was our focus as we embark along the road to a sustainable recovery.
Moreover, our conference programme highlighted the very latest ‘COVID’ news from around the world – vaccine rollouts, the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds.
Travel And Tour World: What were the points you highlighted to upgrade the travel technology?
Danielle Curtis: Travel Forward was a new travel tech and hospitality innovation event we launched this year. The line-up we’ve assembled for the Travel Forward Theatre proved that senior execs from across the travel tech ecosystem were willing to travel and share their insights and expertise on how best to approach the first wave of post-pandemic travellers.
The event saw big name brands present live on-stage including Amadeus, Google, Facebook, TikTok, Skyscanner, Travelport, Expedia, Intelak among others, providing industry-leading insights about the latest technologies and trends that will undoubtedly shape the future of travel and tourism.
Travel And Tour World: What is the role of technology in travel, tourism and meetings industry in “new normal”?
Danielle Curtis: There is no doubt the implementation of technology forms an integral part of the travel, tourism and meetings industry in 2021 and beyond. Technologies are changing the way we work and interact anywhere.
The use of online messaging tools and immersive technologies such as 3D virtual tours and other similar applications, as well as customised online booking platforms are vital in helping businesses in the travel & tourism industry stand out from their competitors.
Contactless technology also plays a special role in these sectors. Apps have become inseparable features of events in providing easier registration and offering impressive interactions and conversations both before, during and after the event. Virtual assistants, virtual and augmented reality, web casting, live streaming, tele-seminars and video conferencing have become essential meetings industry components.
Travel And Tour World: What were the steps you have taken to make the Arabian Travel Market more safer?
Danielle Curtis: To provide a safe, touchless and seamless experience for everyone, ATM has strictly adhered to the health and safety guidelines laid out by relevant government authorities. In addition to Reed Exhibitions’ Global COVID-19 ‘Safety Shows’ Health & Safety strategy, ATM worked closely with the team at the Dubai World Trade Centre and with our Global Operations team.
A range of measures were put into place to ensure physical distancing whenever possible, as well as a number of enhanced cleaning regimes, in collaboration with the venue.
As part of our check and balance regulations and manage any potential overcrowding, the number of people allowed on each stand was prominently displayed to ensure density rules were met. All exhibitors used the Emperia application to scan visitor badges and capture valuable leads and in the venue, printed directional arrows were displayed on the aisles to manage two-way and one-way traffic appropriately.
Travel And Tour World: Elaborately tell us about the success of Arabian Travel Market and Arabian Travel Market Virtual.
Danielle Curtis: The success of both the in-person and the virtual ATM went beyond our expectations and we were delighted with the overall feedback and the results. The in-person event proved that personal interaction remains essential and invaluable, particularly in an industry like ours, as we adapt to life and business post-COVID-19.