Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 29 May 2020

Arabian Travel Market moved to 2021 amid coronavirus outbreak

The travel and industry-related event was to be held from June 28 to July 1, after being moved from its initial date of April 19 this year

Visitors at the Arabian Travel Market at the Dubai World Trade Centre in 2017. The four-day event has been moved to next year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Victor Besa/The National 
Visitors at the Arabian Travel Market at the Dubai World Trade Centre in 2017. The four-day event has been moved to next year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Victor Besa/The National 

Arabian Travel Market, a major exhibition for the region's travel and tourism industry, has been moved to 2021 due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The event will now be held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai after Eid celebrations next year, from May 16 to 19, organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions said on Sunday.

Arabian Travel Market was initially scheduled to be held this month but was postponed to June 28 to July 1 as the virus outbreak halted global air travel and led to lockdowns around the world.

“Many meetings took place with the Dubai World Trade Centre and we reviewed other options to organise an event in the last quarter,” Reed Travel Exhibitions said.

“However, after consultation with our key stakeholders and after listening to our industry, ultimately it became apparent that the best course of action, and with everyone’s best interests in mind, is to postpone the event to 2021.”

The four-day event attracts more than 39,000 professionals from the global travel industry and generates about $2.5 billion (Dh9.18bn) of new business.

A number of top executives from the industry were expected to speak during the event.

“Discussions took place at the highest level, both internally and externally, with the local and federal government, partners, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees who all endorsed our evaluation of the current situation and our decision to act once again, without delay,” the organiser said.

The pandemic, which has infected more than 2.3 million worldwide and killed more than 161,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University, has derailed the global economy and brought the trade and the travel industry to a virtual standstill.

The global economy is set to contract 3 per cent this year as it slides into the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Global airlines are expected to lose $314bn in passenger revenue this year, a 55 per cent drop from 2019, as the rapid spread of the virus and ensuing travel bans continue to hurt the industry, the International Air Transport Association said last week.

Its latest assessment is much higher than the organisation's previous estimate of a $252bn loss just three weeks ago on March 24.

Reed Travel Exhibitions said it is planning to run an “ATM virtual event” from June 1 to 3, featuring webinars, live conference sessions and one-on-one meetings, among others, to help businesses connect with each other.

Updated: April 19, 2020 02:55 PM

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