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61908 17 May 2020

ATM report: Staycations and Domestic Travel to Lead GCC Tourism Recovery from COVID-19

Debut ATM Virtual event will take place on 1-3 June 2020

  • Staycations expected to become the most popular choice of travel in short to medium-term with travellers eager to make up for cancelled travel plans
  • ATM Virtual’s Hotel Landscape in a Post-COVID-19 World session to explore hotel landscape in the Middle East post-COVID-19; outlining a road map to recovery for the industry
  • Debut ATM Virtual event will take place on 1-3 June 2020

Local tourism and domestic travel are expected to lead the UAE and wider GCC’s recovery from COVID-19 as we begin to see the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to the latest research released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Virtual, a newly-launched three-day event that will take place from 1-3 June 2020.

The research from Colliers International, in partnership with ATM, revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius increased from just 20% in January 2020 to 43% in March. While, in Dubai, the percentage rose from 19% to 36%.

Adding to this, research by Sojern, suggests staycations are expected to become the most popular choice of travel in the short to medium-term, with data revealing hotel bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius accounted for 77% of all bookings in April and domestic travel from Dubai accounting for 91% of searches and bookings within the same radius.

With this in mind, ‘The Hotel Landscape in a Post-COVID-19 Worldsession taking place on Monday 1st June from 1.30 pm – 2.30 pm GST (10.30 am – 11.30 am BST), will focus on the hospitality industry, exploring the profound impact of COVID-19 on the Middle East’s hotel sector as well as outlining what the landscape is likely to look like when travel resumes and what will be considered new ‘norms’ in terms of guest behaviours and expectations.

Confirmed session panellists will include Tim Cordon, Senior Area Vice President for Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group and Christopher Lund, Head of Hotels, Colliers International, Middle East & North Africa, and will be moderated by Gemma Greenwood.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: "The global COVID-19 health crisis severely impacted worldwide travel, tourism, events, and leisure activities, with many people being forced to cancel or postpone their travel plans in the first half of 2020. However, what we are now beginning to see is a sense of pent up demand due to an eagerness among the larger populace to make up for lost time and cancelled plans.

“Travellers still want to go on holiday, but safety has become a top priority. As a result, the staycation trend is expected to grow in the coming months, with residents keen to take a break away from their home for a few days in a location that is familiar to them, whilst flights are grounded, and international travel restrictions still in place."

Families and solo travellers are expected to be among the first market segments to start travelling and making new reservations, according to the research from Colliers. In addition, Millennials and Gen Z are being touted as the most eager to travel, as they seek a change of scenery following long lockdown periods across the globe.

In preparation for the travel and tourism recovery - on a local, regional and international level - it is crucial hospitality companies can provide future guests with peace of mind by implementing and virtually showcasing the stringent hygiene and deep cleaning procedures performed rigorously across their properties. 

In addition, the implementation of immersive technologies that provide potential guests with virtual 3D tours of properties and their facilities, as well as customised online booking experiences will be vital in helping hotels stand out from their competitors. 

“As travel and tourism begins to return, it is crucial that hotels add value to their existing offerings with incentives such as F&B discounts for in-house guests, free upgrades and booking flexibility that enables free cancellation if personal circumstances were to change as well as reinvented loyalty programmes with increased offers and points in an attempt to stimulate demand through their existing customer bases,” Curtis said.

Also on the agenda, there will be a series of hospitality-focused roundtables including  ‘Changing face of hotels in terms of design and sanitisation,” which will discuss how hotels can effectively integrate hygiene and new stringent cleaning protocols into key brand messaging as well as exploring whether hygiene and safety will become more important for guests than price, facilities, and services in the 'new normal' hotel experience. 

‘Changing face of F&B travel’ will address the effects of COVID-19 on food-driven travel in the region, and indeed across the globe. A panel of F&B experts and influencers will explore how hotels can provide a safe middle-ground for food adventures as well as the impact a lack of travel from GCC countries could have on Asian food capitals.

‘The Changing Face of Luxury Family Travel’ will discuss how personal space and wellbeing peace of mind has become paramount, what impact this will have on luxury family travel, from new preferential destinations and accommodation to the factors shaping the decision-making process.   

Curtis said: "As well as addressing the impact the global health pandemic has had on the hospitality industry, ATM Virtual, will discuss in-depth a road map to recovery for the wider travel and tourism industry, identifying the trends and opportunities that are likely to shape the future as well as the 'new normal' that lies ahead.”

Over the course of three days, the debut ATM Virtual will feature comprehensive webinars, live conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking events, and one-to-one meetings, as well as facilitating new connections and offering a wide range of online business opportunities. 

ATM Virtual takes place from Monday 1st  to Wednesday 3rd June 2020. To register for the event as a visitor, please log on to:           

For media registrations, please go to:


About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 27th year, continues to be the focal point for the Middle East’s resilient and ever-changing travel and tourism landscape and prides itself on being the hub of all travel and tourism ideas – providing a platform to discuss insights on the ever-changing industry, share innovations and unlock endless business opportunities. While the live show has been postponed to 16-19 May 2021, ATM will keep the industry connected by running ATM Virtual from 1-3 June 2020 featuring webinars, live conference sessions, speed networking events, one-on-one meetings, plus so much more – keeping the conversations going and delivering new connections and business opportunities online.       

Next events: ATM Virtual: Monday 1st to Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Live ATM: Sunday 16th to Wednesday 19th May 2021 – Dubai #IdeasArriveHere

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events business. It combines face-to-face with data and digital tools to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 500 events in almost 30 countries across 43 industry sectors, attracting more than 7 million participants. 

Our events, organized by 35 global offices, leverage industry expertise, large data sets and technology to enable our customers to generate billions of dollars of revenues for the economic development of local markets and national economies around the world. Reed Exhibitions is part of RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 20 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf and spa travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises nine leading travel events across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts.

Next event: Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th November 2020 – London #IdeasArriveHere

WTM Latin America attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about US$374 million of new business deals. Taking place in São Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors, including buyers and travel agents, attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news.

Next event: Tuesday 20 October to Thursday 22 October 2020 – São Paulo

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: 2021 – Cape Town