Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has announced a strategic partnership with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) for the upcoming edition of the event, which takes place from 6 to 9 May 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The source is eTN.

These global organisations have been appointed as ‘Knowledge Partners’ for the regional trade show, providing in-depth insights and opportunities for the thriving segments of business events and travel.

According to the ICCA statistical forecast, which charts the history and performance of the International Association Meetings Industry from 1963 to 2022, 10,602 business events were recorded worldwide last year, of which 9,009 (85 per cent) were in-person. This represented an astounding 349 per cent increase from the previous year when only 2,007 in-person events occurred. Interestingly, the Middle East accounted for the highest percentage of in-person delegates (94 per cent) in last year’s official figures.

The business travel industry is also experiencing significant growth, as evidenced by statistics from the 2023 GBTA Business Travel Index Report, which found that the global business travel industry rebounded faster than expected in 2023. Pent-up demand following the pandemic and healthier economic conditions than forecasted were highlighted as significant contributing factors for this shift. The report also stated that global business travel spending rose by 47 per cent to $1.03 trillion last year and is expected to grow to nearly $1.8 trillion globally by 2027.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “All of the latest research suggests that the business events and business travel sectors are going from strength to strength. These sectors have always been essential verticals at ATM, and the official partnership with ICCA and GBTA for the 2024 edition will take our offering to the next level. By collaborating with these respected industry leaders, ATM aims to deliver even more value and innovation to its attendees and exhibitors.

“With a focus on these two vital sectors, ATM is committed to offering a world-class event that provides a platform for networking, education, and business opportunities for professionals worldwide.”

During ATM 2024, ICCA will deliver seminars covering various topics for the MICE industry, while GBTA will outline the prevailing trends in the business travel sector at the show. These seminars will give the industry valuable insights into recent research, innovations, and best practices.

Dr Senthil Gopinath, CEO of ICCA, said: “ICCA proudly announces our collaboration with ATM as we celebrate the exciting inclusion of business events as a foundational segment in future editions. Envisaging a dynamic future, global business events seamlessly integrate with ATM’s rich tapestry of opportunities. With ICCA joining as a Knowledge Partner for the MICE segment, we are collectively positioned to redefine the landscape of collaboration, innovation and success in the interconnected realms of business. We look forward to working together in 2024 and beyond.”

Catherine Logan, Regional Senior Vice President of EMEA and APAC, GBTA, added: “Although one of the smaller global business travel markets, the MEA region has huge growth potential and recovered more than any other region in 2022, reaching 95 per cent of pre-pandemic business travel spending. Business travel spend in the region is forecast to exceed this figure in 2023, reach USD$30.6 million, and continue its growth trajectory as we advance.”

The theme for the 31st edition of ATM is ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’. With exhibitors from aviation, accommodation, hospitality, attractions, technology and more, ATM 2024 will explore how innovators in travel and tourism are working to attract greater funding levels to increase the sector’s overall contribution to global GDP. Last year’s event welcomed more than 40,000 attendees, the most significant number recorded.