Burj Al Arab Aerial

Burj Al Arab Aerial

Where would you hear of robotic concierges, visionary tourism plans, mega projects, even giga projects transforming regional tourism landscapes, disruptive technology and Expo 2020, all under one roof?


Enter centre stage, The Arabian Travel Market (ATM), held in Dubai, an annual travel & tourism trade show. With fingers on the tourism pulse, the Arabian Travel Market each year uncovers the plots and trends, the key developments and tourism visions of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Panorama rev

Panorama rev

Over the years, the United Arab Emirates has become one of the great success stories of global travel and tourism with Emirates and Etihad Airlines changing the face of global aviation, Dubai International Airport recognised as one of the world’s best hubs and Dubai, now the fourth most visited city in the world.


And the UK plays its part. The UK is one of the top three countries travelling to the region. So what is that that attracts us and what’s on the horizon to persuade us to return again and again?

Dubai Canal Burj Khalifa View Before Sunrise

Dubai Canal Burj Khalifa View Before Sunrise

For a start, take accommodation.  Growth is going through the roof.  Guests are spoilt for choice especially as hotels come in the form of architecture splendour, laced with chandeliers and gold trimmings – a reflection of the corner of the world we are choosing to lay our head. Brands compete for individuality to attract new markets such as Millennium Place, the happier hotel brand that has been introduced which strives to deliver a smile to its guests through different touch points in the guest’s journey. Millennium Place Marina and Millennium Place Barsha Heights are due to open is 2019 with eight more to open over the next two years in the region. In total, Millennium Hotels & Resorts is opening 14 new hotels, adding to its existing portfolio of 40 hotels throughout the Middle East & Africa


Similarly, the Jumeirah Group is expanding in Asia and Europe. This Dubai-based luxury hotel company is opening in China and Indonesia while the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London is undergoing renovation this year. Work is also progressing on a new hotel near Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the landmark Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. This will be a 400-room property on the beachfront.

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Ferrari World one year, Warner Brothers World this year. Yas Island will be opening a new sports facility to feature the world’s widest indoor skydiving flight chamber and highest indoor climbing wall.


A luxury Camp is currently under construction atop the highest mountain in the UAE, in Ras Al Khaimah. This glamping site will house 47 luxury tented units, a health club, heated pool, spa and wellness centre, kids area, fire pit and restaurant.


In Dubai, the Museum of the future, scheduled to open next year, will showcase cutting-edge technology and innovations that are designed to change the way we live. It will present solutions to climate change, energy production, healthcare, transport, education, housing and security. Also in Dubai the Dubai Creek Harbour will become the location for the next city’s tallest building, the $1 billion Dubai Tower when it is completed next year.


However, Saudi Arabia caught the limelight this year at the Arabian Travel Market with its eye-watering ambitious plans to become a tourism destination of the future. E-visa rules for international travellers will be the game-changer. The Kingdom will be open to all. Tourism is Saudi’s new “white oil” spanning a destination offering culture and history, coastlines and desert. Rumoured to be funded with half a trillion US dollar investment, tourism is the ingredient of the government’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy. This in turn will attract new hotels and innovative hospitality concepts, operated to international standards, particularly high-quality budget hotels. New mega and giga projects include Neom City, Amaala, an uber-luxury wellness tourism destination, the Red Sea Development reshaping the coastline and Qiddiya offering leisure, entertainment, sports, wellness, adventure and cultural destinations.


Winter sunshine, family leisure, adventure, flight convenience and glamorous hotels maybe the key attractions for travel to this region but Expo 2020 is set to attract  more visitors next year. This global event aims to deliver one of the most sustainable World Expos. Expo 2020 in Dubai seeks to inspire us all to live in better balance with the world and to build a brighter and more sustainable future together – a unique opportunity to see tomorrow today complete with robotic concierges and visionary tourism in reality.


For more information on tourism in the Middle East read here




Jane Wilson, editor of TheHealthcareholiday.com and TheWellnessTraveller.co.uk