DUBAI, 11th October, 2017 (WAM) -- 'Responsible Tourism' will be the official theme for the Arabian Travel Market, ATM, 2018 show, which will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 22nd to 25th April, 2018.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said, "The GCC is one of the fastest growing regional hospitality markets on a global scale and is a resource-intensive industry. Its impact on the environment is multi-dimensional, ranging from CO2 emissions, water and energy demand and food waste to noise and light pollution.

"Travellers have become conscious of the carbon footprint they are leaving while visiting destinations, and the subsequent impact on the environment. This growing trend has forced the entire industry to look long and hard at how sustainability and a credible social conscious must drive business strategy."

"At ATM 2018, we will be showcasing some of MENA’s (Middle East and North Africa’s) leading and commercially successful businesses, which make the rich heritage of the region accessible to tourists, bring economic development to the local communities and help preserve their cultures," Press remarked.

More than 1.2 billion international tourists crossed the globe in 2016, which is expected to grow to 1.8 billion by 2030. Tourism generates 10 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and is responsible for one in every 10 jobs and 30 percent of the world trade in services.

However, the UN’s World Tourism Organisation has estimated that tourism is responsible for about five percent of the global CO2 emissions. Accommodation accounts for approximately 20 percent of the emissions from tourism, which includes energy demand, dining and leisure.

According to the latest research from Colliers International, hotel carbon footprint in the UAE is within the global average range (20,000–30,000 KGCO2E per room), but Saudi Arabia is up at over 50,000 KGCO2E. In terms of the hotel energy usage per square metre, the UAE is within the global average at just under 500KWH (kilowatt hour), but Saudi Arabia is up at around 750KWH.

"It is important that hoteliers, operators, local communities and tourists take responsibility to ensure tourism becomes more sustainable. The Middle East has taken the lead when it comes to responsible tourism, with a focus on sustainability in the hospitality industry across the GCC," Press noted.

ATM welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2017 event, including 2,661 exhibiting companies, and signed business deals worth more than $2.5 billion over the four days.

In its 25th year, the ATM 2018 will build on the success of this year’s edition, with a host of seminars and sessions.

"The tourism industry in the GCC has grown ten-fold and more since we first opened our show 25 years ago. The developments have been incredibly impressive. We have the tallest buildings and the tallest hotels, revolutionary transport infrastructure, theme parks and leisure attractions that are the envy of the world.

"We will be looking back on the tourism revolution in the Middle East over the last quarter of a century and also forecast what lies ahead for the industry."

WAM/Tariq alfaham

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