When small ideas have a big impact
In recent years, entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism sector have been responsible for creating groundbreaking concepts that are changing the way we travel. Airbnb, for example, was launched in 2008 by three co-founders who set out to diversify the accommodations space. By July 2023, 1 billion stays had been booked on Airbnb, and in September 2023, the company’s valued net worth was $85.06 billion.
Travel and tourism entrepreneurs are making waves in aviation, accommodation, technology, hospitality and attractions, to name just a few. Not only are these business-savvy, creative start-ups driving innovation, but they are also more agile to consumers’ ever-changing demands.
According to analysis from McKinsey, the travel and tourism industry has secured only 1 per cent of total funding for start-ups across all industries in the last 15 years. This is despite the sector accounting for over 10 per cent of global GDP in 2019.
By exploring how an entrepreneurial mindset can lead to positive change within the industry, ATM 2024 will enable attendees to identify strategies for growth across a range of key industry verticals
– Danielle Curtis
The fascinating topic of entrepreneurship in the travel and tourism sector is under the spotlight at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024 with our theme: ‘Empowering innovation: Transforming Travel through Entrepreneurship’. The event will explore how innovators are working to attract greater levels of funding to further increase the sector’s overall contribution to GDP.
Sustainability will continue to be a major topic of discussion at ATM 2024, furthering the legacy of last year’s event theme: ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Ecotourism is one of many areas where entrepreneurs are making a tangible difference, and the event will empower the global travel and tourism community to harness entrepreneurism and its ability to catalyse innovation, increase revenues and maximise sustainability over the long term.
Based in the host city for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which takes place six months before the event, ATM 2024 will also explore how innovation can be leveraged to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by building a greener travel and tourism sector for future generations.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem in the MENA region is undoubtedly moving in the right direction, and the UAE plans to strengthen its position as an international hub for start-ups as part of its target to attract $150 billion in foreign investment by 2030. This strategy is likely to significantly benefit entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism sector in the region, and we are very optimistic about the implications this has for the industry as a whole.
By exploring how an entrepreneurial mindset can lead to positive change within the industry, ATM 2024 will enable attendees to identify strategies for growth across a range of key industry verticals. As a global leader in innovation, the UAE offers the perfect backdrop to explore these trends and identify new avenues for growth.
The Middle East’s travel and tourism sector has demonstrated impressive resilience in the face of recent challenges, but we must continue to innovate and adapt to achieve the industry’s long-term goals. We believe entrepreneurs play a crucial role in driving innovation and look forward to shining a spotlight on the innovators reshaping the sector when we welcome the global travel community to Dubai in May.
* Danielle is Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market