The final day of ATM Virtual saw a panel of tourism experts discuss the opportunities in the region to kick-start sustainable investment in the hospitality sector.
The session, ‘Restructuring to Attract Sustainable Development and Customers in the New World Order’, was moderated by BBC presenter and broadcaster, Rajan Datar, and in collaboration with the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC).
The event was opened by Taleb Rifai, chairman of the ITIC, who said: “Who would have imagined three months ago we would be holding our conference in this manner.
“The world is however quickly waking up.
“Life post-containment is incredibly important and the need for economic recovery is now.”
Discussing Dubai’s future investment opportunities, Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said the destination would thrive in the post Covid-19 world.
He added: “Dubai has a lot of multinational companies who have established their regional headquarters here.
“Dubai has a lot to offer these businesses in terms of systems and the different free zones giving companies the opportunity and flexibility to be able to practice their business in a way that is comfortable for them.
“The lifestyle of Dubai also makes it very easy for people to relocate.
“It simply becomes an offer too good to refuse.”
Gerald Lawless, ambassador for the World Travel & Tourism Council said it is a time for opportunity and that is something investors will always look for.
He continued: “Investors are out there, and they will be in the future.
“There are investment opportunities within our industry, particularly in the hotel sector and we will see this developing and evolving over the coming weeks and months.
“Tourism will bounce back, and how we make it bounce back is so important.”
The opportunities in the tourism industry for investment as a by-product of cheaper real estate was discussed by Nicolas Mayer, EMEA hospitality, PwC, he said: “Many of the primary real estate markets in this region, in the UAE, Saudi, and Oman for example, are phenomenally dynamic.
“Yes, they have taken a hit, but they have demonstrated in the past the ability to ramp up again and go beyond what it used to be, before anywhere else in the world, which makes one very confident in investing.”
Foreign direct investment was also a hot topic of conversation, particularly from Saudi Arabia when looking at the opportunities afforded by their burgeoning tourism offering.
Majed AlGhanim, managing director of tourism and quality of life, ministry of investment, Saudi Arabia, said: “In addition to the local and regional buying power in Saudi, we believe we have an attractive offering for investors from overseas with all the of the new sites and destinations coming up in Saudi Arabia.
“We are a destination that is ready, open, and looking forward to welcoming visitors to Saudi Arabia.”
ATM Virtual concluded earlier this week with a total of 18,959 registrations from 152 countries, including 490 media.
The event included 14,385 pre-scheduled meetings and featured 23 live webinars, interviews, and pre-recorded roundtables.
This session and all other content are available on demand until today for those who are already registered.
Those who did not register for ATM Virtual will be able to access the sessions from next week on the WTM Global Hub.