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Ministers at ATM Have 2 Agendas: Economy & Climate

, Ministers at ATM Have 2 Agendas: Economy & Climate, eTurboNews | eTN
image courtesy of ATM

A timely discussion took place at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) just a few months ahead of the UAE hosting COP28.

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The ATM 2023 event opened with a discussion by ministerial and economic representatives, moderated by Eleni Giokos, Anchor and Correspondent CNN. The line-up of speakers included Sujit Mohanty, Regional Division for the Arab States, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board; and HE Walid Nassar, Minister of Tourism, Lebanon.

The climate crisis was the hot topic during the opening session of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023 today at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Together, figureheads from he economic and climate sides of the tourism industry spoke about the need to adapt in order to face climate change head on through the implementation of new sustainable policies while at the same time creating funding and support to achieve these goals in tandem with current climate regulations.

According to Sustainable Travel International, tourism creates approximately 8% of global carbon emissions from transport, food and beverage, accommodation, and related goods and services. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) works closely with governments, the private sector, and stakeholders across the globe to reduce disaster risk, as climate change is leading to more frequent and severe climate-related hazards including floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and cyclones.

Taking these factors into today’s economic and climate situation, Mohanty said:

“Globally, in the last 20 years, there have been $2.97 trillion in economic losses due to disasters.”

“In turn, the tourism industry loses enormous amounts of money due to these hazards.  Therefore the return on investment is clear – invest now to help protect the future.  

Jordan is one of the highest-ranking countries in the region on The Euromonitor Environmental Sustainability Index, and responsible tourism is now a key focus for the nation.

“Educating both businesses and travelers on how they contribute to the carbon footprint is one of our key priorities.”

“In parallel with education, we are offering incentives to hotels, businesses, and other stakeholders to encourage sustainable practices,” said Dr. Arabiyat.

Despite political and economic challenges, Lebanon has attracted a significant number of tourists since 2022. In the summer of last year, Lebanon welcomed two million tourists, a quarter of which were international. As a result of the growth in visitor numbers, rural tourism has seen a boost, an area of tourism which is more sustainable and, therefore, more favorable to the issue of climate change.  

Speaking on the growth of rural tourism, HE Nassar said, “The guesthouse sector has grown in the last two to three years in Lebanon, which has been a welcome trend. We have now established a syndicate of over 150 guesthouses, encouraging tourism in more remote areas.     

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME for Arabian Travel Market, said: “The issue of climate change has never been more topical or urgent, and the strategies discussed at today’s opening session provided the perfect launchpad for ATM 2023 as we explore the future of sustainable travel under the theme: Working towards net zero.”    

Curtis added: “Over the next three days, we will be hearing from leading voices across diverse segments of the global travel and tourism sector, all aligned on a shared vision to improve the climate change situation and ensure environmental protection.”    

More Sessions

Day one of ATM 2023 featured 20 sessions across the Global Stage, Travel Tech Stage, and Sustainability Hub. Other highlights from the day included sessions on Technology: The Enabler of Sustainable TravelSustainability in The Travel Industry: Who Pays?, and Enhancing the Customer Experience Through AI. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance also touched on the importance of protecting the locations, livelihoods and communities in which hotels are based, in the Achieving Net Positive hospitality session.

About the author


Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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