Arab travel market: COVID-19 concerns will be at the center of the four-day event

Arabian Travel Market: NEOM bets on technology and sustainability to promote regenerative tourism

DUBAI: As Saudi Arabia builds multimillion-dollar giga-projects, it intends to alter travel opportunities through regenerative tourism, aiming to build things with a circular economy in mind , said NEOM chief executive Andrew McEvoy.

Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, he said “the world has commoditized travel”.

“Technology has improved the customer experience in most industries.”

McEvoy highlighted NEOM’s use of technology to bring back Arab culture and history, which is seen as a tremendous asset to Saudi Arabia and the region.

“The future of manufacturing is OXAGON,” he said, referring to the industrial city of NEOM, which is expected to be the largest floating industrial complex in the world.

It is located on the Red Sea near the Suez Canal, and south of The Line, and will include the current port of Duba. It will establish the world’s first fully integrated port and supply chain ecosystem for NEOM.

The net zero city that will be powered by 100% clean energy will seek to seamlessly integrate nature with technology with a blueprint for the future of work, life and sustainability.

Speaking on the city’s vision, McEvoy said NEOM is building a destination of the future, adding that its value lies in raw nature, ingenious technology and Arab culture.

Asked about alcohol legislation, he revealed that NEOM constructs its own laws and regulations.

“Saudi Arabia is not westernizing but modernizing,” McEvoy stressed.

Senior NEOM executives attend ATM, the Middle East’s largest travel and tourism trade show, which will address industry concerns and hopes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event is expected to welcome over 20,000 visitors and 1,500 exhibitors from 112 destinations over the four days.