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The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024 has emerged as a pivotal event highlighting the transformative power of video content in shaping travel trends among Gen Z. The session titled “How To Build Influence with Gen Z in Just 30 Seconds” captured the essence of this shift, showcasing the profound impact short-form video content has on this tech-savvy generation.

Marc-Antoine Simon, Industry Manager for Travel and Tourism at TikTok MENA, delivered a compelling presentation that underscored the shift towards brief yet influential content. He revealed that only 45% of vacations met travellers’ expectations in 2023, as per Exodus Travels’ research. The study further disclosed that travellers browse through an average of 38 travel sites before booking, with 58% abandoning their plans due to the overwhelming process.

“Travel is one of the most coveted pursuits, often leading individuals to make significant sacrifices to experience it. However, the potential for disappointment drives them to meticulously plan their trips, aiming to maximize rewards while minimizing risks,” Simon explained.

Revolutionizing Travel Searches

Simon emphasized the evolving nature of travel searches. Users now favour human words over keywords and communities over simple queries. This paradigm shift allows travellers to discover destinations through immersive experiences rather than mere information retrieval.

“Today’s travelers seek a platform that provides quick, visual content that is both mobile-friendly and community-driven. By creating such platforms, we’ve removed major barriers that once hindered the pre-booking journey, making destinations go viral overnight,” he added.

Albania: A Success Story of User-Generated Content

Albania serves as a prime example of the power of user-generated content. In 2022, a surge of videos showcasing Albania’s tourism assets led to a 44% increase in flight searches from the UK, with a notable rise from the US, according to Skyscanner data.

Expert Panel Insights

The expert panel included Joshua Roche, CEO of Bulla Connect Ltd; Keith Herman, CEO of Trending Travel; and His Excellency Harris Whitbeck, Minister of Tourism for Guatemala. They discussed the vital role of social media in shaping Gen Z travel decisions and how to leverage these platforms to convert interest into tourist engagements.

H.E. Whitbeck highlighted Guatemala’s strategies to attract Gen Z tourists, focusing on sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. “Gen Z is a significant market for Guatemala, being highly educated and curious. With 78 million TikTok users in Latin America, marketing our destination is a vast opportunity. However, we aim to attract visitors with a lower impact on our resources by leveraging AI and Big Data to tailor our messaging,” he stated.

Looking Ahead

As ATM 2024 draws to a close on May 9, over 2,300 exhibitors from 165 countries and 41,000 attendees are poised to depart with valuable insights poised to innovate and transform their tourism strategies. The event, with the Dubai World Trade Centre, features strategic partners like the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Emirates, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Al Rais Travel.

For more details on the event and key takeaways, visit Arabian Travel Market 2024.




Written by: Jason Smith