• Being the region's leading B2B platform for connecting GCC travel buyers
  • Top 5 trends in the travel industry unveiled, including luxury traveling, Seeking Sustainability, bespoke experiences, culinary travel, and AI - unlocking travel potentials
  • DCT Abu Dhabi collaborates this year, expanding Abu Dhabi Government's 2030 Economic Vision
  • Center stage for MALT Excellence Awards

Abu Dhabi: Unveiling the trends of the traveling industry in the GCC region, the highly anticipated 12th edition of the annual Meetings Arabia and Luxury Travel Congress (MALT Congress) recently concluded at the Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi.

The Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), successfully hosted the event partnering with QnA International, offering unparalleled information about the MENA region's travel industry. It brought together over 200 speakers, partners, and stakeholders, providing them with a platform to share their insights and engage in discussions about the future of  MICE and luxury travel in the region.

This year, the MALT Congress revealed major trends in the MICE and luxury travel space, serving as the driving force behind the inculcation of a billion-dollar industry in the region. Accordingly, travelers are increasingly willing to pay more for sustainable travel, signaling a shift towards conscious consumerism. Significantly, sustainability and wellness have surfaced as guiding principles, welcoming guests to delight their senses and care for their minds, body, and souls.

Abdulla Mohammad, Director of the International Operations Department at DCT Abu Dhabi inaugurated the congress by saying, “The Annual MALT Congress in Abu Dhabi is a key event for innovation and attracting sophisticated travelers to our region. Our objective is to capitalize on this opportunity to exhibit the rich cultural heritage of our land, reinforcing its status as a premier destination for tailored, unforgettable adventures. Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau's under DCT Abu Dhabi is aimed at catalyzing and seeding innovative and viable business events aligned with the Abu Dhabi Government's 2030 Economic Vision."

During the conference, Moammar Mohammad al Marzooqi, Section Head of Meetings, Incentives & Weddings at the Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau, put a spotlight on the Advantage Abu Dhabi program- an exciting initiative to make Abu Dhabi a top spot for business events. He emphasized Abu Dhabi's commitment to fostering a thriving MICE industry, focusing on meetings, incentives, exhibitions, conferences as key productive areas.

Sidh NC, Director at QnA International, organizer of this annual event welcomed the gathering saying, "We express gratitude to our esteemed sponsors, partners, and distinguished delegates this year. Your unwavering presence and support have played a vital role in elevating this Congress to new heights of excellence. As we mark our 12th-year milestone, the Congress unites MENA's key buyers, global suppliers, and trailblazing tourism boards. Together, let us embark on a journey to discover exclusive partnerships, and innovative business avenues tailored to the evolving desires of modern travelers."

The event was spread over two days with engaging keynote presentations, insightful panel discussions, great networking opportunities, and focused one-to-one business meetings between key buyers and suppliers catering to the region. Some of the key highlights were insights shared by Dr. Paul Johnson, Editor of ‘A Luxury Travel Blog’, who emphasized, "In the era of sustainability, there is a surge in demand for eco-friendly travel options." He quoted recent research indicating that 74% of travelers are willing to pay more for sustainability-focused travel, underscoring this significant shift in consumer preferences. "From eco-conscious accommodations to carbon-neutral transportation, industry is witnessing a profound transformation towards greener, more responsible travel experiences," he further added.

Another trend highlighted by the panel is personalized travel, where the world celebrates individuality. Travelers seek bespoke experiences tailored to their unique preferences and interests, fostering a sense of exclusivity and authenticity. The panel also emphasized culinary travel as a fascinating trend, inviting guests to treat their senses and enjoy delicious food experiences. The attraction of exploring local foods, dining in hidden spots, and savoring delightful flavors brings a fresh aspect to travel adventures.

Furthermore, speakers revealed that in the future, the integration of AI technology promises to revolutionize the travel experience from controlling room temperatures to accessing personalized transport services. AI is poised to unlock new levels of convenience, efficiency, and personalization, enhancing guest comfort and satisfaction that would make their travel experience a unique one.

The Platinum Sponsor of the successful event, Crystal Chan Busch, Executive Director of Sales at Sands Lifestyle Macao, mentioned at the same panel, "The essence of travel lies in embracing the richness of each destination. Explore the world through its festivals, where traditions come alive with music, dance, and joyous gatherings. Savor the flavors of sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine, fostering a connection to the land and supporting local farmers."

Crystal further added ‘’In the MENA/GCC region, travel buyers are often drawn to luxury experiences, personalized services, and unique cultural encounters. Among these, personalized services stand out as most crucial aspect for them. Tailored itineraries, exclusive perks, and impeccable customer care are highly valued, making the travel experience truly memorable. Sands Resorts Macao offers an unparalleled blend of luxury, personalized experiences and cultural immersion. From world-class accommodations to exquisite dining options, Sands Resorts Macao caters to the discerning tastes of Middle Easter and Gulf travelers. With a commitment to exceptional service and attention to details, a visit to Sands Resorts Macao promises an unforgettable journey where every aspect is tailored to create cherished memories.’’

Speaking at the panel on the Transformative Power of Travel on the second day of the congress, Julie Lewis, an Explorer Author, and Resilience Consultant said, “Where curiosity and gratitude are your compass, guiding you to heights of happiness and depths of connection. In the embrace of exploration, we find not just places on a map, but pieces of ourselves we never knew existed.”

She added, “Safety, security, and sustainability - S factors that blend to create a smooth and luxurious journey. Because in travel, there's magic that changes us, making us not just healthier, but also more fulfilled in our souls.

MALT Excellence Awards

Adding significance to its 12th milestone, the MALT Congress reserved a special segment to recognize the key contributors and influencers of the industry, honoring them for their outstanding contributions. Thus, the MALT Excellence Awards, comprising 13 categories, illuminate remarkable achievements, celebrating leading organizations and individuals at the forefront of innovative initiatives.

MALT Excellence Awardees,

Corporate Event of the Year

Vacanza Global by Travel Knits WLL


Best Incentive program in an International Destination- Organization

DXN Marketing Middle East


Best Incentive program in an International Destination- Travel Agency

Ali Bin Ali International Travel & Tourism WLL


Best Incentive program in the Middle East

Miceminds (an ITL World Company)


Exceptional Association Event of the Year

MCI Middle East LLC


TMC of the Year Luxury Travel



TMC of the Year MICE

Caesars Travel Group


TMC of the Year Award

Satguru Travel And Tourism


Outstanding Destination Wedding of the year

TA Weddings & Special Occasions


MICE & Travel Team of the Year

Caesars Travel Group


Elite Luxury Travel Designer/Planner of the Year

Aga Pytlik Elkhatib


Rising Star of the Year Award

Luxotic Global


Industry Icon

Mishal Hamed Kanoo


About QnA International

QnA International, headquartered in Dubai, is a leading global B2B event organizer, continuously innovating the knowledge and events business for over a decade. With a growing portfolio of conferences, summits, and training, ranging from Trade Finance to Travel & Tourism, Technology, Supply Chain Finance, Destination Weddings, and Human Resources, QnA International caters to a wide range of industries in correlation with the present and future demands of the global economy. Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, the company organizes B2B events around the world, including expertise in delivering world-class events in destinations like the UAE, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Mexico, India, Greece, Thailand, Georgia, Indonesia and more.

About The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors and its creative industries, fuelling economic progress and helping to achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the emirate’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture and tourism industries.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.

For more information, interviews, insights, and images please contact:

Chamodi Gunawardane

Dimple Menezes

Yardstick Marketing Management
PO Box - 116125, Dubai, United Arab Emirates