Travel industry professionals from all corners of the globe will descend upon London this weekend in anticipation of the 33rd World Travel Market (WTM), one of the largest and most colourful travel & tourism exhibitions in the world.
183 new exhibitors
This year, 183 new exhibitors will converge in London’s Dockland’s from 7 to 10 November 2011 as national tourist boards, destination management companies, technology companies, ground handlers, airlines, lodge owners and tour operators from all over the world showcase their latest offerings.
There will be competitions, giveaways, destination updates, launch events, shows, seminars, and plenty of cheer to brighten up the halls of ExCeL, which will be divided into regions and countries.
Music, colourful characters in world dress, drinks, delicacies, scents and flavours from all over the world will be enjoyed and sampled by visitors who come to be inspired, while new tourism partnerships are forged.
Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “The number of new exhibitors at this year’s event shows the importance of WTM for generating business for exhibitors. WTM 2010 generated a massive £1,425 million in industry deals and research of our Meridian Club buyers reveals they plan to sign contracts equating to even more business this year.”
Travel tech drives growth
According to Reed Travel Exhibitions – the organisers of WTM - this year’s growth has been largely driven by the technology. The online travel region will host 71 exhibitors with their own stands for the first time - symptomatic of the growth of the importance of technology in the industry.
Companies making their débuts cover virtually every aspect of the online travel world and include 3D interactive travel-guide platform 3rd Planet, digital agency Fortune Cookie, hotel room recommendation site Room 77, online marketing specialists World Independent Hotels Promotion and tour operator booking systems provider TigerBay Software.
Following the technology region is Europe, with 32 exhibitors making their début. Coming from far and wide across the Continent, they include tourist boards the Latvian Tourism Development Agency and the Crimean Tourism Development Centre, tourist attraction the Istanbul Sapphire Observation Deck, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon Spa and luxury hotel chain Aqua Vista Hotels.
India takes largest area
Asia offers a total of 27 first-time exhibitors at this year’s World Travel Market all representing the diversity of product available today in the East.
Tourist boards include Goa Tourism and Ile de la Reunion Tourisme, group travel specialists Easia Travel, Mongolia adventure specialists Selena Travel and the Somatheeram Ayurveda Group, owners of the first Ayurvedic resort in India Somatheeram.
Meanwhile India is taking the largest area at this year’s WTM, almost reaching 2040 square metres. Tourism in India is the largest service industry, accounting for 6.23% of national GDP and nearly one in 10 jobs.
The Global Village region will see 16 exhibitors from all parts of the industry appearing for the first time. 15 new exhibitors will attend the show in the Africa region, the UK has 14 exhibitors coming from across the country to make their first appearance at the event. Meanwhile from the Americas and Caribbean have eight new exhibitors in attendance.
Olympics Minister Jeremy Hunt to open WTM
UK Olympics Minister Jeremy Hunt will open World Travel Market 2011, the leading global event for the travel industry – the final WTM before the 2012 London games.
WTM 2011 will have a strong sports tourism theme as the event examines the potential of sports tourism with the London Olympics’ impact on the UK tourism industry a key focus.
Hunt - MP for South West Surrey and Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport – will discuss the UK government’s tourism plans for the Olympics and how it will create a legacy for not just London but the whole of the UK.
Tourism contributes £115 billion each year to the UK economy, with the UK government believing it has the potential to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the years ahead.
Rotana sponsors WTM registration
Rotana Hotel & Resorts is sponsoring WTM registration for the second year in a row as the group looks to promote its four Egyptian properties; all of which are all witnessing a steady increase in leisure business since the difficult times faced in Egypt and its impact on tourism.
Airlines from the UK and the traditional European feeder markets to Sharm and Hurghada are planning to increase their flights as of November and Rotana Resorts are already gearing up to welcome guests.
WTM joins social media revolution
For the first time this year WTM is reaching out to the global online travel community with the launch of a new travel blog, social media webinars and an extensive social media programme designed to connect with thousands of companies that make up the online travel community.
The World Travel Blogspot went live in September, encouraging the travel communities around WTM to share, tweet and comment. The blog covers travel related topics of interest to the international travel community drawing on WTM’s rich content and official programme of events.
WTM have also identified a demand within the travel community for education on how to develop, launch, manage and measure effective social media campaigns. The paid for social media webinars that will be published during October, will feature an underlying theme of ‘Social Media Business Class – how to future proof your travel business’.
“Social Travel Market is aimed at bloggers, digital marketing executives, PRs and anyone in the travel industry interested in tools such as Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter and the next generation of networks such as Google+,” said Frary. “We have a cracking line-up of speakers confirmed already, including Fortune Cookie’s Justin Cooke, Granturismo’s Lara Dunston, VisitBritain’s Pleasance Coddington and Juantxo Llantada of the Valencia Regional Tourist Board with more big names to come.”
WTM rolls out mobile app
WTM has also launched a free mobile App which is available to download for all major smartphones. The App is available on Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Windows smartphones and is packed with features that include:
Celebrities at WTM
In true WTM style there will be a number of celebrities at WTM, supporting destinations all over the world.
Dannii Minogue will be among guests joining the Etihad stand as the airline recently expanded its route network to Australia.
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff will be at WTM supporting The Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) having lived in the emirate with his family during 2010, will be helping the DTCM to promote the emirate’s sporting interests and in particular the England v Pakistan test match there in Jan / Feb 2012.
Usain Bolt – the world’s fastest man - will be supporting The Jamaica Tourist Board again this year, as the star of the destination’s new series of television adverts.
British rowing champion, double Olympic Gold Medalist and international adventurer James Cracknell OBE will speak at this year’s World Travel Market opening ceremony. He will join the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for the Olympics and Paralympics, who will officially open the event. The theme of the ceremony will be ‘Inspiring the World’.