Lithuania will exhibit at World Travel Market (WTM) at Excel London (stand number EM 270), 7-10 November 2011, marking the fifth anniversary of the Lithuanian Tourist Board being established in the UK and what has been the destination’s most successful year yet.
Interest in the destination rocketed in 2011, thanks to Lithuania’s State Department of Tourism hosting the AITO and AITO Agents’ overseas conference in Vilnius in June, as well as the global success of that famous You Tube video of the Mayor of Vilnius using a tank to crush a luxury car illegally parked in a cycle lane to campaign for greater eco awareness.
Dr Raimonda Balniene, Director of the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism, says: “Lithuania has seen a tremendous growth in incoming tourism this year – a rise of 25% in the first half of 2011 (770,000 visitors in total from around the world) compared with 2010. This includes the number of UK visitors rising by 12.6% in the first half of 2011 compared with 2010.
“We’re delighted to be exhibiting once again at WTM, to reinforce to the travel industry what makes Lithuania such a fascinating place to visit. It’s a wonderfully diverse destination, from the Baroque and Gothic architecture of Vilnius to the country’s stunning forests, lakes, coastline and castles, not forgetting its exquisite cuisine.
“We’ll be revealing the latest news and inspirational holiday ideas to be found in the country at WTM and are particularly excited to have the Mayor of Vilnius on our exhibition stand.”
Activity at WTM:
You’ve seen the YouTube video – now meet the Mayor of Vilnius
The Mayor of Vilnius, Arturas Zuokas, is set to attend WTM on Monday, 7 November to discuss the destination’s pledge for greener living, including his plans to achieve Vilnius’s goal to become a world leader by offering residents and visitors the most eco-friendly environment.
Being rich in natural resources, Lithuania is a perfect destination for green activities. Ancient forests and crystal clear lakes cover 30% of the country and the European Green City Index found that Vilnius has the cleanest air of any major European city. Recycling in the capital is on the increase, hybrid vehicles are becoming a common sight on the streets, cycle lanes have been installed throughout the city centre and many more green initiatives are set to be implemented.
The Mayor will be available for press interviews from 2pm on 7 November and the Director of the Lithuania Tourism Department, Dr Raimonda Balniene will host a private evening reception (5.30 – 7pm in WTM’s North Gallery, Room 5) for press and other travel industry personnel. Guests will be treated to Baltic amber vodka, Lithuanian beer and traditional cuisine, and have the chance to take away some incredibly unique Lithuanian gold – washed ashore by the waves of the Baltic, the only sea in the world that releases amber. Learn about Lithuania’s famous 100km amber road, including the solar stone’s history and its special healing powers. The Lithuanian Ambassador, Dr Oskaras Jusys, will also be in attendance.
Goodie bags for travel agents
The first 50 travel agents to visit the Lithuania exhibition stand, EM 270, on 9 and 10 November will receive a goodie bag packed with exciting amber gifts from the country.
Smell the scent of Lithuania
This year Lithuania became the first country in the world to create its own official scent. Visitors to Lithuania’s stand can smell it for the first time at WTM, with the chance to take a bottle of the perfume away with them. Developed by Dainius Rutkauskas and produced by the French perfumery Galimard, the perfume is called ‘Lietuvos Kvapas’ which means ‘the Scent of Lithuania’. The perfume is a wonderful mix of bergamot, wild flowers, ginger, raspberry and grapefruit, with base notes of amber, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli and, intriguingly, tree moss and tree smoke.
Visit the Lithuania stand to learn more about the destination, including the following NEW attractions and flight routes:
Celebrating Cultural Tourism Year 2012
To mark Cultural Tourism Year 2012, visitors to Lithuania next year will have the chance to experience an abundance of fascinating cultural events, including the Lithuanian folk arts and crafts fair (3-4 March); Street Musician Day where talented performers play all kinds of music in the streets across Lithuanian towns and cities (May 5); the International Dance Festival AURA’22 in Kaunas (26-30 September) and the fashion festival ‘Mados infekcija’ (11 November), filled with Bohemian spirit and unconventional fashion shows.
Explore Vilnius on an electric bike
Vilnius has become the first city in Europe to introduce a public electric bike ‘rent and share’ system. Available to rent now at four Tourism Information Centres located in the downtown and Old Town areas of Vilnius, the bikes are called ‘e-orange’, featuring bright orange stripes and a built-in GPS system to monitor the whereabouts of the bikes. Price: €3 for the first hour, with increasing hourly costs.
Unveiling the first snow arena in the Baltics
Set off on a winter adventure all year round at Lithuania’s new Snoras Snow Arena – the first and only one of its kind in the Baltic countries. Set in the Lithuanian town of Druskininkai, visitors can explore the arena’s three ski slopes (two indoors and one outdoor) or sign up for classes with qualified instructors at the ski and snowboarding school. The arena features an abundance of bars, restaurants and cafés, and children’s activities are also on offer. The snow in the Snoras Snow Arena is 100% natural, made only with water and air (known as PowderStar Series technology). Thrill-seekers should also head to the nearby Aquatic Fun Park or, if relaxation is more your thing, Druskininkai is famous for its mineral waters and curative mud, offering many soothing spas. www.info.druskininkai.lt.
New flight routes
Vilnius is set to be more accessible than ever, with Wizz Air introducing two twice-weekly flights from Liverpool from May 2012. This follows Wizz Air’s introduction of new flights to Vilnius from Luton and Doncaster/Sheffield in April 2011. Ryanair and Baltic Air also fly direct to Vilnius and Kaunas from the UK.