World Travel Market opens its doors in London today as part of the newly inaugurated London Travel Week that runs until November 7th.
Celebrating its 40th year, the world’s largest travel trade show is expected to see its 51,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries pack into ExCeL London to conduct some £3.5 billion of deals that will shape the future of how we travel.
It’s a far cry from when the show was first opened by the duke of Kent at Kensington Olympia in December 1980 when just 40 countries were on show and 7,700 visitors crossed the threshold of the inaugural exhibition.
Today, the show operates in a world where tourism is the UK’s fastest growing sector accounting for almost 12 per cent of all jobs, generating £232 billion annually for the economy, and host city London is the third most-visited city in the world with more than 19 million visitors a year.
World Travel Market alone is thought to add £160 million to London’s economy, taking into account how much show visitors spend on hotels, restaurants and entertainment.
Highlights of the last 40 years at World Travel Market include the event having been opened by six royals, four British government ministers, seven industry figureheads, four renowned explorers, two London mayors and a Miss World.
In 1985, security had to be increased as record numbers turned up to see Princess Diana open the show.
Celebrities who have visited over the years include Michael Douglas, Richard Branson, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve Redgrave, Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, Freddie Flintoff, Viv Richards and Dannii Minogue.
World Travel Market – London is the leading global event for the travel industry, a must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide tourism industry.
About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating about £3.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
Find out more on the official website.