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WTM news: Celebs out in force as travel expo enjoys visitor rise

WTM news: Celebs out in force as travel expo enjoys visitor rise Travel adventurers Charley Boorman and Ben Fogle on the Azores stand with Joao Vallera Ambassador of Portugal and Cecilia Meireles Portugal Tourism Minister

World Travel Market 2012, the global event for the travel industry, has got off to a flying start with exhibitor invitation visitors up five percent on last year’s event. Delegates included a host of travel celebrities who made guest appearances on the stands.

The Monday of WTM is an exhibitor invite-only day with the aim of allowing exhibitors to hold discussions and negotiations with those buyers that they want to conduct business with.

The first day of WTM 2012 saw almost 8,000 (7,992) exhibitor invitations attend, according to unaudited figures. This compares to 7,614 on the first day of WTM 2011, which was 14 percent up on the year before.

Delegates arrive for the mega tourism festival

More than 200 of the exhibitor invitee buyers took part in the highly successful Speed Networking session, which took place before the event opened to allow even more time for exhibitors and buyers from WTM Meridian Club to negotiate and conclude deals at WTM 2012. 

Furthermore, more than 30 luxury travel buyers had pre-scheduled business appointments with luxury travel brands in the session – A Taste of ILTM at WTM.

Martin Craigs, PATA, Fiona Jeffery OBE, WTM, Talerb Rifai, UNWTO and David Scowsill, WTTC

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director, WTM, Simon Press said: “I am delighted with the attendance figures for the day of WTM 2012. World Travel Market is all about exhibitors doing business with WTM Meridian Club buyers. The exhibitor invitation policy for the day of WTM was introduced to allow exhibitors to negotiate business deals with those buyers they want to sign contracts with.

Ben Fogel at the Azores stand
“The WTM Speed Networking session was the busiest ever with more than 200 buyers and 400 exhibitors taking part, setting up a highly successful day and WTM 2012.”

Travel adventurer and actor, Charley Boorman, at the South Africa stand

The show also welcomed a host of celebrities, including actor and adventurer Charley Boorman, who starred with his close friend and fellow thespian Ewan McGregor in the epic TV series “Long Way Round”, a motorcycle trip across Europe and Asia, and “Long Way Down” from Scotland to Cape Town.

Boorman entered WTM in unorthodox fashion by abseiling down the walls of the building. Boorman was here to publicise his latest series, Extreme Frontiers: South Africa, which airs in the UK on Channel Five early in 2013, and was sponsored by Mantis Collection and South African Tourism.

Meanwhile the presenter Ben Fogle made a special appearance on the Azores Stand. Fogle is bidding to swim the Atlantic in about 100 days in 2014 and will train in the Azorers. The action man said the Atlantic islands made a perfect training base, especially since he has been visiting them since early last decade and also got married there.