World Travel Market London is all set to return in November this year from 7 to 9 with the promise of even more business than last year’s record $3.23 billion. This year for the first time, WTM London 2016 will be a three day event, with more than 80 conference seminars covering key sectors such as aviation, hotels, sports, tourism, responsible tourism, blogging, social media and travel technology. The event attracted around 150 new exhibitors this year, which also commemorates two key responsible tourism anniversaries: 20 years of responsible tourism and 10 years of World Responsible Tourism Days.
We spoke to Simon Press, WTM London senior director for more...
How do you see Brexit’s effect on WTM London?
This year WTM London will bring two co-conversations sessions about Brexit: World Travel Leaders: Brexit, How Will It Change UK Travel – Inbound and Outbound? And Impact and opportunities of Brexit on the UK travel market with Mintel. Apart from these two interesting conversations, the event hasn’t had any changes in the number of exhibitors and we are still expecting even more business than last year’s $3.23 billion.
What are your expectations and predictions for this year’s WTM?
This year for the first time, WTM London 2016 will be a three day event Monday 7th, Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th November with extended hours from 10am to 7pm. There will be more than 80 conference seminars covering all the key sectors including aviation, hotels, sports, tourism, responsible tourism, blogging, social media and travel technology. Do not miss out the WTM Presents Keynotes with tourism expert Doug Lansky and futurist Brain Solis. Also, the latest worldwide travel and tourism industry data (statistics and trends) will be presented by the leading research organisations Euromonitor International, Mintel and Nielsen. Mintel’s session will even cover the impact and opportunities of Brexit on the UK travel market.
The WTM Speed Networking in the Global Stage will bring 1,400 exhibitors and more than 200 businesses senior buyers over one session. The two pillars of the WTM London 2016: World Responsible Tourism Day and the prestigious UNWTO & WTM Ministers’ Summit will both celebrate their tenth editions this year. Let’s not forget the Travel Tech Show, the UK’s largest travel technology event and the fastest growing region at WTM London. The show brings together the latest products and services in technology to the global travel industry.
A taste of the ILTM – International Luxury Travel Market – a portfolio of global, regional and specialist luxury travel events returns for the fifth year connecting international luxury suppliers with key luxury buyers. The WTM Wellness Lounge will maximise connection opportunities between wellness exhibitors and wellness buyers to facilitate business deals in the comfort of the dedicated lounge. Finally, WTM London will conclude with one the popular WTM Festivals. A number of exhibitors will host parties showcasing their culture, music and cuisine and the festivals will give everyone the opportunity to socialise after the traditional working hours in a fun and vibrant atmosphere.
How many new exhibitors have signed on?
From Kent to Ecuador via South Korea, WTM London attracted around 150 new exhibitors this year. The highest profile first-time exhibitor is Trivago, a price comparison site focused on hotels which is part of Expedia Inc. It is live in 55 markets around the globe, operates in 33 different languages and attracts 120 million users a month.
In the Global Village, Air Charter Service will be promoting its range of global aircraft chartering options, including its specialist solutions for tour operators and travel agents. Visitors to the Travel Technology region will have the chance to do deals with a range of WTM London debutants, including some businesses based in Asia such as Rish Iyagi, a South Korean marketing agency with branches in Shanghai and Tokyo. Foreign tourist boards and international convention bureaus are among its target clients.
Visitors to the Travel Technology region will have the chance to do deals with a range of WTM London debutants, including some businesses based in Asia such as Rish Iyagi, a South Korean marketing agency with branches in Shanghai and Tokyo. Foreign tourist boards and international convention bureaus are among its target clients.
The variety of new businesses committed to exhibit at this year's WTM is testament to our ability to attract interest across all sectors and regions. We're particularly pleased that some interesting businesses based in Asia are committing to WTM London, reinforcing our position as the leading global event for the travel industry.
What new attractions would be on offer at WTM this year?
The event includes an array of new features including the new 300-seater amphitheatre – the Inspire Theatre – added to the exhibitor floor in the North Hall of ExCeL, while the International Press Centre will now be located on the exhibition floor in the South Hall, facilitating improved contact between the media and the exhibitors.
Moreover, this year WTM London’s parent company, Reed Exhibitions, has signed a global agreement with hotel booking website HotelMap to give delegates attending any of its travel events access to state-of-the-art hotel booking. The deal starts with bookings for WTM London.
What are the highlights from the Middle East this year?
Middle East is one of the most important region to WTM London. For instance, last year the WTM London 2015 Industry Report identified Iran as one of the emerging destinations for UK holidaymakers. In 2015, Iran and Britain restored diplomatic relations leading to a boost in UK holidaymakers visiting the country. Iran boasts the most UNESCO world heritage sites in the whole of the Middle East, so there’s plenty to visit for overseas tourists. Furthermore, the largest delegation of Iranian private and public sector was in attendance at WTM London in 2015 to agree deals with tour operators and travel agents to bring overseas tourists to the country and WTM London 2016 is expecting even more business for the country.
This is on top of a number of multinational companies that have expressed an interest in developing the country’s tourism infrastructure. One in six UK holidaymakers has expressed an interest in visiting the country, which is a significant percentage for a country that has been off the tourism map for so long. Moreover, one in three industry executives expect to do more business in Iran next year. Last year, UK tour operator Cox & Kings started selling holiday to Iran this year.
We also have six emirates out of seven in the UAE participating at WTM London: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Sharjah.
Among all the ME’s exhibitors, we can highlight Iran Rastin Tours, AccorHotels Middle East, Lots of Hotels and Qatar Tourism Authority.
Are you seeing a sizeable increase in African exhibitors? Can you tell us more?
Africa's tourism industry is ideally placed to benefit from the current interest in wellness travel, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, and will be released on Tuesday 8 November at World Travel Market London.
The Africa region at WTM London 2016 will showcase a number of suppliers and destinations combining safaris and wellness, many of which are at the forefront of what is an increasingly important segment. The rise of Africa's tourism is the emphasis on sustainable and reduced footprint holidays, with increasing importance placed on ensuring the benefits of tourism are directly and indirectly shared with the local economy.
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