THIS year’s World Travel Market, held in London last month, was larger than ever, welcoming 5,402 exhibitors from more than 200 represented regions and countries.
Fiona Jeffery, chairman of World Travel Market said that although she was delighted that the event had broken all records in terms of size, the most important factor was bringing nearly 50,000 senior industry delegates together under one roof to conduct business, network, identify new markets and learn about new global trends and developments.
“World Travel Market has grown virtually year on year, but for us this is not as important as delivering a quality B2B event,” she said.
“Our objectives centre on attracting international buyers with purchasing authority (via our World Travel Market Meridian Club), as well as senior management and industry professionals representing every region and sector.
“So far, our independent research and data demonstrates that we have been lucky enough to be able to achieve this. One of our growth areas over the past three years has been in technology and online travel, which reflects the fact that it is now a cornerstone of the global industry. Consumer booking patterns have shifted quite dramatically in some regions. Interestingly, our growth is broadly in line with a continuing explosion in the sector of up to 20 per cent.”
There were nearly 9,500 appointment requests using WTM’s personal event planner (PEP). Introduced two years ago, the PEP has proven to be a real help to visitors planning their visit more effectively.
It matches delegates own business interests and preferences with exhibitors and their products.
New countries exhibiting for the first time or returning after a long absence were Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino, Gibraltar and Yemen.
Among the new exhibitors from the Middle East this year were the Dubai Shopping Festival, Etihad Airways and Mahan Air.