Travel from China into space at WTM

Two of the Ask Me girls at WTM 2005, ready to help visitors

FROM space’s new frontiers to China’s emerging potential as a top tourist destination, next month’s World Travel Market (WTM) will bring the future of travel into firm focus with a series of events.

The event’s annual – and most diverse ever – seminar programme alone takes on a slew of issues, such as space, the luxury market, women in tourism, spa and wellness, maximising potential on the web, reaching the gay and lesbian market, branding, sales and marketing trends, return on investment and the future of the travel agent.
Said WTM managing director Fiona Jeffery, “We have created a dynamic and challenging seminar programme with something of interest for everyone. The seminars aim to inform, educate and challenge both exhibitors and visitors to recognise new and potentially profitable areas, helping them make the most of their businesses.”
Space Adventures’ Eric Anderson will speak on ‘Space exploration: the next generation of travel’. His Virginia-based company has already sent three space tourists for eight days each to the earth-orbiting International Space Station. “I will discuss the critical need for near-term space tourism to ensure the possibility of less expensive, more reliable opportunities for future space exploration. I will also explain what it is like to travel to space and what the next 50 years of commercial space travel will entail,” he said.
Other seminars include ‘The future is now: the latest online developments’, with speakers  Warren Kinny of Exodus Systems, Roberto da Re from Dolphin Dynamics and Gerry Samuels of Mobile Travel Technologies; ‘The rise and rise of spa and wellness tourism’, organised by British International Spa Association; ‘The future of the travel agent’, with Paul Evans of the Lowcost Travel Group and Todd Carpenter of the Travel Trust Association; and ‘Looking into the future of tourism: the Tourism Business Frontiers Forum’ chaired by Professor David Airey. Further subjects that will be discussed include women in tourism, selling Germany after the World Cup, marketing to gays and lesbians and the value of branding online.

The increasing impact of the online world, meanwhile, will be explored in a separate event, the two-day Travolution@WTM, running November 7 and 8. Leading figures from The Guardian to Google are among the speaker line-up and will address how the travel industry can benefit from new media in a consumer driven market and how their brands made the move to go online.
Speakers include Chris Nixon of Travel Supermarket;’s Carsten Willert; Marc Charron, european managing director, TripAdvisor; and Michelle Peluso, president and chief executive officer, Travelocity. The event costs £599 ($1,140) for two days, with a special discounted rate for WTM exhibitors.

The first pan-industry conference on bilateral tourism relations between China and Europe, WTM’s ChinaContact Conference ‘China – the Future of Travel’ will take place on November 6 and promises to bring together government and industry players from the outbound and inbound sectors in Europe and China.
“Despite the fact that China is forecast to become the world’s top tourist destination and the major tourist source market by 2020, much around China’s tourism industry remains shrouded in mystery,” said Jeffery. “That is why this conference is crucial to professionals seeking a deeper understanding of the opportunities and how to conduct business with the Chinese.”
Roy Graff, managing director of ChinaContact, a market-entry tourism specialist consultancy, said his firm plans to bring in a Chinese delegation of decision makers to London to network with Europe's travel professionals, government and media.

A special WTM/IATA two-day conference, ‘Synergies for Future Growth – Aviation and Travel and Tourism’, will explore the relationships between aviation and travel/ tourism to achieve sustainable growth, and discuss the aviation issues that impacted the industry this year, such as heightened security, continued rise of low-cost carriers, emerging markets, expanding airports, the introduction of ‘super’ aircrafts, and more. The event runs on November 7 and 8.
Simon LaFortune, assistant director, conferences and events, IATA said speakers are tasked to ‘tell it like it is’ so that sound business decisions can be made based on facts, best practices and solid data.
IATA’s director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani will make the keynote address ‘State of the industry: A cautious optimism’. The cost of the two day conference is $1,699.
More information is available at t