This year, WTM will focus on some of the most important technology aspects with its new ‘Travel Forward’ sessions which will provide a comprehensive outlook of nextgen technology for travel and hospitality. Simon Press, Senior Director, WTM London, shares some of the key highlights.
What will be different at WTM this year?
WTM London will focus on the geographic regions of the exhibition floor with Inspiration Zone added to each region. These zones will host dedicated regional content and events. The inaugural International Travel & Tourism Awards will also take place on the evening of November 6, 2018 at Tobacco Dock.
The awards will honour the excellence and best practices in 13 categories. A new technology event will also be co-located with WTM London at ExCeL. ‘Travel Forward’ will inspire the travel and hospitality industry with the next generation of technology.
How many exhibitors are expected from the UAE, GCC and Middle East?
We have more than 300 exhibitors from the Middle East region, including Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Ajman Tourism Development Department, Oman Ministry of Tourism and Jordan Tourism Board. Other exhibitors include Saudia Airline, QE2 Shipping and Al-Muhaidb Group of Hotel Apartments & Grand Plaza Hotels.
Do share the business transacted last year and expectations for this year.
WTM London 2017 attracted around 50,000 delegates. The number of pre-qualified buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club stood at 10,484 – up 8 per cent on 2016. The number of senior industry executives invited by exhibitors to do business at WTM London rose 14 per cent year-on-year to 16,049 – including an 8 per cent rise. This year, it is anticipated that the 50,000 delegates from 182 countries and regions will attend and conduct even more business than last year’s record £3.1 billion.
Is there a special focus on millennials this year?
There will be a couple of sessions focusing on social media and millennials. The inaugural day will have a look at Instagram’s impact on travel. The photo-sharing app reached its billion-user threshold in June and as its influence continues to grow, the session will ask how travel marketers can get involved. This will be followed by a talk entitled ‘How to Get Billions of Video Views,’ which will explain how a handful of video creators are responsible for billions of Facebook views.