I recently had the opportunity to visit the World Travel Market (WTM) which is held every year at London’s ExCeL arena. The WTM gives suppliers and tourist boards the opportunity to present their destination to potential investors, such as ourselves here at TUI. Hosted in a massive exhibition hall, destinations were arranged as a giant world map with hundreds of exhibitors scattered around the arena. Each stand had numerous experts divulging information on their area of expertise.
Whilst walking around, I got the opportunity to learn about the next up and coming destinations whilst also sampling some of the local cuisines that the various locations have to offer. A particular favourite of mine was the Iberico ham from the Spanish tourism board!
Alongside the main stands were talks held by senior individuals from travel companies, such as Finnair and Thomas Cook. One particular talk that I went to described the measures being taken around the globe to become more resilient to terrorism. A particularly relevant talk given the current global situation. Pakistan was used as a major example where, due to terror attacks, only four countries were allowed to fly there. Despite this, the Pakistan tourism board revealed that due to redirecting their efforts towards domestic holidays they have seen a record number (2.3 million) of holiday makers arriving over the summer season.
Despite working for a travel company the sheer number of destinations on offer still astounded me and the atmosphere of the WTM in general was fantastic. If anyone offers me the chance to go again I wouldn’t have to think twice about it, it was a truly invaluable experience.