Sixty new exhibitors have already signed up to do business at this year’s WTM London – the leading global event for the travel industry – including major tourist boards, innovative technology specialists and famous attractions.
Others making their debut represent sectors spanning the travel trade, such as tour operators, cruising, hotels, travel insurance, car hire and restaurants.
First-time exhibitors hail from countries as diverse as the Balkan country of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Islamic Republic of Iran; the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan; and Vietnam in South East Asia. Others come from as far afield as Australia, Bahrain, Ghana, Iceland, Lithuania and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, many exhibitors have decided to upgrade and take a main stand, instead of sharing exhibition space with others, in order to raise their profile during the event.
They include international attractions giant Merlin Entertainments – which runs brands such as Legoland and Madame Tussauds – and the tourist boards of Grenada and Moscow.
English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues is also new as a main stand-holder and will be celebrating the Lake District recently attaining the status of a World Heritage Site.
The Grenada Tourism Authority had been a main stand-holder in previous years, then shared with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation in 2015 and 2016.
Sharon Bernstein, Director of UK & Ireland for the Grenada Tourism Authority, said: “The Grenada Tourism Authority is returning to WTM London as an independent main stand-holder to increase awareness of the #PureGrenada brand with the UK and international travel trade and media.
“The value of the networking opportunities at the show is very important to our team.
“We are also expecting to welcome a high-powered Grenada delegation, including our Minister of Tourism the Hon Clarice Modeste-Curwen; the Chair of the Board, Rodney George; and our Chief Executive Patricia Maher.
“We will also be joined by hotels including Spice Island Beach Resort and True Blue Bay Boutique Resort.”
Another key sector seeing many fresh faces this year is technology, with hotel distribution, travel software, dynamic packaging and virtual reality specialists.
They include brands such as Cyberlogic Inc, Kaptio and Hong Kong uCloudlink Network Technology Co.
Laduma, a virtual reality content production company says it plans to “lead the VR offering at 2017’s WTM London by demonstrating to delegates to how ground-breaking storytelling can change the way people view their brands”.
Ben Smith, Chief Executive of Laduma, said: “We’re delighted to be exhibiting at WTM London 2017 alongside world-famous brands and household names in the industry. “Virtual reality creates a truly immersive world to bring travel and tourism experiences alive.
“This is particularly valuable for brands looking to engage customers in new ways and wishing to provide reassurance and confidence when selecting a vacation, destination, travel mode or adventure experience.
“Laduma’s 360° VR approach can easily make a critical difference between a customer deciding to make the purchase or not.”
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “It’s only July and we’ve already counted around 60 new exhibitors and main stand-holders, which bodes very well for the event in November.
“For the first time, these debutants will see for themselves how the event offers them an unrivalled platform to promote their businesses – while visitors to WTM London will be able to meet new and exciting firms from every corner of the globe, representing all sectors of the travel industry.”