The third and final day of WTM London 2017 featured packed halls, numerous business meetings and insightful seminars and presentations.
Responsible tourism was the key theme for the final day, with World Responsible Tourism Day – the largest day of responsible tourism in the world – taking place. As the leading global event for the travel industry, WTM London has championed the cause of responsible tourism and the annual WTM Responsible Tourism Awards celebrated the best of travel across six categories.
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana won the best in carbon reduction category; Grootbos in South Africa was the best for accommodation; Sapa O’Chau, a female ethnic minority-owned enterprise in Vietnam scooped the best community initiative award; Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana won the best communication award; the prize for best poverty reduction initiative went to Indian walking holidays and local accommodations provider Village Ways while South Africa’s Transfrontier Parks Destinations was name the best tour operator.
Overtourism remains a major concern in the context of sustainability and was discussed for the headline Responsible Tourism event. Adama Bah from International Centre for Responsible Tourism West Africa suggested part of the problem is that “governments still think in terms of numbers and not in terms of benefit for communities.”
In an afternoon session which looked at accessible travel, Ade Adepitan MBE, a Paralympian and TV presenter, noted that while people with disabilities find it difficult to travel, improvements are being made, citing the example of the Colosseum in Rome which has installed a lift which lets people in wheelchairs experience the 2,000-year-old attraction.
The Digital Influencers Speed Networking session provided the chance for suppliers to talk to a stellar line-up of 120 global bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers. As more people take inspiration from the growing number of digital channels, the importance of influencers in the marketing mix continues to climb.
The session was sponsored by Whalar, a platform which connects brands with content creators. Its co-founder James Street said: “Travel is a big space in the influencer landscape – and it does not look like advertising. When influencers are holding a product, it looks like an advert, but if they’re sat on a beach in Mauritius, it doesn’t.”
Carole Rosenblat runs Drop Me Anywhere, which specialises in solo female and spontaneous travel, said: “It has been useful and very valuable today. I have met people from Tenerife, Naples, boutique hotels and other influencers – one that I met at WTM last year is now sharing an Airbnb place with me for this year’s WTM.”
PR expert Debbie Hindle, managing director at Four Travel, noted in another session that the influencer/blogging industry “has expanded massively…and while there is still a lot of professionalism to come, there is a huge amount of creativity and passion.”
Elsewhere, the Travel Tech Theatre hosted a full day of standing-room only sessions. Highlights included tnooz, Amadeus and SITA discussing blockchain, Hotelbeds and Accor looking at the future of hotel distribution technology and Julia Lo Bue-Said from Advantage Travel Centres explaining how travel agents are using tech to not only remain relevant but also to grow their business.
The Inspire theatre continued to inspire, with BBC journalist Ros Atkens presenting BBC World research into so-called “affluent millennials” and how brands can tap into this group’s propensity to travel by offering unique experiences which are “Instagrammable”.
The event concluded with WTM Festivals, allowing visitors to end their time at this year’s event experiencing the culture, hospitality and cuisine of the Caribbean, Tokyo, Indonesia, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Ghana, Senegal and Brazil.
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises five leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The events are;
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL – London every November generating around £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. http://london.wtm.com/. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017 – London.
International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. http://igtm.wtm.com/. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 – Cannes.
WTM Latin America now in its fifth edition attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. http://latinamerica.wtm.com/. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. http://africa.wtm.com/. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. www.arabiantravelmarketwtm.com Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than 7m participants.
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.
More information, please contact:
Paul Nelson – WTM Portfolio PR Manager
Natalia Hartmann – WTM Portfolio PR Executive