November 2, 2021 tourism

WTM London opens with reconnect, rebuild theme


Thousands of travel industry professionals from more than 140 countries will gather in the UK capital for the the WTM London, which opens today under the theme Reconnect. Rebuild. Innovate.

The event (1-3 November) is largest industry gathering since the pandemic began. Middle Eastern countries and organisations are in full strength at the show, presenting their unique destinations and facilities.

The event will also host tourism ministers from across the globe, industry experts, keynote speakers and members of the press.

The continuing relaxation of travel rules in the UK and overseas in recent weeks has prompted a surge in exhibitor bookings and buyer registrations because travel to England is now easier, organisers said.

For those who cannot attend in person, WTM & TF Virtual will take place online on November 8-9, offering further opportunities for networking and business deals.

The event organisers have now confirmed exhibitors from more than 100 countries signed in, while representatives from more than 141 countries and regions have signed up to WTM London’s Buyers’ Club.

These stand bookings demonstrate how many countries see the UK as an important source market in their recovery roadmap – and that WTM London is perfectly timed for 2022 inventory, they said.

Alongside the valuable face-to-face networking opportunities, WTM London will feature important sessions with insights and research about how the sector can recover from the pandemic and reflect the event’s theme: Reconnect. Rebuild. Innovate.

The show will start with the presentation of the annual WTM Industry Report, which sets out the key trends that exhibitors and buyers need to know.

The session will be moderated by Simon Calder, Britain’s leading travel commentator, with input from Harold Goodwin, WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor; aviation expert John Strickland, Director of JLS Consulting; and Tracy Halliwell, Director of Tourism and Convention Bureau at London & Partners.

WTM London will also host the Travel Forward conference (1-3 November), which focuses on the technology driving the industry’s recovery, and International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) which will hold the ‘Invest Finance Restart’ investment summit (1-2 November), bringing together investors, thought leaders, destinations and entrepreneurs.

Investment will also be the theme of the annual UNWTO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and WTM Ministers’ Summit (2 November) which provides a practical platform for Travel & Tourism leaders of the public and private sectors to share best practices and explore investment opportunities.

The Summit will welcome more than 30 Tourism Ministers, including the speakers:

* Nigel Huddleston, United Kingdom Tourism Minister;

* Dr Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt

* Vasilis Kikilias, Minister of Tourism of Greece

* Massimo Garavaglia, Minister for Tourism of Italy

* Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal

* Bernadette Fátima Romulo-Puyat, Secretary of the Philippines Department of Tourism

* Mrs. Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Sierra Leone

* Federico González, CEO Radisson Hotel Group

* David Lavorel, CEO of SITA At Airports and Borders

Huddleston said: “It’s been a challenging period for the travel and tourism sectors, but the huge international attendance at the World Travel Market is testament to the resilience and hard work of those in the industry.

“This landmark event in the travel sector calendar is once again offering brilliant opportunities to reconnect, innovate and build back better for the future.”

‘Investing in Tourism’s Sustainable Future’ is the timely theme of the summit, especially as WTM London will be taking place while world leaders are in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Furthermore, WTM’s responsible tourism programme – a firm fixture for many years – will debate travel and tourism’s role in the climate crisis.

There will be discussions with experts about conservation, nature, sustainability and ‘building back better’ – plus the presentation of the 2021 WTM Responsible Tourism Awards.

Exhibitors and buyers can get their face-to-face deal-making off to a great start with the Speed Networking sessions – five-minute mini-meetings that help forge new business relationships.

New for 2021 to help networking is the Smart Event tool, a contactless lead capture app that enables exhibitors to scan delegates’ badges to gather contact information and acts as a digital business card.

Developed by WTM parent RX, the app is available free for registered exhibitors and can be accessed via the Google Play store for Android devices and AppStore for iPhone users.

The contactless app is just one way that the event organisers are prioritising health and safety protocols at the venue.

Only pre-registered WTM London visitors who are badge holders and exhibitor badge holders will be able to attend.

Attendees will need to demonstrate their Covid-19 status by one of the following: proof of vaccination; proof of a negative test result; or proof of natural immunity.

WTM London will have a Covid testing facility inside ExCeL so visitors who need to take a test before flying home can do so without having to leave the venue.

Simon Press, WTM London Exhibition Director, said: “We are very excited to be just days away from reconnecting with our travel and tourism colleagues from around the world as the sector rebuilds and innovates.

“It has been heartening to see the surge in exhibitor confirmations and visitor registrations over the past few weeks as the easing of restrictions has given more delegates confidence to travel.

“There is substantial pent-up demand for travel in 2022, so it’s crucial to gain a competitive advantage by doing business, networking and learning about key trends and best practice.

“WTM London will be the largest gathering of travel industry professionals in the world since the pandemic began so it will be the perfect platform for recovery in 2022.”

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