World Travel Market (WTM) is one of the leading international events for the travel industry, which this year saw more than 50,000 professionals walk through the doors of ExCel London.
As an agency that hosts a wealth of travel companies in its client portfolio, it goes without saying that we were amongst those that descended upon the impressive London conference venue.
Attending WTM on day three of this four-day long event meant that business was in full swing.
As we walked from Asia/Pacific exhibits through to Europe and on to the Caribbean, there were inspiring and impressive stands everywhere. From doing the limbo, live birds flying and traditional dancers there was movement and excitement wherever the eye turned. WTM 2014 undeniably raised the bar this year and unsurprisingly saw visitor rates increase by an impressive 7% compared to last year.
The main focus on day three of WTM was responsible tourism, in association with UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation).
Here are just some of the highlights from the event:
“WTM 2014 will facilitate deals worth around £2.5 billion in travel industry contracts between exhibitors and buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club”– Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, World Travel Market
Just one of these deals include Philippines Tourism Promotions Board and Interface Tourism signing a European digital campaign contract for the Philippine’s Department of tourism, which will cover the UK, France, Spain and Italy.
Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, was also there on the day speaking about gaining slots at Heathrow in 2015 and abandoning services to destinations such as Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Kreeger said he would love to offer exciting new routes to destinations such as Beijing and Sao Paolo, but these slots will most likely be used to increase frequencies to existing routes.
On the other hand, Dubai World Central airport has set its sights to be the “biggest and best” airport in the world. With a $32 billion investment by government-owned Dubai Aiports, it is undeniably well prepared to achieve this goal. The airport currently has capacity of seven million passengers per year but aims to reach 120 million within eight years. Heathrow suffers from planning issues when it comes to expansion, but as Lorne Riley (Head of Corporate Communications at Dubai Airport) explains, being located in a desert means never facing any issues such as this.
“Wellness is recession-proof” -Don Camilleri, Hospitality and Leisure Concepts Director
As a known thought leader within the industry of hospitality, Don Camilleri has overseen five Center Parcs Forest Villages in both design and creation. Camilleri claims that “wellness is recession-proof”, backed up by the fact that occupancy rates have never fallen below 90% at Center Parcs, despite two recessions.
The World Travel Leaders discussion included some interesting insights into the future of travel experiences and how data could be used to enhance this. British Airway’s Chief Commercial Officer, Drew Crawley offered the example of being able to identify passengers with a fear of flying before take-off, and in the near future we could be hearing captains reassuring these passengers.
This sparked particular interest to White, as we will be hosting the annual White Exchange Event in November, and of course it is all about data! With the theme of “Turning Data into Strategy” the event links to some of the discussions and insights being shared at WTM. For more information and ticket registration, visit whiteexchange.eventbrite.co.uk.
White learned about some fascinating developments within the industry of travel from its visit to WTM. The attendance of WTM shows our dedication to our clients, passion for the industries we cater for and our eagerness to learn more.