World Travel Market London 2023, the world’s most influential travel & tourism event, opened in London with ministers, global experts and industry players attending in large numbers.
About 4,000 exhibitors are taking part in the exhibition at ExCeL London (November 6-8) to exchange ideas, drive innovation and accelerate their businesses.
More than 14% new exhibitors, ranging from household names to specialist firms and niche brands, have signed up for the show. High-profile names debuting this year include Eurostar – the high-speed international rail service connecting the UK with mainland Europe – and ABBA Voyage, a live concert staged in London with virtual ‘Abbatars’.
Also exhibiting for the first time is the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which is heading to WTM London to highlight its culture, heritage, cuisine, wellness and sustainability offerings.
Other tourism boards making their first appearance at WTM London come from destinations as diverse as Sabah – promoting travel to northern Borneo, in Malaysia – and Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Other new exhibitors from Asia are Ayana Hospitality, which offers luxury resorts and hotels in Indonesia, and Vietnam’s Thien Minh Group, showcasing its wide range of services, such as destination management, hospitality, online solutions and aviation.
Rapidly growing global online travel agency Trip.com Group will be attending to target growth within the European market, while UK-based package holiday specialist HolidayBest will promote its worldwide range of destinations and vacation styles.
Other new exhibitors will be traveling from Turkey, such as the Turkish travel agency association TURSAB, and Salkantay Trekking will be visiting from Peru, where it is a leading tour operator offering treks and adventure tours to Machu Picchu.
Delegates in the technology zone will be able to meet new tech exhibitors such as search marketing agency Vertical Leap, and payments specialist flywire – which exhibited with WTM for the first time this year at WTM Africa and is now coming to WTM London.
Global Trends Report
The event will reveal the latest trends shaping the industry when it releases its Global Report on the first day of the show. The exclusive WTM Global Travel Report, compiled in association with renowned researchers at Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, shows how leisure travelers’ needs and desires are changing – and shines a spotlight on emerging and growing destinations for 2024 and beyond.
Attendees will gain valuable insights into the shifting landscape of travel and learn about consumer demands, helping them shape their business and plan for the future.
During the panel discussion, industry figureheads from across the sector will share their thoughts about how the trends will affect their plans for marketing, sales, innovation and investment in the coming months and years.
Juliette Losardo, WTM London Exhibition Director, said: “We’re thrilled to launch the first ever – WTM Global Travel Report – it demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the travel community have the freshest insight into trends shaping the sector and will support discussions, meetings and planning taking place during the three days at WTM.’’
“We partnered with Oxford Economics, a leader in tourism data and economics and the report presents findings from international research, using an expansive databank covering nearly 185 countries worldwide as destinations and as origin markets and all major bilateral tourism flows in terms of visits, nights and spend, as well as unique industry insights, the report gives a comprehensive outlook on tourism.”
“The worldwide outlook and vast, informative findings will give delegates invaluable insights to ensure they stay ahead in the travel sector.”
The report will detail how the market has fared in 2023 and forecasts how domestic and international leisure travel will develop in 2024. It considers the impact of challenges such as inflation and the cost-of-living squeeze – and compares the varying fortunes of different regions and markets.
The WTM Global Travel Report will delve into the drivers of demand in this post-pandemic era, examining how and why travelers are prioritizing their holidays above other types of expenditure, and considering the outlook for different demographics.
Importance of Education
WTM London will also shine a spotlight on the importance of education in the sector at this year’s Ministers’ Summit.
The topic for ministers to debate at the high-profile annual summit will be “Transforming Tourism Through Youth and Education”, taking place on November 6 with BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi returning to host the discussions among the largest annual global gathering of tourism ministers.
For 17 years, tourism leaders from around the world have come together at World Travel Market, in association with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) to debate policy, strategy, development and investment.
The UNWTO forecasts continued growth in international tourist arrivals in the coming years, leading to a surge in employment opportunities within the sector.
By 2030, the tourism sector could employ more than 300 million people worldwide – but a skilled and knowledgeable workforce is vital, requiring the sector to invest and close existing gaps in education and training.
Three New Areas
WTM will have three exciting new areas on the exhibition floor this year – Accommodation & Wholesalers, Experiences and Transportation. The new areas will replace the International Hub and predominantly showcase private-sector and non-destination exhibitors.
The Accommodation & Wholesalers, Experiences and Transportation areas have been launched following extensive research carried out by World Travel Market earlier this year, which identified a trend towards travel purchasing decisions based upon experiences, as opposed to purely destination, particularly among younger generations.
WTM’s behavioral research highlighted the changing habits of the traveler, with Millennials and Gen Z increasingly making travel choices based on experience or bucket lists, as opposed to just the city, country, or region they want to visit.