WORLD Travel Market (WTM) London 2018, the leading global event for the travel industry, will be the world’s local meeting place as the event adopts an increased regional focus with a dedicated Asia hall and evolves into seven co-located events under one roof.
WTM London has about 5,000 exhibitors from 182 countries and regions, holding almost one million business meetings with 10,500 senior buyers. With about 100 sessions taking place and input from 350 senior industry experts, the WTM London Asian Region will be hosting almost 186,000 on-stand meetings from 7,799 industry professionals interested in the region at this year’s event.
According to WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said about 50,000 people attend WTM London every year, with almost one million business meetings leading to £3.1 billion in industry. The Asia region of WTM London is growing phenomenally just as the region attracts more and more visitors.
“But according to UNWTO figures, in terms of the number of tourists, Asia saw a record of 324 million tourists in 2017, a 6% increase on the previous year. Of the 10,500 buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club 3,347 were at WTM London 2017 to purchase Asian product. Thailand was the most popular destination with 1,864 buyers looking to purchase product from the country, closely followed by China with 1,618 buyers,” he said.
Simon Press also mentioned that Asia is one of the most dynamic regions in the world, with international tourist arrivals expected to reach 535 million by 2030 – up from about 207 million in 2010 – driven by economic growth and a rising middle class with more disposable income.
“Inspiration Zones will be added to the seven regions of the event – UK & Ireland, Europe & Mediterranean, Middle East & North Africa, Americas, Asia, International Hub, and Africa – to make the event more focused on specific destinations. The new focus will put the spotlight on each of the regions, with the hubs acting as a focal point to highlight the different cultures, challenges and issues,” he said.
He also explained that the inspiration zones will host regional-focused content sessions on a range of subjects and sectors, as well as networking events. For example, each Inspiration Zone will host a regionally focused session giving insight into the regional travel and tourism industry, including ForwardKeys on the China market.
“We are always striving to make the event even more relevant and beneficial for our exhibitors and participants. A regional centre point in the form of hubs will allow each region to debate its specific opportunities and challenges in all sectors. Furthermore, the inspiration zones will be used for specific regionally-focused networking opportunities,” Simon Press added. [traveltextonline.com/photo special]