This month Kally and I attended the World Travel Market. It’s universally recognised as one of the most important events in travel, where industry professionals from all corners of the globe gather to network and showcase their countries, hotels, resorts and attractions. The first ever show took place at Olympia London with just 350 exhibitors but now attracts around 5,000 exhibiting destinations, technology and private sector companies over a three-day period. As events go – and I’ve attended many – it is quite simply huge.
You need to be an intrepid traveller to visit all the stands in one day. And then some. You also need a very comfortable pair of shoes. From the moment you pass through the turnstiles at Excel, London – where the WTM show migrated in 2002 – you’re instantly submerged into a busy, buzzing whirlwind of activity. Energy levels are palpable, with super-intense networking happening at every stand. Passion is aplenty too. So, it’s no wonder it’s very easy to lose yourself in a destination, as you get chatting to the enthusiastic ambassadors who bring it to life with animated talk of amazing food, exciting activities and awesome sights.
You can learn a lot at WTM. We heard about emerging technologies in travel and the rise of more responsible tourism (more about these issues coming soon on the Nobull blog from our dedicated Travel specialists). We heard a hundred opinions and witnessed thousands of people exploring business opportunities. We watched inspiring video content and gathered a library of glossy brochures. We tried local delicacies and made new friends.
I also learned that when you’re on a networking trail as intense as this one is, it pays to stay focused. Working in the travel sector I’m easily distracted by my own wanderlust, so I rationed myself just enough time to tweak my own personal travel bucket list while there. I’m now convinced that I need to go to Argentina (thanks Maria) and a trip to Patmos in Greece is on the cards for next summer (I’ll be booking a table at Pleiades restaurant while I’m there).
Liz Stout is Nobull’s
Content Editor and freelance travel writer.