The World Travel Market (WTM) takes place every November out at the ExCeL London convention center next to the O2 – the huge entertainment complex that was developed around the Millennium. The World Travel Market is a fun event. It’s a chance to run around the world in a huge auditorium, to network, to research new destinations, and to catch a view of the city that stretches out along the Thames River beyond Canary Wharf to the outer edges of what is called the Thames Barrier. This is the new London – encompassing the financial center, the Olympic Park, and the ExCeL London. It is also the home of London’s City Airport and will be the home of around 20 new businesses over the next five years.
One of the highlights of heading out to that part of London is grabbing the Emirates Air Line. This cable car links across the River Thames and East London. You board the cable car not from North Greenwich Underground and it delivers you to the ExCeL. It’s about a 10-minute journey and during the World Travel Market, as long as you have your badge on, it’s free! This is one of the great rides across the outer banks of East London that you can take. A prelude to your ski adventures in the new year.
Held every year in London’s east metropolis full of new buildings that dot themselves around the river, the World Travel Market is like a huge bazaar, a maze-like walk across the world. I love the fact that you get to start your day in London Town and end your day in the far reaches of Bhutan. In between, you have every single country in the world – even Saudi Arabia that does not want you to come! They are all here.
More than 20,000 people visit the World Travel Market. There are seminars and exhibitions, but for me, the biggest thrill of all is to walk across the world and listen to thousands of languages being spoken from stand to stand. There are roughly 6,500 languages spoken in the world today although 2,000 have less than 1,000 speakers. However, at the World Travel Market everybody seemed well equipped with English. It was absolutely brilliant to walk through Italy, then Greece, to Turkey, and then France, and onto the Arab countries. Entrance into the World Travel Market for trade is free which means that you can travel around the world for nothing. As it turns out, the good old London Underground was on strike and so Emirates airlines was transporting everybody across the eastern London sky in their Emirates cable cars.