Every year, I go to the World Travel Market, WTM, in London. It’s a fabulous journey in more ways than one. I take the underground, and if the day is nice, I usually begin my WTM adventure by taking the cable car renamed the “London Cable Car”that soars across East London with views looking along the winding River Thames and the massive development of East London that once was a wasteland.
Travel is an extraordinary sector in our global economy over $15 trillion industry nearly 12% of the overall global economy. Imagine how devastated this economy was for two years. Now, in 2023, it’s reported that we are higher than 2019 levels. Great news all around.
At WTM, the world is divided by a central corridor of cafés and food places. Oh, wish it would be that simple! One side is Asia ,Africa, Australia, Middle East and the Americas and the other side is all of Europe. There is a huge technology section that straddles the two. There are places that are conspicuous by their absence. No Myanmar. No Russia. And no Israel. Booths that seem to have grown beyond all imagination are the Saudi and Quatar booths. Saudi, previously not a tourist destination is now a huge player. And then there is the traditional fringe market. Cuba, hanging on a limb, trying to compete with glitzy Caribbean destinations.
Somebody asked me once why I go to the world travel market every year. It’s to see colleagues, to bump into friends and most importantly to have a walk around the world and to see or gain ideas for new places, new destinations and see what’s going on in travel. There are lots of entertaining talks about about sustainable tourism and new trends in travel in general. And the Elizabeth line, the new underground line in London, takes you all the way to Custom House, and makes the journey from central London out to the conference center even faster than before.
Walking around World Travel Market is a walk through the world. A glimpse of every country imaginable. Music, costumes and a rich piece of global travel fabric, all under one roof! And in the end, a chance to chat with old friends, get some ideas and if you really want to to discover a little bit of the east end of London, walk around or get off at Canary Wharf.
London weaves modern with ancient in a totally groovy way.
I can’t wait to see you again. What a great conference. This was. Thank you