World Travel Market: a rather confused report

My impression of WTM in ExCel London is so fractured that I can’t make a coherent narrative out of it. So here you go: five ways to talk about World Travel Market.

In plain words

Putting it simple, WTM is an annual party organised for people who are involved in travel industry, so that they can meet, talk and agree to sign.

Every exhibitor has its own stand(s), where information about services they provide can be found. Apart from that, they can come up with all sorts of things to make their stand interesting. This year, for example, Taiwanese were giving away fresh flowers, Egyptians were offering to write your name in Arabic and put it into a picture frame, a man from Abu Dhabi had a real hawk to take pictures with, lots of countries had their national dishes (or drinks) to treat you, and so on.

Visitors (“buyers”) are trade people plus students plus press plus exhibitors themselves. They walk around and watch, ask, make contacts, taste, wonder and take pictures.

There are also all sorts of seminars and events, so it’s massive.

In figures

• The exhibition is open for four days every year;
• More than 5000 exhibitors took part in the event this November;
• The “WTM Official Catalogue 2010” has 362 pages in it and weighs about 800 (!!!) grammes;
• It took me more than two hours to walk through the pavilion. Mind that I (almost) didn’t stop to talk to exhibitors;
• The exhibition halls are divided into nine “regions”: Africa and North America, Asia/Pacific and Indian Ocean, Europe and Mediterranean, Middle East, UK and Ireland, London, The Americas and Caribbean, Technology and Online Travel, Global Village.

In 35 words

Hotels and resorts, airlines, city tourist boards, travel agencies, museums, amusement parks, national costumes and souvenirs, brochures, cameras and interviews, suits and ties, business cards, wine and champagne, double cheek-to-cheek kisses and handshakes, handshakes, handshakes…

In my thoughts

– “Wow this looks huge”
– “Russian exhibition hall is a bore, but I don’t want to leave… Is that home-sickness?..”
– “Moulin Rouge!”
– “Haaa, the Scottish accent does sound funny. And I like their kilts!”
– “Wha…? Oh, of course, the Brussels stand”
– “I FEEL SLOVENIA, nice slogan!”
– “Paris Disneyland! I want I want I want!”
– “Oh my goodness! They scared me! The London Dungeon must have a stand nearby!”
– “All those people do look important”
– “I think I saw it before… Am I lost?”
– “It’s a pity I don’t drink”
– “Of course, you wouldn’t be Egyptian if you didn’t write your name and the e-mail address on the back of this card”
– “Year, I know you are tired, but could you please pose for my camera?”
– “St. Kitts, where on earth is that?”
– “What time is it?”
– “Aaargh… The train is so packed that the windows got misted”
– “I can’t believe it, they are still exchanging business cards!”

In pictures

P.S.: Many thanks to Constantine for organising this field trip!

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