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Friday, 31 October, 2014, 10 : 45 AM [IST]

WTM 2014 to focus on travel technology & importance of mega events for tourism

With WTM 2013 generating more than GBP 2.3 billion, the event this year will open an hour earlier for exhibitors and buyers to do business. There will be a strong participation of 4,895 exhibitors from across the world, and of these 172 will be from India. TravelBiz Monitor details what one can expect from WTM 2014
wtm_2014_1.jpgJustin King CBE, former CEO, J Sainsbury’s, and one of UK's business leaders, will open the four-day World Travel Market (WTM), now in its 35th year, on November 3, 2014 at ExCeL London. King will inaugurate the event at the WTM Captains of Industry Opening Lunch, which will host 200 of the travel and tourism industry’s most senior executives. Simon Press, Senior Director, World Travel Market, said, “I am delighted that Justin King has agreed to open WTM 2014. Such a successful and well-known businessman, King is the perfect high-profile speaker to open this year’s event as WTM looks forward to celebrating 35 years of doing business, looking at the past, present and future. King will inspire the travel industry leader audience and kick off four days of business deal negotiations between exhibitors and WTM Buyers’ Club members.” Organised by Reed Exhibitions, WTM 2014 has Tourism Flanders as the official partner.

The 2013 edition of WTM generated more than GBP 2.2 billion with over 50,000 senior industry executives signing business deals. To further push the envelope, the exhibition this year will open at 9 am on each of the four days, instead of the  previous time of 10 am, giving exhibitors and buyers from WTM Buyers’ Club an extra hour to do business. Some 4,895 exhibitors have registered for WTM 2014, while India will have a strong presence of 172 exhibitors. This year WTM will welcome around 234 new exhibitors.

Europcar Mobility Centre
Europcar, a car hire service provider in Europe, will be the official Mobility Partner for WTM 2014, providing a range of travel services and special offers for exhibitors and visitors, including transportation around the event venue. Also, Europcar will be launching a business lounge at the East Entrance of ExCeL London, which can be used by WTM visitors for meetings. Europcar will be using WTM 2014 as a platform to launch the latest addition to its market-leading travel solutions.

wtm_2014_2.jpgTravel Tech Show & Keynote Address
The Travel Tech Show at WTM is the UK’s largest travel technology event with more than 10,000 visitors. The event will be twice the size at WTM 2014 than it was four years ago.

As part of WTM Travel Perspective programme, which will concentrate on social media and digital content as part of the stand-alone Travel Tech Show, two of the biggest social networking brands - Buzzfeed and Twitter will be the keynote speakers on the second day of WTM 2014.

Buzzfeed will be represented by Will Hayward, Vice President of Advertising, Europe. The presentation - 27 things you really need to know about Buzzfeed and content marketing - will look at a number of successful social advertising campaigns it has run with travel companies and destinations.

Twitter will concentrate specifically on examples of how its UK and Ireland team is working with the travel and tourism sector. The keynote will delve into the concept of ‘second screening’ - the phenomenon of people watching TV at the same time as using Twitter on a separate device - and how travel companies can increase awareness and bookings as a result.

Jo Marshall, Sales Manager, WTM, said, "Securing two of the biggest names in social media and content marketing so early in our planning is a testament to how important the Travel Technology Show at WTM has become over the past few years. Furthermore, it also confirms that travel and tourism is the most important vertical for social media and that WTM is the place for business conversations to take place.”

wtm_2014_3.jpgIncredible India
India will have a strong presence at WTM 2014 with 172 exhibitors showcasing a wide variety of offerings for outbound travellers. At the Incredible India pavilion (stall numbers 350 and 300), the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India will promote the country with a delegation of 46 exhibitors, including state tourism boards, tour operators, hotels, and tourism suppliers. Along with Air India, Chandigarh Tourism, Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Assam Tourism Development Corporation, India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd, Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board, Sikkim Tourism, and Uttar Pradesh Tourism, will showcase the best that the country has to offer to international tourists. Active India Holidays Pvt. Ltd., Assam Bengal Navigation Company, Spices Board of India, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Luxury India Holidays Pvt. Ltd., SnowLion Expeditions Pvt. Ltd., Wanderlust Travels Pvt. Ltd., Ranbanka Palace, etc., will also participate under the Incredible India stall.

A host of state tourism boards and tour operators will have an individual presence at WTM 2014. These include the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Goa Tourism, Karnataka Tourism, Kerala Tourism, West Bengal Tourism, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Odisha Tourism, Intersight Tours & Travels, Le Passage to India Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd., Creative Travel, Shiv Vilas Resorts Pvt. Ltd., The Claridges Hotels & Resorts, among others, will be individual participants.

Indian States at WTM 2014
Kerala perceives WTM to be a very productive platform to promote popular and new tourism products of the state. P I Sheik Pareeth (IAS), Director, Kerala Tourism, said, “Kerala is hugely popular among the UK and European source markets as the only destination offering authentic Ayurveda and backwater experiences. We are at the forefront with authentic establishments providing experiences such as Ayurveda and houseboat ride to tourists. Today this destination is not only providing these, but also Heritage, Responsible Tourism, Wildlife, Adventure Tourism, Wedding Tourism, etc. The destination holds huge potential in these new products. Therefore, Kerala Tourism will promote new tourism products at WTM London, including Wedding Tourism, Responsible Tourism, and Ecotourism. Around 20-plus participants from Kerala have confirmed to attend WTM 2014 along with Kerala Tourism.”

Like the 2013 edition, MTDC will be participating independently at WTM 2014. At the Maharashtra Tourism pavilion, inbound tour operators, hoteliers and enterprises promoting alternative, Eco and Sustainable Tourism concepts will showcase the state as a preferred outbound destination for travellers from the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Assam Tourism is participating in WTM London this year within the exhibiting space of India Tourism. With five national parks, two of which are designated World Natural Heritage Sites by UNESCO, and several wildlife and bird sanctuaries, Assam is popular among wildlife enthusiasts. Therefore, at WTM London, state officials will be promoting Golf Tourism, Tea Tourism and river cruises, apart from laying emphasis on Responsible Tourism. “We look forward to showcasing the Assamese culture and dance forms at WTM London this year. A lucky draw promising four-night free stay and elephant safari will also be organised to attract more footfall to our stall,” said Mukul Chandra Gogoi, Director, Assam Tourism.

Promoting the state at the Incredible India pavilion, Sikkim Tourism’s focus this year would be on propagating its adventure activities such as trekking, river rafting, mountain biking, mountaineering, yak riding, bird watching, and paragliding in Nathang and Machong areas. C Zangpo, Secretary, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Sikkim, said, “Encouraging Village Tourism in North, South and East Sikkim to promote community-based tourism while helping local communities benefit fully from the economic opportunities of low-impact tourism is also high on our priority list.”

Punjab Tourism is all set to showcase its Culture and Heritage offerings at WTM this year. Basanta Raj Kumar, IFS, Executive Director, Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB), said, “In order to grab a major share of the UK and USA outbound markets, we will be focussing on marketing Culture and Heritage offerings such as Farm Tourism and Excursions (around 100 km) from the city of Amritsar to eco-friendly destinations.”

Gearing up for the Uttar Pradesh Travel Mart to be organised from February 22 to 24, 2015, Avinash Mishra, Deputy Director - Travel Trade, Uttar Pradesh Tourism, feels that WTM London would be the best opportunity to publicise and market the upcoming mart within the travel trade fraternity. “We also aim to promote the Heritage circuit of Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi by marketing culinary experiences, heritage walks, the old-city charm, and the modern city tours,” Mishra added.

UNWTO and WTM Ministers’ Summit
The 2014 UNWTO and WTM Ministers’ Summit will put the spotlight on the essential connection between tourism and mega events, looking in particular at how such events can create a lasting legacy. Tourism Ministers from around the world and private sector representatives will participate in a discussion around the theme ‘Tourism and Mega-Events: building a lasting legacy’. Charles Hodson, Anchor, World Business Today, CNN, will moderate the discussion. Speakers include representatives from countries that have hosted major sporting events in recent years, including the Derek Hanekon, Minister of Tourism, South Africa and Vinícius Nobre Lages, Minister of Tourism, Brazil. Also on the panel will be Christopher Rodrigues CBE, Chairman, VisitBritain, and Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority. Press said, “Major sporting events have the potential to increase the host country’s tourism industry, but it is important that the tourism industry makes the most of such opportunities. To do this the private and public sector must work together for the benefit of both sides. I am delighted WTM is again able to facilitate such an important conversation.”

Responsible Tourism Programme
WTM’s Responsible Tourism Programme will include participants like TUI, Thomas Cook, Kuoni, Virgin Holidays, and ABTA. For the first time, the programme will be conducted through all four days of WTM.

The opening session, ‘Increasing the Local Economic Impact of Tourism’ will see Jane Ashton, Director, Group Sustainable Development, TUI Travel, joined by Jo Hendrickx, Sustainable Destinations Manager, Thomas Cook, and Heidi van Der Watt, Director, International Centre for Responsible Tourism, South Africa, as panellists.

Each of the panellists will describe how case studies of their own experiences have ensured opportunities for local suppliers and producers. Charlotte Sutton, Conference and Events Manager, WTM, said, “The number of big-name companies taking part in the World Responsible Tourism Programme this year demonstrates how the issue is moving up the industry’s boardroom agenda. I am delighted TUI, Thomas Cook, Virgin Holiday, and Kuoni are prepared to share their Responsible Tourism experience and expertise with the global industry at WTM.”

World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014
Following an intense debate, an expert panel of 11 judges from across the industry have shortlisted finalists from around the world, including organisations from Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the UK, and India, for the 11 categories of World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014, sponsored by the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony as part of the World Responsible Tourism Day celebrations on November 5. Justin Francis, Founder, World Responsible Tourism Awards and Managing Director, responsibletravel.com, said, “Shortlisted this year are some of the most trendsetting examples of Responsible Tourism in the world, and more than a few surprises too. From international animal welfare campaigning to serial entrepreneurship for poverty reduction, citizen science to cutting edge green technology - the shortlist has a lot to say about where Responsible Tourism is going next.”

Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair, Judging Panel and Director International Centre for Responsible Tourism, said, “There are many others, besides the ones shortlisted, doing ground-breaking work we’re looking forward to seeing again next year. I’d like to thank all those who came forward to share their inspiring stories, and hope they’ll join in celebrating the winners in November”.

Shortlist of World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014
  • Adventure Alternative
  • Campo and Parque dos Sonhos
  • Casa de las Olas
  • Cavan Town & Environs
  • Chambal Safari Hotels Pvt Ltd
  • Chole Mjini Conservation & Development Co
  • Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
  • Festivals of Puebla
  • Footsteps Eco Lodge
  • Hotel Verde
  • ITC Grand Chola
  • Jurys Inn Brighton
  • Kutch Adventures India
  • Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
  • Mdumbi Backpackers
  • Native Charming Hotels and Accessible Tourism
  • On Track Safaris
  • South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA)
  • Thomson Airways
  • V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • World Animal Protection
  • GLP Films: Basecamp Foundation - Pioneering Sustainable Tourism in Kenya’s Masai Mara
  • Travel Oregon: Communities Powered by Travel - John Day River Territory
  • WWF - The Guardians
 
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