World Travel Market (WTM) is a once-a-year business to business exhibition for the professionals in the travel industry. This event is the largest gathering of global hotels, tour operators, online travel services, technology, destinations, and airlines, under a single roof. The 3-day event puts into limelight the latest developments that took place in the global travel industry. It includes sessions on different sectors of tour and travel industry.
Organized at ExCeL London, an exhibition and international convention centre, WTM 2016 was held from 7th November to 9th November. Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd was a part of this prestigious event. The event was attended by exhibiters, ministers, speakers, travel trade professionals, buyers, WTM Buyers’ Club members and international press.
Full of mini meeting and long-term business partnerships, WTM London was truly a learning experience. A whole new range of products as well destinations were on the offering. Our Indian Pavilion was also abuzz with travel agents from around the words. The fact that we, Indian Holiday Pvt Ltd were seated at the very entrance gave us a unique strategic advantage to interact with travel agents and tourism professionals attending WTM.
This year’s meet was one of the most fruitful in terms of forging new relations and expanding business through association with agents from around the globe. Meetings were mostly walk-in, thanks to the strategic location of our booth just at the entrance of the Indian pavilion.
Talking about business in India, we found out that Rajasthan, Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) and Kerala are the most favored destinations in India among international travelers. Then there were talks about emerging niches and travel related technology which were the buzzwords of modern day tourism.
We also learned about various innovative products and travel -related technology.
Social media is an important platform for people doing business in the travel industry for making connections, and sharing idea as well as products with people all over the world.
The impact of various political events, currency exchange and other happenings has not really affected the consistent market of travel. However, the real impact is yet to be seen, the experts felt.
The concern for all is the bigger story of diverse opportunity of mixing countries, states and cities so that the travel industry can offer culture, food and a variety of other experiences.
Sports tourism is gaining a lot of popularity. During the Global Sport Tourism Summit, important figures in tourism, sports, and marketing came together. Sports tourism experts Barcelona, Flanders and Scotland talked about sports tourism and were joined by Global sports brands such as Liverpool FC and Wimbledon All England Tennis Championships.
From the past 2 to 3 years the impact of sports and tourism has grown bigger all over the world. To make it even bigger, business of sports and public sector has to come together so that there is that participation of all for happens.
Luxury travel market was another highlight of the WTM 2016 with focus on offering newer and better luxury experiences to guests. WTM this year was attended by the main players of the luxury travel from all over the world came together.
Aviation experts stressed on the impact of natural catastrophes and other important events on the travel industry and air transport. The impact of all this still has to be seen, which might take a number of years. The coming months are going to be a bumpy ride for the airline industry and some tough decisions will be taken.
Responsible tourism was in focus in WTM London on day 2. Masses of travel and tourism professionals attended the event, to be part of the largest day of responsible tourism action in the world, WTM World Responsible Tourism Day (WRTD). The Responsible Tourism Awards, celebrated the most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences from around the world. The session discussed the benefits of empowering local communities for better services for tourists.
An interesting session of Women in Travel Meetup was attended by both females and male professionals alike. There were discussion on the challenges faced by women and partiality on the basis of age. The solution were to overcome such circumstances where networking, encouraging, mentorship and advice to create a healthier work environment. A fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences en-livened the session of entrepreneurship for startups in travel industry.
The new millennium 2000 brought forward a new class of travelers, the millennials. This elite class of travelers, travel for the need of newer experiences. The elite product of the travel industry needs to be dealt with target marketing strategy where interesting experiences are offered.
Premium shopping expeditions, dining at 3 star Michelin restaurants, stay at 5-star luxury resorts and lavish airport stopovers are the catered sectors which need to be focused and improved.
Another of the main agenda of WTM was the wellness sector. The Global Wellness Institute hosted the Wellness Travel Symposium. The event provided invaluable insight into this huge industry and proved to be very popular with both seasoned wellness professionals and newcomers alike. Of the robust US$3.7 trillion global wellness economy, the wellness tourism sector accounts for $563 billion. And it is growing nearly twice as fast as overall tourism. Case studies included India, ‘the land of yoga’, and Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.
A talk by the Indian Tourist Minster, Mahesh Singh presented the Indian wellness tourist sector in its true light. The industry has huge potential, as Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation and Medicine are three different and equally important verticals. The massive industry has the right focus on targeting the audiences to taste the fine services of the wellness sector.
At WTM London 2016, importance of travel technology and robotics was also stressed upon. Huge amount of investment has been and is still being done in robotics and artificial intelligence. However, it is important that we offer more reassurance and security to people from picking a tour to make bookings and travelling to arriving at the hotel. Automation v/s security has to be worked upon to deal with the people of fear about security in a travel cycle.
World Trade Market is always the best place to learn about new destinations, to meet experts in the industry, to know about the latest happening in the travel industry and most of all, do some great business and we sure had one of our best experiences in years at this year’s World Travel Mart in London.