WTM London is undoubtedly a global showcase event. The show has brought together strategic players from the travel and tourism market for decades and also established itself as an arena in which it is possible to check out what’s new in the sector, debate the trends, improve one’s knowledge and, of course, generate business. The 2018 edition was full of excellent options in all aspects and brought together thousands of visitors from different parts of the world.
There were some 5,000 exhibitors from 182 countries and Brazil was represented by EMBRATUR, which had a stand at the event, which was considered to be a success, not only because of the number of exhibitors and visitors – around 51,000 – but also because of the differentiated quality content that was on offer during the three-day event.
The 2018 edition of WTM London featured new aspects that went beyond brand activations and exhibitor presentations: at least three new content areas were created, with a curatorship that surprised the participants.
The Inspiration Zone Area, which was inaugurated in this edition, was undoubtedly a format that can be replicated in the event to be held in Brazil. Divided into areas representing the Americas, Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe, the space allowed visitors to WTM London to get to know case studies and the cultures of each region. Among the topics dealt with in the Americas Inspiration Zone, for example, were behaviour, crisis management following environmental disasters, luxury travel, adventure tourism, indigenous tourism and good tourism practices in labour relations.
Innovation was to be found in the show, which included T> F Travel Forward, a travel technology event that was very popular with the visiting public. With its focus on travel and accommodation technology, T> F Travel Forward provoked discussion on the possibility of improving customers’ travel experiences by way of technology. Large companies such as Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport, all giants in the travel technology field, shared their experiences with the 150 exhibitors. Speakers and panellists of weight presented rich content and were attractions in their own right in a programme that delighted some 8,500 highly diverse visitors.
Responsible Tourism, one of the great banners of WTM London, had room for some 23 panels and we really cannot remain indifferent to this topic. We need to ensure that the sector continues to evolve, while generating a profit and encouraging environmental and social responsibility. The invitation to reflect and talk about the topic and its importance throws light on good practices for guaranteeing that future generations respect the environment and the sustainability of the industry as a whole.
Conscious of the importance of the world’s great themes, WTM London and Women in Travel arranged three panels aimed at female entrepreneurship. The focus of the meeting was the presence of women in the tourism industry and brought together both female and male social entrepreneurs, funders and mentors to discuss how it is possible to pursue their passion, manage a successful business and, at the same time, have a positive and beneficial impact on destinations. There was a lot of competition to attend these panels and certainly this feature of the event will be adjusted to suit the Latin American reality for the next edition of WTM Latin America.
During the three days of the event, there was a lot of opportunity to network, the focus being on generating business, bearing in mind particularly our event in Latin America. But I was mainly able to experience and observe the dynamics, topics, formats and inspirations that contribute positively to the development of the tourism segment in the world.
London was a place to learn, reflect and be inspired. The greatness of the event and the conglomeration of nationalities and visitors from all over the world reminds us at all the time of the relevance of the tourism industry on a global level, which is a powerhouse from the economic, social and opportunity point of view.
This was an event not to be missed; one that allows us to adapt, recreate and innovate, taking advantage of other ways of putting together a great show, as we do throughout our portfolio. Some of the ideas and practices I have shared here are already being aligned with the Latin American market for 2019. There’s no doubt whatsoever that lots of new things are on their way!