The much anticipated World Travel Market (WTM) 2013 kicked off with a bang and with the usual commuter congestion from the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) Excel Centre station stop through to the exhibition centre on Monday November 4th up to yesterday Thursday 7th.
WTM is the leading global event for the travel industry to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business.
This week’s activities featured several specialised presentations focusing on the wide and varied aspects of the global Travel and Tourism industry such as the WTM 2013 Industry Report; WTM Technology enabling travel; and WTM Travel Innovation Summit to name a few.
With an impressive cadre of sponsors such as Flanders, EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL, Euro Sport, BBC, Four.bgb and others, the set up, organisation and layout went a long way toward ensuring both exhibitors, buyers and the press enjoyed the most congenial atmosphere for commercial discussions / negotiations and coverage.
Here’s day 2 highlights at WTM 2013:
Once again and in spite of the level of response by the buyers and the take up of exhibition stalls, the Caribbean was proportionately under represented when one takes into account the presence of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
It was pleasing nonetheless to see countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
It is no secret the effects the world economic downturn is having on the countries of the Caribbean particularly in tourism not to mention other issues such as the Petro Caribe oil debacle that has several participating countries worried about the future of their fuel supplies.
For territories heavily dependent on the tourism dollar such as most of the Caribbean including Anguilla, Aruba, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, all of whom were visibly absent this year, making the sacrifice to attend WTM presents a serious case of opportunity cost.
But given the calibre of buyers from around the world looking for unique holiday destinations at affordable rates would it not be reasonable for countries in the region who can ill afford to secure a booth on their own (and they are NOT cheap), to come together as a group and sell a united proposition?
We know the CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organisation) work tirelessly to sell the Caribbean as a destination and from all appearances do a great job but for countries to not have that personal interaction with buyers could be a missed opportunity to eyeball and soft sell an eager buyer on the majesty of our unique and beautiful countries.