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WTM London: Business Meetings, High-level Conferences on Agenda

World Travel Market London 2021, ExCeL.

The second day of WTM London 2021 on Tuesday saw a busy agenda of business meetings, speed networking, high-level conferences, awards and press briefings.

One of the highlights was the annual ministers’ summit, held in partnership with the UNWTO and WTTC.

Tourism ministers from around the world pledged to work towards the recovery of the sector with a focus on investing in sustainable travel.

Meanwhile, the International Tourism and Investment Conference at WTM – dubbed Invest, Finance and Restart – continued into its second day at Excel, building on the progress made on Monday.

Elsewhere on the exhibition floor, tourist boards from destinations such as Jordan and the Maldives updated the international media about their countries’ tourism strategies.

WTM London – Day 2 Highlights

UNWTO, WTTC & WTM Ministers’ Summit

Investing in Tourism’s Sustainable Future was the agenda for ministers from countries including the UK, Italy, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Jordan and the Philippines.

Moderated by the BBC’s Zeinab Badawi, the summit also heard from Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General at UNWTO, and Julia Simpson, WTTC Chief Executive, plus representatives from the private sector, such as the bosses of the Radisson Hotel Group and airport technology firm SITA.

The UNWTO will also partner with Arabian Travel Market – the sister event of WTM London – which will take place on 8-11 May in Dubai.

Awards and Competition

World Travel Market London, ExCeL - WTM 2021 - Responsible Tourism Awards, Global Stage - Group photo of award winners.

Winners of the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards.

There were two WTM awards presentations – the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards, celebrating best practice across the globe, and the WTM London 2021 Best Stand Awards.

The Responsible Tourism Awards honoured winners from countries such as India, the Maldives and South Africa.

Meanwhile, destinations such as the Canary Islands, Ireland and Saudi Arabia among the winners of the Best Stand Awards.

Winners of the Front Runners Travel Tech Competition for start-ups.

Winners of the Front Runners Travel Tech Competition for start-ups.

Elsewhere, at Travel Forward – the travel technology event that is co-located with WTM London – the winners of the Front Runners Travel Tech Competition for start-ups were revealed as: hotel rebooking specialists from Israel, Pruvo and UK-based Hotelmize; Nepal-based Community Homestay Network, which creates jobs for locals by offering and promoting authentic local experiences; and Motiontag, a German mobility analytics company helping to fight the climate emergency by providing green incentive programmes.

Agile travel companies look to the future

WTM 2021, Global Stage - Fixing travel's broken business model for 2021. Speaking, David Goodger, Managing Director - Europe and Middle East, Oxford Economics.

WTM 2021, Global Stage – Fixing travel’s broken business model for 2021. Speaking, David Goodger, Managing Director – Europe and Middle East, Oxford Economics.

The travel industry is past the worst, a leading analyst told delegates.

During the Fixing Travel’s Broken Business Model session, David Goodger MD Europe and Middle East at consultancy Oxford Economics, said: “We are optimistic that we are past the worst. “The economy is rebounding. It’s a consumer-led boom that we are looking at. People have had forced savings and they are spending it on travel. The year ahead, we do expect to see much stronger activity.”

Fellow panellist Sophie Dekkers, Chief Commercial Officer at easyJet, said the airline “will come out stronger” from the pandemic, but added: “But it has been painful. We have had to be much more agile.” Currently, 70% of easyJet’s bookings are for travel within the next three months and the airline is hoping for a favourable ski season.

TikTok as a travel marketing tool

WTM 2021, Global Stage - Is TikTok the best platform for travel brands and content creators? Speaker: Hannah Bennett, Industry Lead, Travel, Brand Partnerships, TikTok.

WTM 2021, Global Stage – Is TikTok the best platform for travel brands and content creators? Speaker: Hannah Bennett, Industry Lead, Travel, Brand Partnerships, TikTok.

Travel companies can access a suite of advertising products on the TikTok platform from as little as £50 a day, Hannah Bennett, Industry Lead Travel Brand Partnership at the company told WTM delegates.

In a session entitled Is TikTok the Best Platform for Travel Brands and Content Creators?, she described Tik Tok as an entertainment platform rather than a social platform and said its mission is to inspire creativity. In September, the platform hit a record one billion users.

Bennett attributed some of the growth to the lockdown, saying parents, siblings and grandparents all got involved.

Google Stats

WTM 2021, Global Stage - Google and Travel: looking past the pandemic. Speaker: Had Khalil, Agency Development Manager UKI, Google.

WTM 2021, Global Stage – Google and Travel: looking past the pandemic. Speaker: Had Khalil, Agency Development Manager UKI, Google.

One in four consumers spend more time researching holidays than they did before the pandemic, but the majority of searches are for late bookings, according to Google.

The company’s Agency Development Manager, Jad Khalil, said 24% of consumers are spending more time researching because of Covid and currently, 60% of domestic searches on Expedia are for travel within 0-21 days.

He said there is travel optimism because of the vaccine rollout but remaining uncertainty over new Covid variants. This has led to a rise in trips closer to home, a trend towards workcations and a boost in digital marketing.

70% total ad spend is on digital

WTM 2021 - Global Stage - Google and Travel: looking past the pandemic. Speaker: Steve Hyde, CEO Push Group.

WTM 2021 – Global Stage – Google and Travel: looking past the pandemic. Speaker: Steve Hyde, CEO Push Group.

Meanwhile, Steve Hyde, CEO of digital ad agency Push Group, said 70% total ad spend is on digital.

“If you are not aware, it’s here, it’s growing, it’s speeding up,” he said. “If you do the math, digital is good value compared to other forms of media” he said, but added that firms have not migrated away as quickly as the consumers have gone online.

Jordan Kingdom of Time – Press Conference

WTM 2021 - Jordan Press Conference - On Left: Speaking, Abed Al-Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director Jordan Tourism Board. Speaking: H.El Mr Nayef Al-Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.

WTM 2021 – Jordan Press Conference – On Left: Speaking, Abed Al-Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director Jordan Tourism Board. Speaking: H.El Mr Nayef Al-Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.

Jordan used WTM to reveal a new marketing brand, Jordan Kingdom of Time.

The slogan was announced during a press conference in which WTM delegates heard that income from overseas tourists dropped from £4.5bn in 2019 to £1.3bn in 2020.

Representatives said the country is “working together to send the right message that we are ready and welcoming our wonderful travellers”.

Maldives Press Conference

The Maldives unveiled a new initiative to become a leading meetings and events destination.

The Indian Ocean nation will also offer homestay holidays from January 2022 as part of a strategy to diversify its offering to visitors.

Mohamed Thoyyib, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the national tourism promotion board, showed a video entitled ‘Boardroom on the beach’, showcasing the range of activities available for MICE [meetings, incentives, conference and events] delegates in the Maldives.

Last year, the Maldives welcomed 500,000 despite the problems of the pandemic, and it has already surpassed the one-million mark in 2021.

Dr Abdulla Mausoom, Maldives’ Minister of Tourism, said there will be a year-long celebration in 2022 marking the 50th anniversary of the start of tourism in the Maldives, with events and festivals taking place across the 200-island nation.

WTM London 2021 takes place between November 1-3, at ExCeL, London, and will be followed by WTM Virtual during November 8-9.

The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is an official media partner of WTM London.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

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