Celebrating its 40th year, the world’s largest travel trade show – World Travel Market has begun in London and is expected to see its 51,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries gather at the ExCeL London to conduct some £3.5 billion of deals that will shape the future of the travel industry.
It’s a far cry from when the show was first opened by the Duke of Kent at Kensington Olympia in December 1980 when just 40 countries were on show and 7,700 visitors crossed the threshold of the inaugural exhibition.
The first edition of the show was in December 1980 at the Kensington Olympia and just 40 countries and 7,700 visitors were present. Today, the WTM operates in a world where tourism is the UK’s fastest growing sector accounting for almost 12 per cent of all jobs, generating £232 billion annually for the economy, and host city London is the third most-visited city in the world with more than 19 million visitors a year.
World Travel Market alone is thought to add £160 million to London’s economy, taking into account how much show visitors spend on hotels, restaurants and entertainment.
Celebrities who have visited the WTM over the years include Michael Douglas, Richard Branson, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve Redgrave, Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, Freddie Flintoff, Viv Richards and Dannii Minogue.
World Travel Market – London is the leading global event for the travel industry, a must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide tourism industry.
About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating about £3.5 billion of travel industry contracts.