27 November 2005

Big travel shows, getting bigger

World Travel Market is a huge travel exhibition for the travel industry held in November when thousands of exhibitors and visitors from all over the world turn up in London to do business.

As a travel journalist I've attended every year since 1989 when it used to be held in Olympia. During most of the nineties it was held at Earls Court and then a couple of years ago it outgrew that space and moved to Excel in London's Docklands.

And it continues to grow. I've just seen the figures for this year's event, which was held 14-17 Nov.

49,000 people attended WTM this year, up 5%, with 202 representative countries and regions exhibiting. More than a 100 Government Tourism Ministers, Ambassadors and High Commissioners also attended.

And journalists? Apparantly there were 2,909 of them (well, 2,908 of them... and me). No wonder the press rooms felt crowded!

As big as it is, it is not as big as ITB - the which is held in March in Berlin. Although, unlike WTM, ITB is also open to the public for two of the five days. Last year there were 142,351 visitors overall, of which were 83,987 trade visitors.

The only other trade show I know that is on anything like the same scale is Pow Wow in America where the U.S. travel industry sells itself to domestic and international travel companies. It's much smaller at 5,500 visitors & delegates (+450 journalists!) but extra-curricular activities and parties out-do anything at WTM or ITB!

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