It's World Travel Market week again.
On my way to the Excel exhibition centre yesterday morning I was counting up. This must be at least the sixteenth World Travel Market I've attended.
I still quite enjoy it. It's a huge gathering - over 48,000 travel industry professionals participated at WTM 2005 representing 202 countries and regions - and always impressive.
But although I always get some valuable new information, ideas or contacts from WTM, I usually come away feeling a bit disappointed - as if I didn't get as much out of it as I should have done. Like leaving a sumptuous banquet not satiated.
I think the reasons are two-fold.
Firstly the scale works against you. There's so much going on in those giant halls, you can never feel you've seen any more than a fraction of it, just scratched the surface.
Secondly, WTM is a trade show. Travel suppliers selling to travel retailers. It's not aimed at consumers and the story ideas I'm looking for are for 'end-users'. So, for example, looking at web travel... the exhibitors I'd like to see are online brands (lastminute.com, expedia, etc) the ones exhibiting are back-office systems developers and agency booking engines.
Still, I found a couple of interesting items...
A huge (5 Km) cave complex in Oman which is being opened to tourists and caving enthusiasts, and a company that operates adventure tours, eco tours, special interest and motorcycle tours in the Ural mountains.
I'll be adding them to Travel-Lists soon.