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World Travel Market – Trade Show

WTM or World Travel Market is an International trade show hosted in London every year. In 2019 they celebrated 40 years of trade shows. This year boasted over 50,000 press, media, and tourism representatives from all over the world including me. This was my first big trade show in the travel industry and I had some takeaways from World Travel Market that I wanted to share.

Uganda Booth at World Travel Market in London. Musicians, Singers & Dancers.
Musicians, Singers & Dancers at the Uganda Booth at World Travel Market in London

Pros:

It is Free for Press/Media


Traveling to London is expensive and staying in London is expensive, pretty much anything in London is expensive, so this was a huge plus. I find that travel conferences and trade shows every few months to stay connected and meet with people face-to-face are really valuable so this made it all the easier to do just that.

Gets you Face to Face with Tourism Boards & Companies

It gets you in the room. I mean how cool is that? People representing tourism boards and committees from all over the world al there and ready, well mostly ready to meet with you. You can request appointments ahead of time through the online portal and if the representative thinks it’ll be a good match they can accept or decline the invitation to meet. It goes the opposite way as well so boards can invite you to meet with them and you can choose to accept or decline.

Some Great Speakers/Panels

This year seemed to be focused a lot on sustainability, health & wellness and diversity. This is important to highlight as it seems that many boards are looking for like-minded individuals on their quest to be more sustainable and diverse. There were a ton of talks, seminars, and panels to choose from.

Such a Fun Experience

Seeing booths, cultures, and food being represented all in one place. Beyond the obvious upside of networking and learning, once you get past the initial shock of how big the show is, you can roam around each continental section, tasting foods, watching performances and learning amazing new things about these countries, cities, and regions!

Traditional weaver weaving colorful patterns in Philippine's booth on the left. Man & Woman in ornate traditional Garb in Indonesia's Booth.
Traditional Weaver (Left) Ornate Garb from Indonesia (right)

Cons:

Registration Was Confusing


Registration for World Travel Market opened about two months before the show and I registered immediately. However, there was a ton of confusion on what category I should be registered in and I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of people who weren’t sure and registered incorrectly so when it came time for them to release their schedule it shows that while the conference was technically the 4th-6th I was only permitted to enter the 5th-6th. I missed out on a full day of the Market because I had already purchased my flight to arrive on the 4th.

Scheduling System

Their meeting system was cool but it definitely had issues. Initially, I couldn’t schedule meetings because I had registration issues but once that was finally resolved it seem the system was buggy. Every time I logged out or it timed out it requested for me to set up an account all over again which wouldn’t allow me to as I had already used all the same information so I had to go back into my email and specifically find the link to make it work each time. Additionally, some booths/companies/boards took advantage of the system and just scheduled random meetings with anyone and everyone just so people would come by their booth. So they didn’t even show up to the meeting that they schedule which is a real waste of time for everyone considering the size and strict schedule I had to keep.

It Was Overwhelming

And did I mention exhausting but you need all 3 days (maybe more) to explore each region and figure out what the hell you’re doing? If it’s your first time at World Travel Market, It may be better to just go in without a plan and just explore, chat with people at the booths and learn how it all works. Or you can stick to one region if that’s your specialty or focus.

Two women wearing ball gowns decorated with scenes from Venice on the left. On the right A giant Smurf in the Brussels booth.
Venice’s Booth and Brussel’s booth.

Additional Tips:

Don’t Be Shy

Most booths were giving away goodies or treats to eat so don’t be shy (don’t be demanding though either) about asking for some of the free shit and saying no to the other free shit like the overwhelming about of pamphlets, papers, books, and plastic bags.

Pick a Region

To make it a bit easier pick a region and generally stick with it but don’t be afraid to venture out. I picked Europe and spent a large amount of time there but I also accepted meetings with Sri Lanka and I am so glad I did. If you go all three days you can check out the best general areas for yourself but also explore something that might be a bit out of your comfort zone.

Don’t Accept Meetings Willy-Nilly as I did

Try to do more research on the places and determine if you would actually like to work with them because there are a ton of smaller regions and towns looking for people to work with too but not all of them are probably right for me… aka multi-day hiking places. Let’s be real, everyone generally wants to visit the bigger more well known places but I really like focusing on smaller lesser-known places so I gladly accepted these meetings and I probably will again next year however if taking a train and two buses to get somewhere is not your cup of tea then don’t feel bad rejecting the meeting. It saves time for everyone.

Ice cream cone in from of Philippine's sign and booth on the left. On the right me holding my ice cream cone and glass of champagne with a big smile on my face.
Ice cream & champagne!

Overall, World Travel Market is a great place to meet companies, tourism boards, and like-minded individuals in the industry but it is essential to pace yourself and take breaks throughout the day and remind yourself to eat and drink cause it goes by quickly.

Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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