The 2015 edition of the World Travel Market London successfully concluded yesterday, with a busy last day seeing buyers and bloggers participate in speed networking.
During these busy sessions, exhibitors and buyers from different regions formed international connections and new relationships.
“Speed networking ensures we can reach the right people,” said director of tours and planning, ISCRA India Tour Operator (India), Alamgir M Pathan, who added: “We identified the Philippines as one of our target markets and I’ve agreed two deals in that region, so I am very happy.”
Adding to this, the speed networking sessions allow niche UK-based attractions to interact with a global audience. New business coordinator, Spinnaker Tower (Portsmouth), Jane Chivers remarked: “This is my company’s first time exhibiting at WTM and we’ve met a range of high-calibre international buyers that we would not connect with otherwise.”
Given the popularity of the speed networking sessions, the concept was expanded last year to give bloggers and interested tourism boards and suppliers the chance to connect.
Meanwhile, during the vital bloggers’ speed networking sessions this year, blogger and chief operating officer, iambassador, Melvin Boecher noted that the world’s top 50 travel bloggers now reach an audience of 10.6 million.
With WTM utilised as a platform for shedding light on niche, specialist travel sectors, responsible travel and food sourcing is gaining traction. In a session about just this, entitled ‘Can You Taste the Difference?’, delegates were informed on how tourism and hospitality can link with producers in sustainable projects that are mutually beneficial.
An example of this is The Travel Foundation’s Taste of Fethiye in Turkey, which has helped farmers gain 50 per cent of their local income from hotel sales and tourist excursions, while Hilton Worldwide has begun producing menus that enable farmers to plant crops in a more sustainable way.
Also on the last day of WTM London 2015, a dedicated family holiday conference arranged by Holiday Matters (an industry organisation committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from breaks away from home) discussed how offering subsidised off-peak breaks for disadvantaged families could potentially help the industry as a whole.
International partnerships and EU engagement manager, Visit Scotland, Lee McRonald said: “What if we could give tourism businesses an extra reason for staying open beyond the summer season, what an impact that would have. Seasonality has a direct negative impact on employment, transport and infrastructure development.”
Visit Scotland is supporting a pilot scheme granting disadvantaged families the chance to take free day trips in 2016.