World Travel Market returned yesterday to ExCeL in London with reduced visitors but an optimistic feeling for the future of world tourism.
This year, WTM is a hybrid event – with the live event taking place over three days this week, on 1-3 November, and the virtual meetings taking place on 8-9 November.
Tourism Minister Catherine Martin attended the world’s largest travel fair to drive the restart of overseas tourism to Ireland in 2022.
The Ireland Stand hosted 77 companies including hoteliers, experiences, destination marketing companies, and tourism organisations. Though there may have been less visitors than in other years, exhibitors reported that business was good.
Mary Daly of the PREM Group, owners and managers of a number of hotels and corporate accommodation in Ireland and Europe said, “while there have been fewer buyers at the show, the quality of inquiries has been strong. It has also been good to be able to spend time with buyers as WTM this year is less crowded than previously.”
Ireland’s Overseas Tourism Drive
WTM typically marks the beginning of Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the year ahead. Normally on this day the Irish stand a WTM is crowded with visitors for the renowned start to the show. It usually involves music, dancing and singing from Ireland. This year the annual gig had to be postponed due to social distancing factors.
Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said: “I am delighted to attend today’s World Travel Market which provides an excellent platform for Tourism Ireland, and the participating tourism enterprises, to highlight Ireland’s world-class tourism experience to international tour operators.
As tourism begins to emerge from the devastation wrought by COVID-19, it is imperative that we get the message out there that Ireland is again open for business and that visitors know that a warm welcome awaits them when they travel to Ireland, despite the disruption of the last couple of years.
I must commend Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and all our tourism partners for their concerted efforts to kick-start tourism’s recovery and to keep the island of Ireland high on international travel wish-lists. There is increasing recognition that tourism growth must be sustainable, as well as being consistent with our sectoral climate change targets and commitments. And in that regard, I know that Tourism Ireland will be working towards the longer-term goal of ensuring that we are successfully marketed as a sustainable tourism destination.”
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “As we restart tourism from overseas, we are delighted that Minister Martin is joining us this week at World Travel Market, the world’s largest travel fair. The representation of Irish companies at WTM is extremely welcome – and essential in the highly competitive international marketplace.
“Our ‘Green Button’ campaign is now under way and will reach 46 million people across Britain. It’s a really extensive, multi-channel campaign which is highlighting Ireland as a fantastic destination for a short break or holiday. Our message – and that of the entire Irish tourism industry – is very simple: we cannot wait to roll out the green carpet and welcome back visitors from Great Britain and elsewhere around the world. Together with our industry partners, we will undertake our most extensive marketing campaign ever in 2022.”