World Travel market 2011: Many came, saw and conquered and many were bystanders

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In the cold... Nothing worthy of note on the Nigerian pavilion.

A number of countries  featured in this year’s World Travel Market fair showcase with excellent performances that had earned them high recognitions and accolade, such that has made the fair to single  them out for international honors, shining like stars.

Many of the countries which had emerged as tourism achievers in the world events emerged recognisable due to improvements made in tourism in their respective countries in the previous years.

Staged annually in London, World Travel Market (WTM) is an International  four-day business to business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and international travel professionals. To put it practically. A whole world put together under one canopy just to do business together. some came saw and conquered while some were mere by-standers.

The travel exhibition also provides the biggest travelling business network  and international trade opportunities with continents criss-crossing in destinations  networking and tourism  trade promotion activities.

WTM current venue, Londo, EXCel is a melting port of tourism business activities with international business gurus in the trade engaging in high level tourism negotiation, networking and invitation to friendly nations.

World Travel Market is surely the most  leading global event for the travel industry,  providing the most conducive atmosphere   to meet, network, negotiate showcase and conduct business.

It is an event where tourism boards, Airlines, hotels, online travels among other participants  are all gathered to share ideas and provide opportunities for workers  in tourism industries, especially in many nations, opening the best opportunity for new recognition and trade relations.

In the exhibition this this year India, one of the featured nations  won recognition as the “World’s Leading Destination”.

Floods of would be tourists in Turkey Stand.

It also bagged the “World’s Leading Tourist Board performance” Award  in recognition of tourism Management Boards and Authorities in India.

Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, who received the awards from Graham E. Cooke, president and founder of World Travel Awards, claimed  five million tourists had already visited India this year so far and the dream was to attract another five million over the next two or three years. This would help generate 25 million additional jobs in India, as predicted by statistics provided by Indian Tourism Board.

Efforts to boost tourism in India included a move to remove visa restrictions that barred tourists from revisiting the country within two months of their first visit.

Mr Sahai said the aim was to increase India’s share in the International Tourist Arrivals from the present 0.6 per cent to 1 per cent –one billion travellers— by the end of 2016.

Ireland also was on target for an Award for surpassing others to win the “best stand for doing business. It was  named the  Awardee for making up the ‘Best stand for in Tourism’, dotting that Ireland was best for business.

The Tourism Ireland stand has been commended on various opportunities and number of options that it offered.

The World Travel Market, a key event in the industry promotes networking amongst businesses and a figure of £1.4 billion emerged as the sole benefit for handling of tourism  business  last year.

Chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons stated wide representation of tourism partners as a welcome and essential reason for the win. Such partners included travel agents, Airlines and Tour operators.

“Our aim was to capture the attention of the influential travel trade and media from around the world as we are attending WTM this week, Gibbons had told visiting press members.”

With tourism businesses Ireland accounting for 59% of all revenue gained from tourism, the award is a boost for the industry, signalling  a positive sign of what’s to come in the next years.

Bubbling pavilions at the World Travel Market

Qata was also in focus winning attention for  its newly launched initiative in bringing tourism to a new level in the coming years.

“For Qatar, the World Travel Market continues to be one of the best platforms to develop relationships with the UK and international travel trade,” said Mr. Ahmed Al Nuaimi, QTA Chairman. “The UK market is a very strong one for Qatar and both countries have a close bond. We see  an estimated 40,000 travellers from the UK visiting Qatar each year.

This number is expected to rise with the opening of the New Doha international Airport and as Qatar Airways, our flagship carrier, continues its rapid expansion. The event is a unique opportunity for the travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business at one venue.”

Mr. Al Nuaimi has been invited to participate as a speaker in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) WTM Minister’s Summit along with tourism leaders from around the world.

“QTA has been targeting the UK and European market with its highly successful “48 Hours” campaign which encourages long haul passengers flying through Doha and business travelers to stay an extra two days in Qatar and experience its warm Arabian hospitality”, he said.

“There are more and more tourism attractions in Qatar ranging from our iconic museums and cultural activities to high profile sporting events, from luxury hotels and spas to fine dining that are of interest to visitors from the UK. With frequent daily and direct flights offered by both Qatar Airways and British Airways – a long weekend visit is not only easy but also appealing,” Mr. Al Nuaimi said.

Commenting from WTM, Cape Town Tourism member and pioneer in Responsible Tourism, Anne van der Tuuk of Abang Africa said: “Responsible and community tourism has gained momentum from a niche tourism sector to a philosophy that is one of the industry’s most exciting developments ever, uniting citizens from across the world into one interconnected, united movement, communicating a significant signal to businesses that the tourism industry mean to act, not just talk.”

* Nigeria continues to take a huge part with thousands of pounds expended each year but only with less benefits.

Nothing specific has been really noticed except for many unattractive activities of some of the imported Tourism Board officials who had no clue of events at the international travel exhibition. Only few desks of two or three participants  with no activities were noticeable for the four day running exhibition. May be little changes next year if  the tourism board gets its hearts right and create a formidable nation selling team, away from the current one-man show which Nigerian tourism has been known for long.

“All we can see here is the mounted pavilions with the national colours. No activities as it was a recollection of the situation back home in Africa, the nation having paraded the tag of a sleeping giant for long” a visitor who was so frustrated that there were no professionals to compliment the beautiful pavilion to do real business had  observed.

Another  frustrated Nigerian who  noted that nothing really exciting or worthwhile at the Nigerian pavilion  was so angry, lamenting that  many Nigerians in the United Kingdom had no clue the event was holding.