WTM London 2023 focuses on sustainability, specialised travel and other critical issues

Thursday, November 9, 2023



WTM London 2023 wrapped up with a focus on sustainability and specialist travel. Louis Theroux, renowned documentary maker, highlighted the power of travel for good, emphasizing the value of meaningful experiences over mere destinations.

The Sustainability Summit addressed critical issues like overtourism, with Harold Goodwin urging more destinations to share successful strategies. Martin Brackenbury emphasized the shift in prioritizing responsible tourism in today’s boardrooms, contrasting with the disinterest 40 years ago.

Green transport took the stage, with Bjorn Bender advocating for executives to embrace eco-friendly travel. Discussions on sustainability regulations underscored the need for sector-specific guidelines.

Aviation experts showcased efforts to reduce environmental impact, including Virgin Atlantic’s push for sustainable aviation fuel. Heart Aerospace’s electric aircraft for regional routes highlighted the industry’s commitment to innovation.

Sasha Dench urged the industry to contribute positively to nature, expanding the definition of sustainability beyond climate impact. “Behavioural science” emerged as a tool, exemplified by banning wasteful buffets to reduce plastic usage.

Influencers’ role in the industry was debated, with a panel suggesting video content, especially longer formats, as effective promotional tools. TikTok’s popularity was acknowledged, emphasizing the importance of travel brands engaging with short-form content.

Emerging destinations explored alternative strategies, focusing on B2B channels and the importance of training in the hospitality sector. African destinations showcased adventure travel initiatives, each addressing unique challenges.

Established destinations faced concerns about fake ETIAS websites ahead of the system’s 2025 introduction. Branding became a focal point, with Jamie Donovan urging travel brands to differentiate themselves and draw inspiration from non-travel brands.

Personal branding took center stage in the Marketing Summit, with Sarah Moxom advising individuals to consider their online presence, purchase domain names, and strategically choose social media platforms.

As WTM London 2023 concluded, it became evident that sustainability is not just a trend but a crucial aspect of the industry’s future, with a diverse range of topics reflecting the dynamic landscape of travel and tourism.

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