WTM London and Travel Forward reveal 2020 plans in virtual conference

 Friday, July 31, 2020 


WTM London – the event where Ideas Arrive and Travel Forward – the travel and hospitality technology event co-located with WTM London organised a virtual press conference on July 29, 2020. The conference was presided by WTM London’s Senior Director Simon Press and WTM Portfolio’s Director Claude Blanc alongside Richard Gayle, Events Manager, Travel Forward; Jonathan Hull, Head of Sales, WTM Portfolio; Jessamy Ganesh, Operations Manager, WTM Portfolio and Jeannette Gilbert, Head of Marketing and Communication, WTM Portfolio. Travel and Tour World attended the press conference alongside hundreds of media representatives and digital influencers from nearly 30 countries including India.

The authorities came together to announce the shows and activities that will be taking place before, during and after the physical shows from 2-4 November 2020 at ExCel London and shared how WTM London and Travel Forward is working in collaboration with partners and experts to ensure a safe and successful experience at the live event that is set to take place in London. During the conference the speakers revealed that detailed plans are being made for every aspect of the live and virtual shows and mentioned that the event is set to be one of the first major exhibitions to take place globally since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. It has been informed that the preparations for the shows were given a boost earlier this month following the British Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the resumption of conferences and exhibitions in October.

WTM London’s Senior Director Simon Press announced the highlights of the live shows and details regarding WTM Virtual event which is set to take place virtually from 10-11 November 2020. He mentioned that the virtual event has been incorporated this year in order to embrace travel professionals from all over the globe, especially the ones who would fail to attend the live event due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. It was announced that due to the unprecedented scale of challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, UNWTO and WTM will partner with WTTC first time in its history, making it the UNWTO, WTTC & WTM Ministers’ Summit. The summit will feature a day-long think-tank on Monday, November 2 during WTM London. WTM has also joined hands with ITIC to host a tourism investment summit that will help recover businesses and restore travellers’ confidence after the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference will aim to explain the financial mechanisms that allow travel companies to recover and rebuild. Investment experts will also provide guidelines on how to prepare for any other future global disaster.

Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman of ITIC and former Secretary-General of UNWTO was also present at the virtual conference and shared that it is a great honour and a privilege for ITIC to partner with WTM, the greatest and most impactful Tourism Trade Show in the world. He mentioned that the partnership will focus to prepare a comprehensive tourism recovery plan, to rebuild destinations, encourage innovation and investment, and rethink the tourism sector. Ibrahim Ayoub, Group CEO, MD and Organiser of ITIC further added that ITIC is thrilled to partner with WTM for its third tourism investment conference where Ministers, Policy Makers, Tourism Leaders and Projects Owners will engage with Investors and Private Equity firms to discuss and explore new financial mechanisms and alliances in sustainable investments in the industry that would help prepare the market recovery in the post COVID-19 era.

WTM London will also partner with The Five Percent to launch Marketing Conference and Master Class and host a one-day workshop with globally acclaimed paid traffic, branding, and marketing experts who will be sharing their knowledge on what is working right now across the businesses they work with. In addition, WTM Buyers Club Program will be made even more exclusive for buyers, exhibitors and visitors this year. WTM Speed networking will also deliver a new format in line with new physical distancing procedure and deliver better connections and more meetings in a safe environment. The organisers have also started liaising closely with Public Health England, the U.K. Government, ExCeL London and the Association of Event Venues to enable the safest possible experience in November. However, to ensure participation and global reach and to offset any attendee that cannot attend the live event due to travel restrictions, WTM Portfolio has officially announced the launch of WTM Virtual, a two-day event that will take place from 10-11 November 2020 and will be an extension of WTM London and Travel Forward live shows.

WTM London’s Event Director Simon Press mentioned that though this year’s event might be slightly different but visitors can expect the same great WTM experience. He shared that organisers are working with partners to ensure safety measures and said the capacity of the venue will be managed carefully to make sure that all protocols related to physical distancing is followed. He informed that hand sanitiser points, hygiene screens, and increased cleaning schedules will be put in place and contactless technology would be used for interactions such as scanning badges and payments at catering outlets. All food and drinks will be pre-packaged. He further added that the virtual event will provide the opportunity to work closely with the global travel professionals and ensure that support is provided to the industry in recovering, rebuilding and innovating as quickly and efficiently as possible. He shared that WTM Virtual will embrace travel professional’s communities around the globe and organisers are very excited to provide to clients and visitors the opportunity to attend both the live and virtual shows this year.

On the other hand, Travel Forward will introduce the VIP Buyer Programme as a part of their commitment to deliver high quality interactions. It has also been informed that the Travel Forward Conference will now be free to attend. The theme for 2020 would be Resilience, Innovation and Response and will focus on helping travel companies, from across the globe, steer a path on the road to a post-COVID recovery. The brand will also be joining WTM Virtual event. Travel Forward’s Event Manager Richard Gayle mentioned that the VIP Buyer Programme will refine the products in order to give attendees the best experience possible. He shared that the more exclusive approach to Buyers’ Club will produce fantastic results, making Travel Forward the location for the world’s top travel tech buyers to do business and to enhance the global travel industry.

Similarly, the London Travel Week that is set to take place between 30 October and 5 November 2020 will unlock invaluable networking and business opportunities for those who journey to London, and the UK, for WTM London this year and will be an essential stepping-stone in the recovery of the tourism industry. The event will also aim to accelerate business growth through its unique combination of networking, knowledge sessions and sponsored, bespoke events. In a time when the tourism industry has been harshly impacted by the effects of COVID-19, London Travel Week, including WTM London and Travel Forward will be the start of the recovery and try to bring the global community together to build a more sustainable, responsible and better travel industry.

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