World Travel Market: What a Whirlwind of a First Day!
I flew to London on Sunday night and made my way via numerous trains, tubes and busses to 75 Sark Walk, my Airbnb home for the next few nights as I tackle the impressive World Travel Market here, held every year at the Excel Center in London’s Docklands.
I’ve seen big trade shows, but I’ve never seen one this big. Fifty thousand travel professionals, from destination managers to press and tour operators of all sizes. The scale of the booths and the number of exhibitors–hundreds and hundreds of booths, and in the Middle East section, many two and even three story booths, with dishwashers and kitchens to serve their visitors in style.
I enjoyed learning about North Cyprus, where they’ve been in talks to try and resolve their age old rift with their neighbor, Cyprus, causing the small landmass to be split asunder to create the separate North Cyprus back in 1974. I hope they succeed, Cyprus is a beautiful country, and I think North Cyprus is an area that will become quite popular soon. Many Brits enjoy living and going on holidays to Cyprus, I remember great British pub in the beach town of Limassol.
I also learned about the many Emirates. Some of the smaller pieces of the puzzle created in 1971.
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of hereditary absolute monarchies. It is governed by a Federal Supreme Council made up of the seven emirs of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain.
I met an interesting young man who runs the tourism and press for Sharjah, he invited me to sit with him for a coffee. He said his nation, one of the emirates, wants to let people know about what they can do there, about their museums, and their colleges, and the natural attractions in the desert surroundings and the glittering Gulf of Arabia, known for great diving and swimming.
After more chatting and visiting with people in the booths, we visited the Kenya booth where they were offering a peculiar Kenya alcoholic drink, which required a lot of stirring with an oversized bamboo straw, so I stuck with wine.
Then some blogger friends and I started the long rail route to the next party. First the DLR, which stands for Docklands Light Rail, took that then then switched to the tube for a short way, then on the DLR again.
Nice Travel Massive. Instead of NYC-style gridlock, with no room at all for anyone, this was held in a basement level room that sprawled on and on, so no one was crammed though there were hundreds of people there. The bar called
Then we found a place that served pho and had a late night Vietnamese pho feast.