World Travel Market - Behind the Scenes

06 November 2011

Wow, what a spectacle of sounds, colour and hard work on show today at the World Travel Market (WTM)! I picked my way amongst the drills, glass panels, cellophane and mobile tool sheds to bring you a sneak preview of what’s in store for you this week. There was no doubt that I had to watch where I put my feet as the quantity of “stuff” of all shapes and sizes stacked up and ready to pack onto each stand is bewildering.

There were also lots of weird shaped mini trucks and hydraulic lifts used to reach all parts of the exhibition.

What’s clear is that a huge industry supports the exhibitors to create this amazing spectacle. Exhibitors are finding ever more inventive ways to grab our attention as we tour the show.

From the futuristic video tables on the Brazil stand to the super wide angle multimedia screens for California, many stand operators have started to utilise new technology to bring their countries to life.

The quality of imagery is quite stunning and in some ways you feel as if you can come to the show and get your fix of travel adventures by coming and mingling with the exhibitors and admiring their wonderful scenic stands.
I first opted to stop by the huge red double decker bus parked at one stand in the Europe Hall which Graham kindly told me was the first of a new breed of greener hybrid vehicles that will be ferrying visitors around London. This was the 17th or 18th WTM show for Graham who was busy packing brochures into their brochure stands. They were thinking fondly back to the time when they only had 10 tours but were now packing the brochure stands with details on more than 100! I think they will be happy when visitors are content to take away a USB stick, CD or mp3 file of their tours which might make life a lot easier for them.

I also found a giant football at the Polish stand, still in its cellophane wrapper and a couple of table football games if anyone fancied a quick game, although I doubt anyone will have much time given the mass of stands to visit.
I then met Arthur from Poland who was busy spraying some table legs with black paint which had some pretty strong vapours. He said they had been hard at work since Thursday and were busy working on the India, CTO and Guadalupe site.
I also met Kuyustof from Poland who was hard at work painting a stand for an Indian hotel group. It was hard to imagine that it would all be ready on time.
The number of Polish workers at the show is quite amazing and proof of their numbers were the plates of meat and pickles stacked up on the tables in the corridors, ready to have their own “completion” parties when all the construction work was done.

I also gate crashed a number of Spanish workers who were enjoying their lunch.
I heard that many of those who have travelled the furthest take advantage of a lull in proceedings before the show to catch up on their jet lag and have a quick siesta at their stands.
Of course the hard work begins today for all the exhibitors who have started to arrive today to load up the stands with their goodies and brochures. The carpet gets put down around 6pm on Sunday, once all the floors of the show between stands are eventually cleared. There will be cause for a red carpet as the future King of Spain and his wife will be visiting the show today at noon. WTM2011 is proud to receive such a royal visitor.
I look forward to seeing you at the show and hope you enjoy the slide show with some images of the amazing stands waiting for you to visit this year. Do share your stories with us and we look forward to hearing from you.
Let us know which stands you like best and what most appealed to you.
Top Tips for First Timers to WTM
If you forgot to bring your charger for your phone there is a phone charging unit next to the business centre near N4 gate on the lower ground floor, under the stairs.
There is a cloakroom to leave your coat and belongings. I recommend some flat shoes and a wheelie bag so you don’t have to carry your things as the show is huge and distances are large. Pace yourself and have a break between visiting each hall. There are information desks around the show which can provide travel and underground maps.
If you are using an oyster card to travel around London on the tube (cheapest way to travel) make sure you scan it on the yellow pad at each station and when you arrive at the show as there are no barriers at Excel and it will cost you more if you don’t scan it.
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