Recognizing the huge potential and rapid growth of tours and activities, the World Travel Market (WTM) London has created an area dedicated to exhibitors of the sector. WTM London 2018 will take place November 5-7 at ExCeL.
According to a study by travel industry research specialist Phocuswright, the tours and activities sector reached $135 billion globally in 2016, accounting for 10 percent of global travel revenue – more than rail, car rental or cruise.
Start-ups and major brands – including Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor – have moved into the sector to fuel “astonishing” growth, said Phocuswright, which forecasts the market will reach $183 billion by 2020.
“The tours and activities sector is growing faster than other parts of the travel industry as more firms realise its potential, and technology is making it easier for consumers to book more experiences,” WTM London Senior Director Simon Press said.
“There’s so much diversity on offer but that means it can be a fragmented market – so it’s important for WTM London to create this new zone to highlight the sector’s range and help develop the technology and networks to overcome these hurdles,” he said.
Major names in the sector such as Merlin Entertainments, City Sightseeing and Leisure Pass Group have signed up for the new zone, along with regional specialists.
“Travellers are seeking out new experiences, tours, top destinations and cultural attractions, so we know this focus on tours and activities will be warmly welcomed by visitors to WTM London,” Press added.
Exhibitors in WTM’s new tours and activities zone include iVenture Card, which promotes city attraction passes; Merlin Entertainments, Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator; City Sightseeing, the world’s leading open-top bus tour operator; Gray Line, sightseeing tour bus operator; Julià Group, ticketing agency established more than 84 years ago; and Cirque du Soleil, which produces blockbuster circus shows around the world.
About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit WTM London every November, generating about £3.1 billion of travel industry contracts.