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Q&A with...

Q&A with WTM London Exhibition Director, Simon Press

Simon Press, the exhibition director of WTM London, briefs about this year’s World Travel Market, which is being held for the first time in an innovative hybrid format.

Simon Press

What is the theme for WTM London 2021?

WTM London is the leading global event for the travel industry.

WTM London was the last travel trade show to take place before the pandemic, and will be the first one to take place after COVID. These will be the first contracts signed after almost 2 years.

It aims to support the industry in recovering, rebuilding and reconnecting as quickly, efficiently and sustainably as possible after COVID-19.

With over 40 years of experience, we are considered a solid knowledge centre for the tourism economy and a reliable source of data and ideas for our exhibitors, buyers, visitors and media.

WTM London is the brand that unites the industry and facilitates businesses to build their businesses across physical and online platforms.

In essence, WTM London is a strategic partner supporting all members of the global travel industry to promote their assets and attract targeted travelers.

What is new for WTM London 2021?

So much is new for WTM London 2021. This year WTM London will be held for the first time in an innovative hybrid format.

The physical event will occur at ExCeL London on Monday, November 1-Wednesday, November 3, 2021, and will be followed by WTM Virtual – November 8-9, 2021.

I have already highlighted the recovering, rebuilding and reconnecting concept – essential for this year’s show to help exhibitors get back on track reconnecting with the right buyers, suppliers, visitors and media.

Responsible Tourism is one of our core pillars. We’ll run content sessions around the topic and host the Responsible Tourism Awards during WTM London on November 2. The awards recognise and reward businesses and destinations contributing to a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry.

Travel Forward, the travel technology event co-located with WTM London at ExCeL, will also take place physically from
1-3 November and virtually from 8-9 November. The show inspires the travel and hospitality industry with the next
generation of technology.

Across the WTM Portfolio, WTM Buyers’ Club has over 10,000 qualified international buyers, and as before, we will be focusing on quality over quantity. Representatives from more than 80 countries have signed up to WTM London’s Buyers’ Club.

Buyers from Jet2holidays, easyJet Holidays, Saga Holidays and British Airways Holidays are among the companies confirmed at WTM London’s Buyers’ Club.

We are pleased to announce that we will be running our very successful buyers speed networking again – in person. This is where buyers and exhibitors have short meetings then hold longer meetings during the show open hours.

We understand the need for the industry to reconnect. We are anticipating a huge demand to gain access to speed networking from both exhibitors & buyers. The new formats deliver better connections and more meetings, all in a safe environment.

Connect Me is our networking and meeting tool that will help you find buyers that match your business needs so you can arrange meetings in advance of WTM London and WTM Virtual.

London Travel Week will be a seven-day travel celebration over the week of WTM London – taking place from 30th October – 5 November. It will allow the travel industry to come together and collectively shape the next 12 months of travel and tourism.

WTM London will have two seminar theatres and will live stream all content sessions during the physical event.

What is WTM London doing to ensure the health and safety of its attendees during the show?

WTM London and Travel Forward are working closely with local authorities, ExCeL London, Public Health England, and Transport for London to ensure attendees’ highest possible levels of health and safety.

Attendees will need to demonstrate their COVID-19 status by one of the following:

  • Proof of vaccination
  • Proof of negative test
  • Proof of natural immunity

Visitors must not travel to ExCel, if they feel unwell.

Admission will only be for those who register in advance and visitors are encouraged to use WTM & TF’s planning tools before they arrive.

Delegates can show their badge for contactless scanning, either on a smartphone or printout – and there will be no badge holders or lanyards.

WTM London will be a ‘mask-friendly’ event as delegates are strongly recommended to wear face masks, especially in enclosed or crowded spaces. Those using public transport will be required to wear a face mask on the Transport for London network.

Back in May this year, we organised a very successful Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai – the largest face-to-face travel and tourism event in the world since the pandemic. ATM also hosted a virtual show the following week.

What will the conference programme include?

At this year’s WTM London physical show will bring two seminar theatres – WTM Global Stage and Travel Forward. We’ll be live streaming all content sessions during the physical event, and those will be available during WTM & TF Virtual event.

WTM London 2021 will host a series of high-profile industry conferences that will formulate the future of global travel and help guide the industry after COVID-19.

Informative and fascinating conferences will take place, allowing delegates to get insights from industry-leading professionals.

Conference-goers will have the chance to hear from global ministers during our traditional UNWTO, WTTC & WTM Ministers’ Summit on Tuesday, November 2; an extensive Responsible Tourism programme throughout WTM London also includes the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards.

The International Tourism & Investment Conference Summit (ITIC) is also taking place during the 3-day show. Investment in tourism will create new jobs and economic growth, and the ITIC event will facilitate vital financial and business partnerships that will pave the way for innovation and recovery.

At Travel Forward, we’ll bring the Start-Up competition, Digital Marketing Sessions – in partnership with The Five Percent, content Payment Solution and many other topics.

WTM London 2021 is set to be held as an in-person event during November 13 and virtually between November 8-9.

WTM London and
WTM Virtual – Don’t miss out on:

£3.71 billion

in business deals


senior travel professionals
(physical and virtual)








countries and regions

Show Dates and Location

WTM London &
Travel Forward –
Physical Events

  • Monday, 1 November – 10:00-18:00 (invite only)
  • Tuesday, 2 November – 10:00-18:00
  • Wednesday, 3 November – 10:00-17:00

Location: ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway,
London E16 1XL

WTM & TF Virtual –
Online Events

  • Monday 8 November 07:00-22:00
  • Tuesday 9 November 07:00-22:00


Registration is now open for the event.


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