Art, Culture, Books and Travel

World Travel Market 2011 Experiences 5% Increase in Visitors

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From one stand to the other, meetings to seminars and exhibition to sealing off regional/continental deals, the World Travel Market (WTM) has for the 32 years of its existence been one of the sustainable platforms for competitiveness and innovation in the global travel and tourism trade.

This year’s edition is not different. Riding on the success of the 2010 edition that saw a total industry participants of 47,532 people, 5,053 exhibiting companies, 2,648 international press and about 189 countries and regions, the 2011 WTM is once again engaging global travel business in networking that will hopefully surpass the massive £1,425 million revenue generated last year by exhibitors.

By meeting, networking, negotiating and conducting business under one roof, participants efficiently and productively gained immediate competitive advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.

With 183 new exhibitors, over 65,000 participants, the leading global event for the travel industry witnessed appreciable growth, and almost doubled the revenue generated in last year’s edition.

The growth has been largely driven by the technology and online travel region that hosted 71 exhibitors with their stands for the first time. The increase is symptomatic of the growth of the importance of technology in the industry. Companies making their débuts covered virtually every aspect of the online travel world.
However, 15 out the 183 new exhibitors were from Africa. The development, according to Jeffery, highlights the continued development of African tourism. Those making their débuts include the Democratic Republic of Congo, newly-formed ground-handling company – Albrieux Africa Tours, truck touring specialist – Nomad Adventure Tours, destination marketer – the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa, and the Savoy Sharm el Sheikh.

Among the traditional participants from the African region, the fair was a scramble for business, investments and partnerships. Nigeria did not fail to impress the global visitors to its stand with outstanding branding. Unlike the previous edition, the Nigerian contingent led by Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), witnessed for the first time, participation of more tour operators who, together with the staff of the corporation, sold Nigeria travel, business and tourism potential to the visitors.

From Remlords Tours, Akwaaba African Travel Market, Radisson Blu, Eko Hotel & Suites, Cross River Tourism Bureau, Divine Tours, Gani-Tarzan Marine Enterprises Nig. Ltd., Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA)/Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), the business was ‘Destination Nigeria.’

As expected, most visitors showed concern about visiting Nigeria with the security alerts and travel advices from the home countries advising against such visits. But the well-informed contingent was able to seal many deals for the country. Many are coming for business and leisure in the coming months and the new year, because of the many business opportunities they could take advantage of in the country.
As OlusegunRunsewe, director general, NTDC, notes, “Nigeria is the business hub of Africa, not minding the security issues that are often over bloated. We are peace loving people. I can assure you of safety as the Nigerian government is working to make the country safer for all visitors and investors alike.”

The highlight of Nigeria’s participation was the launch of two new products by NTDC at the fair. The products include an online publication that explores and exposes all the tourism and business opportunities in the country to the global readers and would-be investors, while the second is a virtual tour of the 32 top tourism sites in the 36 states of the federation for easy access to everyone in and outside the country.

In his remarks at the launch held at the Nigerian stand in WTM, Runsewe noted that the corporation developed the products in line with today’s technology and in response to the need to take Nigeria to the global travellers, would-be investors and tourists.

Onag Nkereuwem, CEO, Remlords Tours, thought the country offers irresistible investment opportunities that continuously woo foreigners to her shores.  Commenting on the improved participation of the Nigerian private sector at the fair, Ikechi Uko, CEO, Akwaaba Africa Travel Market, said the development suggests that Nigerians are beginning to realise that national development is not sole government responsibility, but all stakeholders.

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