WTM London and Travel Forward goes virtual for the first time in 40 years. Picture: Supplied.
WTM London and Travel Forward goes virtual for the first time in 40 years. Picture: Supplied.

Covid-19: WTM London goes virtual for first time in 40 years

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Sep 15, 2020

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WTM London and Travel Forward – the travel and hospitality technology event co-located with WTM London – will go virtual in November.

Live shows had been set to take place at ExCeL London from November. However, with travel restrictions, the imposition of quarantine requirements and local lockdowns across Europe, the event will be hosted virtually.

WTM London’s Senior Director Simon Press said this year will be the first time since we launched WTM London in 1980 that there will be no live event.

“We have worked tirelessly to organise a physical show, but the increasing number of travel restrictions and the uncertainty around the world means it will be impractical for many overseas visitors to attend in person.

“Additionally, there remains uncertainty around business events and conferences being allowed to take place in the UK. The official deadline for this decision being October 1. However, thousands of travel trade professionals from around the globe will still be able to meet and do business in an extensive range of virtual sessions, to help the industry recover, rebuild and innovate," said Press.

WTM Virtual will take place from November 9-11, 2020. Delegates will have the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more.

The virtual show will also see an investment summit in partnership with International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) and a new Marketing Forum and masterclass workshop in partnership with The Five Percent.

The WTM Virtual will have four virtual theatres to host webinars and debates, including the Responsible Tourism.

A virtual version of Travel Forward is being shaped up and will combine virtual exhibition, free virtual conference sessions and speed networking for start-ups to meet investors.

With the theme “Resilience, Innovation, Response”, Travel Forward Virtual will add a technology-based approach in supporting the recovery of the travel and tourism industry.

Richard Gayle, Event Manager for Travel Forward said the event embraces fresh concepts and innovative projects to inspire delegates. "This year, running Travel Forward virtually will allow us to connect even more with global travel tech companies wanting to promote themselves to the world.

“We are confident Travel Forward Virtual will offer delegates all the support and ideas about how the industry recovery and more solutions to overcome the biggest challenges facing the travel industry," said Gayle.

London Travel Week (30 October-5 November 2020)

London Travel Week will be returning virtually providing attendees with a chance to learn, network and innovate in the week leading up to WTM Virtual, from October 30 to November 5, 2020.

During London Travel Week, there will be six Speed Networking sessions on offer so that exhibitors, brands and destinations can meet before the virtual show and form business connections.

London Travel Week will also provide the perfect forum to celebrate the achievements of those in the travel and tourism industry through virtual awards ceremonies such as the World Travel Leaders’ Awards and the Responsible Tourism Awards.

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