Asian countries flock to WTM

The show floor at WTM 2016
The show floor at WTM 2016

The organisers of the World Travel Market (WTM) have revealed a sharp rise in interest from the Asia Pacific region.

According to Reed Travel Exhibitions, rising demand for exhibition space is being driven by mature markets including Japan, South Korea and Australia, as well as emerging destinations such as Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan, Mongolia and Vietnam.

The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has expanded its exhibition stand space at WTM by more than a third for 2017, as it ramps up marketing activity ahead of the international the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

Meanwhile, the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) is taking 20% more space at this year’s event to publicise the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. This follows the installation of a virtual reality ski jump machine at the KTO stand at last year’s WTM.

And Tourism Australia has expanded its exhibition space by 17% year-on-year, as it continues to target key source markets such as the US, the UK and Asian countries.

Elsewhere, many emerging markets in Asia Pacific are taking larger stands. Kyrgyzstan has more than tripled its floor space, while the Taiwan Tourism Board has increased its stand by 42% this year to promote its marketing message: ‘The Heart of Asia’. The Mongolian Tourism Association’s stand will be 20% larger this year, and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) is taking a stand that is 2.5 times bigger than last year, to take advantage of extra flight connections and a more relaxed visa regime.

“It’s remarkable to see how quickly exhibitors in the Asia Pacific region are increasing their stands at WTM London,” said Simon Press, senior director of WTM London. “It’s a reflection of the burgeoning growth in that part of the world and how the travel trade there recognises that WTM London is an unrivalled platform to both conduct business and boost awareness.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve also seen an upsurge in the number of visitors who say they want to do business with, or find out more about Asia Pacific exhibitors – the number rose by 6% between 2015 and 2016, and we expect that growth rate to increase yet further this year,” he added.

Combined with rising demand from exhibitors, WTM is also seeing an increase in the number of visitors from the Asia Pacific region, with attendance figures rising from 8,800 in 2015 to 9,400 in 2016.

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