The World Travel Market officially arrived in Asia this week, with the opening of the first WTM Connect Asia event in Malaysia.
Held in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Georgetown, Penang, the travel trade show gathered buyers and sellers from more than 30 countries, including China, the US, UK, Germany and neighbouring ASEAN states.
The event officially opened on Wednesday 18 May at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. Nick Pilbeam, divisional director of Reed Travel Exhibitions, which organises the WTM events, welcomed all the buyers, exhibitors, official guests and media, along with Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, director general of Tourism Malaysia.
The Malaysian tourism board was one of several national and regional tourism organisations represented at WTM Connect Asia, along with Penang Global Tourism, MyCEB and the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau. They were joined at the event by the Philippine Department of Tourism, Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, Jordan Tourism Board and Visit Berlin.
One of the keynote speakers at the opening ceremony was Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of Tenzing Norgay, who was one of the first people to scale the peak of Mount Everest.
“Today was a very exciting day for Reed Travel Exhibitions and the WTM Portfolio,” said Craig Moyes, portfolio director of the World Travel Market. “We welcomed exhibitors and Hosted Buyers from China, Southeast Asia and the rest of the world for what proved to be a very successful first day of WTM Connect Asia.
“We had fantastic speakers who truly inspired our delegates, and we finished off with a great networking function in the evening. I’m looking forward to the remaining two days of WTM Connect Asia where the serious business conversations take place,” he added.
The first day of event concluded with a welcome dinner at Khoo Kongsi, which is set in a grand, traditional Malaysian house. The three-day WTM Connect Asia continues on Thursday and Friday, 19 and 20 May.
And WTM’s Asian expansion will continue next week, with the launch of the inaugural WTM Connect China event in Sanya, which runs from 23-25 May 2016.