Guest column: Craig Moyes, WTM exhibition director
World Travel Market has been working hard to improve the transport experience of delegates at WTM 2009 following the disruption of last year.
I was very disappointed by the transport experience of many WTM visitors at last year"s event - which was caused by a number of separate incidents on the London Underground and the Docklands Light Railway.
All delegates can rest assured that WTM is doing all it can to make sure the same problems do not repeat themselves this year or in the future. Straight after WTM 2008 I wrote to a number of influential individuals and organisations to lobby for their support to avoid similar issues at future WTMs.
These influential people and organisations included:
Barbara Follett UK Minister for Tourism
Boris Johnson Major of London
Baroness Anelay President of WTM Advisory Council and Conservative Party Chief Whip
Baroness Valentine London First
Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister for Transport
David Hornby Visit London
Kevin Murphy CEO ExCeL London
Following this a Transport Working Party was set up - made up of WTM, ExCeL -London , Transport for London, Secro DLR, London Underground, London Buses and Visit London. The working party meets regularly to assess the latest transport situation and has helped WTM implement a number of new initiatives for this year"s event.
To help mitigate the poor transport experience of many visitors in 2008, World Travel Market is looking to reduce the reliance on the Docklands Light Railway by introducing a range of alternative transport options, including;
* free coach transfer from eight key hotels (only available to delegates staying in those hotels),
* dramatically increasing the capacity of the free bus fleet from Canning Town by using bendy buses instead of double decker buses, which increases the capacity of each bus from 85 to 150 people
* River Thames commuter boat operator Thames Clippers is increasing the frequency of catamarans from every 15 minutes in 2008 to every 10 minutes in 2009
* The introduction of clearly signposted walkway from Canning Town Station to offer an alternative route to the event
WTM has also worked closely with London Transport to improve the frequency of DLR trains to and from Custom House for WTM 2009. DLR has promised me trains this year will be more frequent than last year"s every 3.3 minutes. It will confirm the frequency in August.
London Transport have also assured me the re-opening of Tower Gateway Station will help to ease congestion at Canning Town Station by giving visitors the opportunity to commence their journey from an earlier station.
World Travel Market is doing all it can to make your transport experience to and from this year"s event as smooth as possible. World Travel Market is the premier global event for the travel industry and I hope you will all attend WTM 2009 and help us celebrate our landmark 30th anniversary.
World Travel Market has no direct control over the travel experience of its delegates to and from ExCeL - London. However, we have worked hard to exert our considerable influence on the transport authorities, which have all assured me they will do all they can to make travel to and from WTM 2009 as smooth and stress-free as possible.
This commitment alongside the number of WTM transport initiatives in place for this year leaves me confident all delegates will have a successful landmark 30th WTM.
World Travel Market
Tuesday, July 28, 2009